Jurassic World (PG-13)
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This came out in 2015, but I didn't see it until 2018 (on the opening night of the sequel, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"). It's meant to be the start of a new trilogy in the franchise. I want to mention that I'm putting this review in my science fiction category, as I did with the first movie in the original trilogy. The next two movies in the original trilogy I put under "giant monsters," and honestly, that might be a better fit for this movie, too. But... I liked it well enough that I thought it deserved a bit more... whatever. Class, prestige, whatever. Actually, I really didn't want to like it as much as I did the original movie, but I couldn't help it. In fact, I think I liked it more than the original (though that kind of thing is always hard for me to judge, as my memories of how much I liked something fade pretty quickly). It's possible if I watched the original on the same day as this, I'd like it more than this (or at least equally). I just don't know. I suppose it's not important, anyway. I liked both movies a lot.
So, this is set roughly twenty years after the original movie. I find it hard to believe that anyone went ahead and tried opening a new Jurassic theme park after the epic fails of the original trilogy, but whatevs. A guy named Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) owns a successful theme park called Jurassic World, on Isla Nublar, the site of John Hammond's original park. Day to day operations are run by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). At the start of the movie, Claire's sister, Karen Mitchell (Judy Greer) sends her kids, Zach and Gray, to visit Jurassic World and spend time with their aunt Claire. However, Claire is pretty busy with her job, and assigns her assistant, Zara, to look after the boys until Claire can find time for them. (The boys pretty quickly ditch Zara.)
Meanwhile, there's a former Naval guy named Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who has been training a quartet of velociprators (along with an assistant named Barry). But um, there's a company called InGen (which I may have mentioned in one of my previous reviews). It was started by Hammond and I guess it's currently run by Masrani, though it seems like he doesn't have complete control of it. There's also a guy named Vic Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), who wants to use Owen's raptors for military applications, which Owen is very much against. Also, there's a geneticist named Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) who works for Jurassic World as well as InGen. He and his team created a sort of super T-Rex called Indominus rex, as a new attraction for the park. (Because tourists these days are bored with plain old dinosaurs. Of course they are. Because humans suck.) Also, I should mention a couple of people who work in the park's control room: Lowery (Jake Johnson), and Vivian (Lauren Lapkus). They were pretty cool, IMO.
Of course, the Indominus rex eventually gets loose, and goes on a killing spree. So Claire teams up with Owen to try and find her nephews and rescue them. And meanwhile Hoskins is working on his own agenda. And... just all sorts of chaos happens. And it's all pretty freaking awesome (and scary). And I really don't know what else to say. There are elements to the story (and the characters) that I think were nice touches, so I don't want to spoil them. But I just thought that, you know, a lot of thought went into making this all sort of realistic. Like, I believed in the characters and their relationships. Plus there was some fun nostalgia vis a vis the original film. And... I look forward to seeing the next installment.