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Article by Teddy Durgin

'Jurassic World' parks it at the top of the summer box office

"Jurassic World" contends that we've become too jaded, too used to seeing eye-popping spectacle. In the 22 years since we beheld photo-realistic, computer-generated dinosaurs on the big screen for the first time ever, our ability to be wowed by such sights has diminished greatly. The only way they could have possibly topped what came before with this new sequel is if the filmmakers had hopped, skipped and jumped back in time and brought some actual dinos to the 21st century and put them on screen. And even then, there's no way such beasties would take direction. Now, of course, I'm of the thought that the less you show in flicks like this - a la "Jaws" and the shark - the more you can build real tension. If there is a criticism to be leveled at "Jurassic World," it's that you never really feel like any of the four lead characters are in any true mortal jeopardy. It falls into the old slasher-movie formula where the characters who are destined to die practically announce themselves as future victims within the first 15 or 20 seconds you see them on screen. Just once I'd like to see the "Game of Thrones" version of a "Jurassic" movie where no one is safe. I want to see a pack of raptors unleashed and have them go rampaging through the theme park yelling, "WHERE'S THE KID'S ZONE?! WHERE'S THE NURSERY?! I WANT SOME BABIES IN MY BELLY!!!" Aside from that, "Jurassic World" delivers pretty much everything you want in a summer popcorn blockbuster. It has action galore, cool visuals, narrow escapes, corny one-liners, a chiseled hero, a capable heroine and a sniveling bad guy. Of course, what it has, and has plenty of, is dinosaurs chomping on people and dinosaurs fighting other dinosaurs. You remember the sequence at the end of the first film where the two raptors attack the T-Rex that we saw for maybe 20 or 30 seconds. Wait 'til you see this flick's climax. Think that sequence times 10 and played out for four or five minutes sustained! And while there is only one minor character who appears from the first film (B.D. Wong's Dr. Henry Wu), the film does get the nostalgia factor here just right. There are some lovely callbacks to "Jurassic Park" sprinkled throughout, from the subtle (a John Hammond statue) to the elaborate (an extended revisit to one of the iconic original sets where an old nemesis lurks pretty close by). And maestro Michael Giacchino does a nice job weaving John Williams' majestic original themes into new compositions that move the story along. It's all in good hands here with this next generation, including new director Colin Trevorrow who directs the film with all the energy of a kid setting up the biggest train sets and Christmas villages he can get his hands on. The frequent pan shots around and through the Jurassic World theme park with its monorails and rides and Main Street shops and eateries is just a delight. The story? Eh, there's not much of it. Here's the plot in a nutshell. "Hey, the park's been open now for two decades, and attendance is starting to drop off. Let's create a frightening new dinosaur comprised of DNA from all the other dinosaurs and... %&*#, IT'S LOOSE!!!" But that's all you really need, right? Sure, I wish Chris Pratt's former Navy SEAL had just one quirky character flaw that distinguished him a la Indiana Jones' fear of snakes or James Bond's love of the martini. And, yes, I wish Bryce Dallas Howard had changed out her ridiculous heels just once. But the parts I thought wouldn't work (trained raptors?!) actually work quite splendidly. And the nitpicks I have aren't nearly as big as the lingering annoyances of "The Lost World" (that annoying gymnast tween kicking the heck out of raptors) or "Jurassic Park III" (the entirety of Tea Leoni's performance). Dinosaurs chomped people, I chomped popcorn. Good show!

"Jurassic World" is rated PG-13 for action, violence and some language.


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