The original Jurassic Park is a beloved classic because it is not solely focused on showcasing advanced C.G.I and action-packed sequences devoid of a narrative backbone. Jurassic Park is a film ultimately about what matters most in life, and at the forefront of that list is family. A string of hastily produced and poorly rated sequels were made in the wake of the original film’s success. This latest installment serves to cleanse our cinematic pallet of the lower quality fare in the Jurassic franchise.
Twenty-two years after Jurassic Park failed to open, Jurassic World is fully functioning on the island of Nublar. With visitor rates declining, a new attraction is created with the hope that it will bring in more guests. But when the owners and operators of Jurassic World are overly arrogant and naive, the guests may end up finding that the final cost will be much more than the original price of admission.
This film dwells on the importance of flesh and blood relationships while simultaneously exploring the different ways man chooses to wield power. Jurassic World does this through the use of music. While John Williams did not score Jurassic World, his original theme is used and functions as the film’s sonic spine. Rather than attempting to craft something entirely new for the film, Michael Giacchino effortlessly weaves old and new together. In a film that focuses a great deal on the ethical ramifications of genetic splicing, we ironically find that doing the same thing musically results in a blessing, not a curse. Perhaps Giacchino grew up watching and loving all the great films that Williams scored, as so many did. The simple use of strings and beloved French horn, produce a certain nostalgia that is unique to films like E.T, Star Wars and Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
In Genesis, we find that man and woman were set in the garden and charged with the responsibility to tend to that garden. Part of that responsibility had to do with being fruitful, filling the earth and subduing it. Man was intended to steward what God had created. As Christians, we believe that Jesus of Nazareth embodied God’s original plan in a way that Adam and Eve did not. Rather than dominate, coerce or manipulate, Jesus loved, healed, forgave, served, washed and ultimately sacrificed his life for the human race. Jurassic World expertly illustrates both options.
Like the superb score, the costume choices facilitate an emotional engagement with the film and help to illustrate character development as well. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) whom we first meet in spotless, white clothes inevitably takes on a darker, earthier palette as the film progresses. As she moves away from using the beasts she has helped create and toward knowing and appreciating them, her costume reflects her inner change. Owen (Chris Pratt) is decked out in full Indiana Jones apparel, sans the iconic hat. He loves and appreciates the animals that he rubs shoulders with. He is the physical embodiment of what Adam was intended to be. Rather than exploiting his relationship with God’s creatures, Owen understands that with the gift of life comes the reality of relationship and responsibility. Unlike Hoskins (played by Vincent D’Onofrio), who lives only to coerce and manipulate, Owen leads by loving, serving and dare one say it, treasuring all of God’s creatures. It becomes obvious that being tough and tender is a necessity in the world of the Jurassic, as much as it is in ours.
Make no mistake, moviegoers looking to be awed by cinematic dinosaurs while white-knuckling it through perilous predicaments will not be let down. While the hubris of John Hammond in Jurassic Park nearly killed one family, the arrogance that birthed Jurassic World was bound to endanger the lives of many, it was only a matter of time. Being that there are so many guests visiting the park, when the dinosaurs are released from their cages, everything and everyone is fair game.
This film is an adventure story, but it is also much more than that. Jurassic World is an exploration. It turns our world upside down and shows us the underbelly. It illuminates what is truly beautiful and what is utterly despicable. Luckily, the dinosaurs help us in this regard, for in Jurassic World, they eat the detestable while sparing the people whose character traits promote life rather than death. This device is helpful in illustrating what we, as the viewers, are to ultimately value and what we are to abhor. Like all good films, Jurassic World leaves the audience with a better idea of what and who really matter in the end.