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Movie Night – 'Jurassic World' now crowned best of dinosaur series movies (June 17, 2015 issue)

Finally, a sequel that is not only worthy of its predecessors, but exceeds them. “Jurassic World” is a great Summer blockbuster, chock-full of action, stunts, special effects, and lots of dinosaurs.
Over twenty years have passed since the events at Jurassic Park caused the facility to close before it ever opened. A new theme park rose from its ashes like a Phoenix, christened Jurassic World. Everything about Jurassic World is bigger, bolder, faster, and scarier than Jurassic Park.
Jurassic World is a fully-functioning theme park, with hotels, rides, attractions, even an aviary and a water attraction with a giant aquatic dinosaur known as a Mosasaurus. As the movie begins the park has been open for ten years and the novelty of living, breathing dinosaurs is starting to wear off. The park needs new blood, new money. The scientists at Jurassic World decided to genetically engineer a new dinosaur. The Indominus Rex is a hybrid of a T-Rex and several other species. It’s bigger, badder, stronger, and has more teeth than a T-Rex.
Brothers Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray Mitchell (Ty Simpkins) have traveled to Jurassic World to visit their aunt, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Claire is the park’s operations manager and she is supposed to spend the weekend bonding with her nephews. Instead, Claire finds herself too busy to deal with the boys so she hands them off to an assistant who promptly loses them in the crowd of over 20,000 people.
Before unveiling Indominus Rex to the public the powers that be want Indominus and her paddock inspected by Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Owen is a velociraptor whisperer, training a group of four raptors to obey him since their birth. Claire takes Owen to see the Indominus Rex. Except he can’t see it because it’s no longer in the paddock.
Chaos ensues as the park tries to contain the Indominus Rex while it tears through the island, killing everything in its path on its way toward the park. In the meantime, Claire and Owen venture into the open fields of an attraction to rescue Zach and Gray after they veered off course directly into the path of the Indominus Rex.
Once the Indominus Rex escapes from its paddock the movie is a string of one action scene after another. And they are great action scenes. It’s easy to feel the terror of the characters as they are chased, clawed, roared at, and, possibly, eaten. It’s an immersive experience.
While it’s certain that there was a significant amount of computer-generated animation used to portray the dinosaurs, it is almost impossible to distinguish between what’s real and what was created in a computer lab. The special effects are superb.
In the pantheon of up-and-coming actors in Hollywood, Chris Pratt is a rock star. He is one of the few actors who is both funny and serious at the same time. There’s no role he can’t perform and his portrayal of Owen Grady is reminiscent of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. Pratt is genuine and likable and he will be the face of Hollywood for the next twenty years.
But “Jurassic World” is really more about the dinosaurs. The Indominus Rex is terrifying and cunning. The raptors are portrayed almost as if they have human traits. The Mosasaurus is the first aquatic dinosaur in any of the films and though it is only in a few scenes, it steals the show.
“Jurassic Park” is a much-loved film that has stood the test of time for over twenty years. However, its reign as the best dinosaur movie has ended, “Jurassic World” now wears that crown.
Grade: A
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science fiction violence and peril.