Everybody loves dinosaurs. That seems to be the big takeaway from the tremendous success of Jurassic World, because it can’t be because of the great story being told. The film is now the third highest grossing movie of all time (and is spitting distance from Titanic’s second place) both domestically and worldwide. It seems timing has everything to do with how a film plays, and in a summer that was supposed to be dominated by superheroes and possibly Jedi, World was the summer’s big crowd pleaser.
The film follows Gray (Ty Simpkins) and Zach (Nick Robinson) as they travel to Isla Nubar to see the fully refurbished Jurassic theme park. There they are to meet their too busy aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who runs all of the operations. Her team have created a new dinosaur as ticket sales are starting to sag, which raptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) thinks is a terrible idea. The creature is called the Indominus rex, and it’s a creature that was genetically modified to be a badass predator, and – no surprise – it turns out to be a holy terror that escapes and wreaks havoc all over the park, with Gray and Zach caught in the middle. Such leads Owen and Claire to go on a rescue mission. In the midst of this is military contractor Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), who wants to train dinosaurs to go into combat, and who sees this tragedy as the perfect reason that his plans should go forward.
Writer/director Colin Trevorrow had previously directed an independent movie called Safety Not Guaranteed that was viewed as competent, but it launched him to this film, and has led to him getting signed on to direct Star Wars Episode IX. He obviously knows how to give audiences what they want, or at least it seems, even if the plotting of Jurassic World is sloppy and silly. There’s a subplot about the two boys dealing with the fact that their parents are getting divorced that goes nowhere, a romance that is acted well enough, but seems grafted on to make two characters seem more human, while the idea that weaponizing raptors is presented as a terrible idea – and it is – but that’s what the heroes turn to in the movie to defend themselves.
When movies like this become a success in spite of, or perhaps because of their flaws, you have to wonder what audiences got out of the picture, and in this case I think the answer is simple: They got dinosaur mayhem. That’s why you go to see a picture like this, and it’s been years since anyone has tried to deliver something like it. Even though there have been pictures like Godzilla, this is different, this is dinosaurs, not gigantic lizards. Enough time has passed since the original trilogy that people were surely happy to get what they came for, and was something they hadn’t gotten in quite some time from a big summer movie. The franchise has never been great art as the first film featured an obvious weakness in that director Steven Spielberg had way too much empathy for John Hammond, the theme park’s creator, and couldn’t make him the villain or make him pay for his hubris in creating dinosaurs. That’s understandable, we love seeing dinosaurs, as is evident from the franchise’s success. And so if the plotting is a bit goofy or if the film is unintentionally sadistic to characters who don’t deserve it, such can be said for the previous films (arguably, Samuel L. Jackson died in the first film because he was a smoker). Jurassic World probably won’t age well, and it will never be a critical favorite unless Trevorrow turns into the next Spielberg, but I won’t be surprised if the sequels are just as big. Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?
Universal’s Blu-ray presents the film in both 2D and 3D with a DVD and Digital copy also included. The film is presented in a beautiful widescreen transfer (1.78:1) and in DTS-HD 7.1 Master audio. This is very much in the demo disc category, with loud subwoofer action and great surround use highlighting the approach of the dinosaurs.
Extras are surprisingly thin. There are deleted scenes (6 min.) with the first highlighting that the Indominus Rex can camouflage itself, the second showing the brothers sharing some chocolate, the third showing the two brothers wandering around lost, the fourth showing Claire and Owen searching for the boys and stumbling across dino doo doo, the fifth shows Claire and Owen hiding and flirting, the sixth scene shows Hoskins prepping to get the dinosaurs weaponized, while the seventh and final deleted scenes shows Claire and Owen flirting some more.
These deleted scenes are followed by “Chris & Colin Take on the World” (9 min.), and it has Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow ask each other some light questions about the making of the film, mostly goofing about, and they talk about how they thought it would be great and how it turned out great. “Welcome to Jurassic World” (30 min.) brings in Steven Spielberg and the rest of the cast and crew to talk about the film for a general making of that talks about the character arcs and challenges of making the movie. Very dull, though it’s fascinating to hear Spielberg talk about the movie as he seems a true believer. We’ve seen Spielberg feign excitement before (like on the supplements of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), but he seems to really like the film and its director.
The rest of the supplements are even lighter. Dinosaurs Roam Once Again” (16 min.) is the best of them as it gets into the special effects and how the film mixed some practical stunts with the mostly digital effects. “Jurassic World: All Access Pass” (10 min.) is a look at how elements of the film went from pre-viz to finished product, but it does offer extra moments of Pratt goofiness, while Trevorrow walks through some of the film’s set pieces. “Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt” (2 min.) has Pratt walking through one of the sets of the film, while “Jurassic’s Closest Shaves” (3 min.) is presented by Barbasol and shows highlights from the best set pieces from the franchise.