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Monday, June 22, 2015

Franken rex

‘Jurassic World’ is the third sequel and fourth installment of the popular dinosaur-in-our-time series which began with ‘Jurassic Park’ 22 years ago in 1993, when Steven Spielberg adapted the late doctor-turned-novelist Michael Crichton’s suspenseful bestseller to the big screen and thrilled audiences worldwide.  While its two follow-ups stumbled in matching the intensity and suspense of the first film, ‘Jurassic World’ came pretty close and managed to recapture some of that lost magic. 
 
Keeping with our own timeline, JW takes place 22 years after the events of ‘Jurassic Park.’  The dinosaur theme park is now a reality and doing quite well, but the tyrannosaurus rex and velociraptors have lost some of their luster and just aren’t cutting it anymore because, as one investor bluntly put it, people need to be “thrilled.”  The solution?  Modern biotechnology and the sheer audacity to play God, of course.   To this end, Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong, who also appeared in the original 1993 movie) and his team of bio-geneticists created a new cocktail designer super dinosaur by mixing the DNA of t-rex, velociraptor, cuttlefish, tree frogs and God-knows-what-else.  They even gave it an easy-to-remember and cool sounding name, indominus rex.  Whoo boy, just what could possibly go wrong?

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Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are competent actors, and Vincent D’Onofrio did a decent enough job as the obligatory corporate a-hole villain, but JW’s real stars are the meticulously CG-rendered dinosaurs: the t-rex, the raptors (now tamed) and of course the indominus rex.  Producer Steven Spielberg even managed to throw in a tongue-in-cheek reference to ‘Jaws’ near the end when indominus rex finally met his mosasaurus, uh, maker. While JW is a tad too predictable and lacked the nail-biting tension of the 1993 original (largely because raptors hunting kids indoors is pretty hard to beat) with its mostly outdoors mayhem, it still provided enough science-gone-bad chills to put it well above the disappointments of ‘The Lost World’ and ‘Jurassic Park 3.’
 
Grade: B+
 
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