Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow, 2015)

What's it about? 20 years on from the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar is now a fully-functioning dinosaur theme park. Of course, the powers-that-be aren't happy with normal dinosaurs, so they commission the creation of a new, bigger, genetically modified, 'cooler' dinosaur, which naturally goes bananas and starts wrecking the place. It's up to rugged ranger Owen (Chris Pratt) and uptight operations manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to save the day.

Is it any good? I wasn't expecting much here, but there's actually a lot to like about Jurassic World - it's certainly a big improvement on the previous two films. In the first hour, the depiction of an all-too-plausible dinosaur zoo - complete with corporate sponsors, dino kiddie rides, feeding displays and bored employees - is quite witty, with nostalgic nods to the first film sprinkled throughout. I'll give the benefit of the doubt to the film-makers that they actually meant this merchandising meta element, rather than blindly patenting, packaging and labelling a lunch-box with their film before they even knew what they had. (Award yourself 10 dino-points if you get that reference).

Cast-wise, Pratt and Howard have good chemistry, the obligatory kids-in-danger are likeable and there's a couple of funny jokes - so far, so good. However, as we move to the runny-shouty-bitey bits, featuring stupid people doing stupid things, it all gets disappointingly formulaic, with nothing to match up to the memorable moments from the first film. There's action, but nothing particularly exciting; there's dino-attacks, but nothing particularly tense; there's special effects, but nothing particularly, well, special. (Although, of course, that concept is something that drives the plot of the film, so maybe that's another meta-reference?) By the time it ditches some half-baked villainous sub-plots in favour of a man herding velociraptors on a motorbike, it has become a bit wearisome. As such, it does in fact turn out to be just like a day at a theme park; it starts out fun - everyone's in good spirits and there's a wow factor for the kids, but ends up been hectic and tiring, with everyone snapping at each other. Now, do we really have to go on the same ride again?

I don't trust you. What do others think? Roll up! Roll up! You bet your ass you're going on the same ride again, since at the time of writing Jurassic World sits proudly at No. 3 in the all time box-office charts. Thus, the sequel is already greenlit for 2018, with most folk involved this time round returning. What's it about? Well Trevorrow, apparently labouring under the impression that this decision will be made by him and not by a think-tank of producers/writers/actors/bin-men, is intent on expanding the universe of the Jurassic franchise. “[It will not be] just a bunch of dinosaurs chasing people on an island,” Trevorrow said. “That’ll get old real fast.” Yeah, it sure would, Colin.

What does the Fonz think? Good fun, but dangerously close to jumping the mosasaurus at times.

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