When I was young, as I am sure is the case with many others, I had an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs. Honestly, I don't know what it is about this giant lizards, but they seem to appeal to the kid inside us all. I can not deny the feeling of nostalgia walking into the theater.
There are few things more powerful than nostalgia, in my opinion. It can make you look back at the most awful of times with a sort of fondness. It has a wonderful way of taking the past and painting it in broad rose-colored strokes. When I think back to the original Jurassic Park, there is still a part of me that goes wide-eyed at the memory of seeing dinosaurs brought to life on the big screen. Despite the inferior quality of the two follow-ups movies, I can still respect the sequels for the wonder and awe seeing those dinosaurs caused.
This brings us to the third sequel, the first Jurassic movie in over a decade. A movie that takes place over 20 years after the events of the first movie. In this way, this movie strikes me as having taken a bit of a page from the Friday the 13th playbook. It's one of those things where a horrible tragedy occurred there, because genetically-modified turned out to be violent, and unpredictable. Then, on an offsite island, the same basic thing is proven to be true... twice. So, obviously, the sanest thing to do is to set up a new park, on the site of the original tragedy, and do the exact same thing. Much akin to the multiple attempts to set up a new camp on the grounds of Camp Crystal Lake in the Friday the 13th movies. It is one thing that reminds me of the stupidity of the people in this film. Or more accurately, either their inability to learn from the past. Perhaps their inability to grasp that they could fail in the same way their predecessors failed. This sort of stupidity borders on the unforgivable in real people, however, it is sometimes necessary in movie characters.
Overall, the movie feels like a return to a familiar place. Not necessarily a safe place, but there are a lot of familiar things to be found. The nostalgia crept in like a familiar blanket the moment that theme music began to swell. The part of me that remembered seeing the original as a child, squealed with glee (internally of course, I was in a rather crowded theater). It was a glorious time, an assault to the senses that made the child in me smile in a way it hasn't smiled in ages. There were dizzying heights, and some sudden lows. Laughs abounded, but not in excess.
As much as I loved the dinosaurs, the real winner here, was Chris Pratt, a man that has quickly established himself as a leading actor, and has proven himself to be a good box office draw. He has a wonderful screen presence, that can exude confidence and snark in equal measures. This gives his role as the dashing lead the sort of weight it deserves. On the flip side of that coin, I feel this movie lacked a strong female presence (at least one that wasn't covered in scales). There were moments were Bryce Dallas Howard managed to do something other than being the whiny damsel, those moments are few and far between. I feel they missed a great opportunity to provide a strong female lead,
At the end of the day, the movie delivers on all the things that it promised. Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, and more dinosaurs. It offered up a new species, and provided sufficient eye candy to keep things interesting. There were points the story dragged, but at the end of the day... it was fun, and that is all that matters.
IS IT THEATER WORTHY: The movie makes for a wonderful big screen spectacle. Offering the sort of larger-than-life thrills that the Summer movie season is built upon. Grab yourself a nice bucket of popcorn, sit back, and let out your inner child.
RECOMMENDATION: Do you like dinosaurs? Do you like Chris Pratt? Do you want to see a movie about Chris Pratt training and fighting dinosaurs? Then this movie is for you! If you prefer some Nicholas Sparks shit... well, I'm sorry. You'll have to look elsewhere. Here there be dinosaurs!
FINAL THOUGHTS: This is not likely to end up my favorite movie of the year, but it was fun, enjoyable, and it was more than adequate to pass the time! Do not expect Shakespeare, but don't lower your expectations down to Michael Bay levels. This is a solid Summer flick, that does a good job of wiping the bad taste of the previous sequels from the mouth.
FINAL SCORE: 7.5 out of 10