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Monday, April 15, 2024

The premise of the entire Jurassic Park franchise and its new record-setting addition “Jurassic World” can be summed up in a brief statement uttered by one of the film’s minor characters: “These people, they never learn.”

The newest installment, which premiered 22 years after its original predecessor, features a revamped theme park that wrangles in tourists each year with its dinosaur-esque attractions. Even though the park appears to be booming, the manager, Claire (Bryce Howard), convinces her staff that nobody is awed by dinosaurs anymore. The lack of interest is exemplified by Claire’s visiting nephew, Zach (Nick Robinson), a hormonal teen who is accompanied by his excited little brother, Gray (Ty Simpkins). However, the disinterest is enough for the park runners to whip up a dangerous hybrid dinosaur to spike attendance. This corporate greed goes horribly wrong, of course, and Velociraptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) gets pitted against the impossibly intelligent crossbreed, Indominus rex.

While “Jurassic World” can hardly compete with the beloved first film of the series, it succeeds as a fun sequel. The action sequences are enrapturing, and the CGI effects turn out to be an acceptable inclusion rather than a distraction. That being said, the dinosaurs hold up much better than the humans. The film is cluttered with poor writing and characterization. Not even Pratt’s usual charm can salvage his stagnant arc and the unwarranted tear-fest of the female characters. The only thing to root for is the demise of the humans, and in that regard, the movie tends to deliver.

Director Colin Trevorrow did bring back some level of sincerity to the franchise. He pays homage to Spielberg’s original classic by utilizing old sets and recycling the nostalgic soundtrack. An introduced relationship between Pratt’s character and the dinosaurs, while cheesy, does tread on some needed earnestness. Old themes are also toyed with, as the movie assesses itself as being just as much a product of greed as the theme park it portrays — yet, the film’s endless product placements don’t necessarily suggest anti-capitalist sentiments.

Notwithstanding the unlikable characters and their forced relationships, the movie is an entertaining killing spree done right. The chaos overshadows the film’s shortcomings and makes for a worthy summer blockbuster, and given its phenomenal box office results, another sequel can be expected where people will still never learn.

[A version of this story ran on page 9 on 6/18/15]

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