What to make of Jurassic World

Jurassic World

Universal caught the Internet by surprise Tuesday night when it released the official Jurassic World trailer just one day after releasing a separate teaser trailer announcing the full-length trailer would drop on Thursday evening. Naturally, the Internet “broke”, and almost forty-eight hours after the trailer’s release, the buzz hasn’t abated. Opinion, speculation, and scrutiny have filled Twitter from top to bottom. But such is to be expected from one of the most anticipated films in the last ten years.

The trailer leaves very little to the imagination. The set up is not too dissimilar from the first film, the unquestioned flagship of the franchise, with a pair of kids, Zack and Gray, played by Nick Robinson (Kings of Summer) and Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3), travelling alone to Jurassic World, the revamped, Disney-like theme park that John Hammond once dreamed of. It is the work of an accomplished billionaire, Masrani, played by Irrfan Kahn (Life of Pi), and is now one of the most desirable tourist attractions in the world. Now, much Internet scrutiny, or maybe more so humour, has centred on the idea of these two children travelling alone to Jurassic World, despite the events of the previous films. But if you do a little digging, you will come to learn that the children are actually visiting their aunt Claire, played by Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), who is in charge of day-to-day operations at the park.

But this is Jurassic World, where deadly, meat-eating dinosaurs live once again, inevitably things must go wrong. And they do. The new crown jewel of the park, a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, rumoured to be called a dilopasaurus rex, or a D-Rex, has been created. It’s not only an achievement of scientific significance but of entertainment significance. People are wondering why they would create such a dinosaur when so many terrible things could go wrong. That’s a fair point, but you must remember that at this point, Jurassic World is a fully operational theme park; the creation of a new hybrid dinosaur is not the creation of an animal but the creation of an attraction, not dissimilar from the development of a new ride at Disneyland.

The D-Rex, as I will continue to refer to it, has somehow escaped from the forty-foot boundary walls around it. Terrified of the implications, the park must bring in Owen, played by Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), the resident dinosaur expert, who was unwisely kept in the dark on the D-Rex, to rectify their problem. But it’s too little too late, and when the children go missing and the D-Rex runs free, the park must be evacuated, and the all too familiar sight of people sprinting away from large dinosaurs takes over the remainder of the trailer.

All in all, the plot seems to be a more contemporary update on the first film. It’s not a reboot per say, but it definitely has a similar vibe to the original, especially with the two children being at the centre of a terribly dangerous situation.

The trailer is filled with plenty of things to be excited about, from a vest-wearing, rifle holding Chris Pratt to a Shamoo-like, water dinosaur, a Mosasaurus I’m told, that feeds on massive Great White sharks. But there are also a few things to be wary about here, the CGI, which has probably encountered the most scrutiny over the last two days, looks sub par at best, especially compared to the blend of CG and animatronics that brought such an authentic look the first film. However, as many people have been eager to point out online, the CGI in a trailer is never the final product. A few screen grabs from early Guardians of the Galaxy trailers in comparison to the finished film is eye opening.

But in addition to the CGI, I have some concerns over the writing, something I didn’t expect from a pair of screenwriters, director Colin Trevorrow and partner Derek Connolly, who come from the world of independent film. Some of the lines delivered in the trailer, albeit for the purposes of shock and awe, were downright corny and not in a good way. I also noticed a lack of humour, something that was omnipresent in the original, particularly from Jeff Goldblum. Chris Pratt, who is normally a lovable, comic type in his work, was straight faced and stern in what the trailer showed us.

That being said, I could not be more excited for this film. And I think online criticisms can only be a good thing for Jurassic World. It’s important to remember that we’re still seven months from the June 2015 release date, giving the VFX artists as well as the editors, ample time to work on the concerns of the public. I have a feeling there is a lot more to this film that we don’t know about, despite a pretty revealing trailer. Also, Chris Pratt seems to have trained velociraptors, which is awesome.

Jurassic World hits theatres June 12, 2015.

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