By Ashley Pauls
Box Office Buzz

Jurassic-World-The-GameI meant to post a review of “Jurassic World” a lot sooner, but I promise, I have a good excuse. I got married earlier this month and just got back from a honeymoon trip to Alaska, so I decided it was time to stop procrastinating and just go ahead and write the review. I did actually end up seeing this movie the week it came out (I’m such a movie geek that I rounded up my bridesmaids and took them to a Thursday night sneak preview showing since the ceremony was actually the weekend “Jurassic World” was released). 😉

The film earned a respectable Rotten Tomatoes rating—about 70 percent—but the big surprise was just how strongly this movie has performed in theaters. Although I figured the movie would do well, I originally didn’t think it could beat “Avengers: Age of Ultron” for highest-grossing movie of the summer. I certainly didn’t expect it to beat the first Avengers movie for biggest opening weekend of all time—to the tune of $208.8 million. It’s definitely a box office success, but how does it compare to the other films in the series?

There’s a saying that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and such is the case with the operators of Jurassic World, a brand-new theme park built on the ruins of Jurassic Park. In the original 1993 film, cloned dinosaurs escape from their paddocks and wreak havoc on the theme park. This time, a genetically modified dinosaur called Indominus rex (who thought creating this creature was a good idea?) becomes too clever and ends up destroying the rebuilt park and countless other dinosaurs. Park operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), her two nephews and raptor wrangler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) are caught in the aftermath.

First off, there’s still no topping the first “Jurassic Park” movie, which remains the best in the franchise. Critics have already commented that the plot, script and characters in the new movie aren’t as strong as the original film. That being said, I had a lot of fun watching this movie, and I think it’s the best of the sequels. The stars of the film are, unsurprisingly, the dinosaurs. Indominus rex does not disappoint, and contributes to plenty of nail-biting moments (in the theater, I will admit to jumping out of my seat a few times). I also liked the use of the velociraptors in this movie, and their tentative trust of Chris Pratt’s character. An animal like the velociraptor certainly can’t be tamed, and I appreciated the movie’s respect of the fact Pratt could train but never completely control these powerful predators.

While most of the human characters aren’t as memorable as the main characters from “Jurassic Park,” Chris Pratt is the standout here. At this point, I think it’s safe to call Pratt a major movie star. After proving he can carry two back-to-back summer blockbusters, Pratt is likely to see his career continue to rise. Which makes me happy, because he’s a talented actor with a good sense of humor who seems like a genuinely nice person in real life. He plays this role a little more straight than his role as Star Lord in last summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and he pulls off “action hero” quite well. He’s gotten some teasing about this role being basically an “audition” for the Indiana Jones franchise, and I’d actually like to see him take on the iconic character, as long as it’s a continuation of the franchise and not a reboot (note to Hollywood: no remake of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”—EVER).

“Jurassic World” may not top the first film in the franchise, but it’s a fun popcorn thriller with some nice moments of nostalgia and nods to fans of the original film. It’s worth catching on the big screen.

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