Like any good reboot should, the fourth “Jurassic Park” movie, director Colin Trevorrow’s “Jurassic World,” ignores not-so-hot sequels “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic Park III” and starts fresh.
It has been 22 years since Steven Spielberg’s original “Jurassic Park,” based on Michael Crichton’s novel, hit the big screen. The only uneaten original character in movie No. 4 is scientist Henry Wu (San Francisco’s BD Wong).
In this film, Jurassic Park has paved the way for Jurassic World, a newer, safer theme park that is under pressure to come up with better attractions to boost attendance.
The latest is a hybrid called an “Indominus Rex,” a mix of T. Rex and various secret elements. Operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) busily prepares the beast for its debut, but complications arise.
Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who has successfully managed to train a quartet of velociraptors, is called in for his opinion, but the monster escapes.
Unfortunately, Claire’s two nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) are vacationing in the park and in danger. It’s up to Claire and Owen — despite their romantic tension — to rescue them.
Trevorrow, who made the outstanding low-budget sci-fi film “Safety Not Guaranteed,” and worked with a budget approximately 253 times larger here, seems like a natural for the project. His film is a brisk, bright summer rollercoaster ride and fine popcorn muncher.
Just as the rebooted theme park of the title, it exists to show off some cool dinosaurs, but also to make as much money as possible. Trevorrow’s cleverest stunt was acknowledging and making peace with the business end of things; he skillfully balances art and commerce.
Like Spielberg did in the original, Trevorrow mixes likable characters with mini-conflicts of their own with awe-inspiring, show-stopping dinosaur sequences. Though the movie rampages slightly past the two-hour mark, it never feels long or slow.
Pratt, an actor capable of brightening up any production, effectively remixes his heroic “Guardians of the Galaxy” persona, while the lovely Howard helps out, impressively wearing heels.
Irrfan Khan and Omar Sy add some cultural balance, and Jake Johnson (also in “Safety Not Guaranteed”) provides some laughs. Only Vincent D’Onofrio gets a bum deal as a security man who dreams of using velociraptors as military weapons. It’s a rotten idea, and the movie lays on its cautionary message a little too thick.
The bigger theme is the ages-old warning that man shouldn’t mess with Mother Nature. Yet the clear point of the whole thing is that, sometimes, things with sharp teeth are the most fun.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio
Written by: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
Directed by: Colin Trevorrow
Running time: 2 hours, 4 minutes