Throwback Thursday, The Culture Column: Jurassic World

This summer you couldn’t get very far without coming across a poster for Jurassic World, and to say I was excited would be an understatement. I watched the trailer on a weekly basis much to the annoyance of my flat mates; especially considering my frequent comments on how much I fancied Chris Pratt or shouting: ‘Look! I’ve got real life goose-bumps!’ It seems all too often films as highly anticipated as these can never live up to your expectations, or fall into the cynical category of sequels which are ‘never as good as the original.’ Some may say Jurassic World is clichéd in its fail-safe plot, but I wouldn’t expect it to be anything else. Perhaps it was so popular because it was exactly what people had hoped it would be; which was essentially a repeat of the earlier films with a twist and better CGI. Either way, with grossing more than $1.5 billion, they did something right!

The opening scenes of the film introduce surly teenager Zach and his younger brother Gray, who are spending a week at the park with their Aunt Claire. She is the park’s senior assets manager, played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Their mother waves them off with a classically foreshadowing phrase: ‘And remember, if something chases you, run!’ When they arrive, themselves and viewers get the virtual, sweeping tour around the new setting, which has evolved from a park into a world. Accompanied by the original theme music *cue goosebumps*,  we are quick to learn the newest attraction to the park is a genetically modified dinosaur, which uh-oh, has escaped, but do we ever really tire of seeing people being chased and gruesomely eaten by dinosaurs?

The dinosaurs in question included the introduction of a genetically modified ‘Indominous Rex,’ so vicious she ate her own sibling. A fresh and equally terrifying original idea of splicing together different species, meaning there was always constant changes in it’s evasive techniques and attacks. Creating a new breed of dinosaur demonstrates how the franchise has evolved. Simply bringing back extinct creatures now looks amateur! It also served as a subtle reminder of Dr Ian. Malcolm's (Jeff Goldblum) famous line from the original film: ‘your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.’

If Chris Pratt hadn’t already proved his ability to play the tough but loveable protagonist in Guardians of the Galaxy, he certainly did here as ‘Owen.’ He is introduced training his velociraptors; Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo. Yes, the dinosaurs have names and according to Owen, personalities too. Alongside Claire, the two of them save the day in the form of the T-Rex that wreaked so much havoc in 1993 (complete with the same battle scars). This was yet another major throwback to the original movies, providing subtle links between the films. However, it’s a little hard to believe Claire could run around the island while wearing 5-inch heels with only an attractive amount of sweat and artfully ruffled hair. Not to mention her all white outfit, which only suffered a conveniently placed thigh high split…

Jurassic World has everything an adventure-sci-fi-thriller of this nature wants and needs. The clichéd attractive leads, unbounded destruction, terrifying creatures on the loose, gentle satire regarding the United States and weaponizing velociraptors (“Imagine if we’d had these at Tora Bora,”) even a toe-curling clichéd movie-ending kiss. However let’s not forget the real unsung hero … ‘man with margaritas’. Because when there are pterodactyls flying overhead and snatching people from the ground, what’s more important than saving your cocktails?