The dinosaurs manage to do just enough to save this over stuffed blockbuster from extinction.

It has been 14 years since the last installment of Stephen Spielberg’s Jurassic Park film franchise. Now Jurassic World sets itself up to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. The film features stunning visuals throughout and the dinosaurs are beautifully rendered and smartly utilized. It’s unfortunate the same can’t be said for their human counterparts. Pompous dialogue and immersion breaking conversations halt any attempt at excitement from the film. The audience is left praying for all the non-reptilians to shut up and get on with the story.

The film is set in an imaginary theme park with many dinosaur related attractions. The focus of the film lies on the wholly fictional genetically engineered Indominus rex, a dinosaur custom made by the park scientists to boost attendance and revenue. The people in charge are Park Owner Simon Masrani, Lead Scientist Claire Dearing, and Head of Park Security Vic Hoskins. Much of the film is spent following two brothers, Claire’s nephews, Gray and Zach as they move about and explore the park. Chris Pratt’s character Grady Owen, who manages to stand out among all the humans, is an independent animal trainer who is brought in to assess the threat level of Indominus rex. This is in contrast to his regular job as trainer of the Velociraptors. The inevitable collapse of this security system sets Indominus rex free and the remainder of the film is devoted to watching various teams of park hunters try and track it down. The film puts up a solid effort but the script feels like it was two or three drafts away from a remarkable movie.

Pacing: 7/10

The film flowed nicely hitting all the right beats. The biggest drawback was all the forced and unnecessary conversations dragging the film on. The dialogue tried to do one of two things, explain or point out everything in detail, or provide forced character development that almost never had any bearing on the plot. Otherwise the film was fairly well executed.

Acting: 5/10

It’s never a good sign when human actors are regularly out acted by extinct animals. The dinosaurs appeared to give a more nuanced performance than any of the actors. Ifran Khan was too one dimensional as Masrani. The typically brilliant Vincent D’Onofrio felt awkward as the villainous Hoskins. The star performance comes from Chris Pratt. Riding a wave of good vibes after his performance as Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt brings his trade-mark charisma and wit as Owen Grady. He brings a much needed boost of energy to a film riddled with dull moments. His on screen relationship with the raptors felt natural. Audiences got a sense for what these creatures were, more so than for most of the humans. Content: 7/10 The exposition and much of the character development felt like it was being spoon fed to the audience. Everything that happened in the film had to be elaborately explained. It’s a good thing they were explaining some interesting things. The Indominus rex captures the imagination and of course it was great to see many of the staple dinosaurs return for this installment, including the enigmatic Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptors.

Overall: 6/10

Jurassic World is more than adequate for a high-budget blockbuster. It might have been a great film if not for some poor script choices. As veteran scientist Dr. Wu puts it “You wanted it cooler,” which is probably a direct jab at the audience. Sequels don’t necessarily need to be bigger to be better. This film went bigger and it paid off but too often it forgot that it needed to be good as well.

– Zaid Al-Kazemi

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