"Jurassic World" arrives 14 years after the last sequel in the series, which began with the Steven Spielberg-directed "Jurassic Park" from 1993. Based on reviews, how much you'll enjoy the film depends on how easily excited you are by visual spectacle and how forgiving you are of weak characterization and predictable plotting. If anything, "Jurassic World" seems to be worth checking out because, underneath the dinosaur-on-dinosaur violence, it's a summer blockbuster about how summer blockbusters keep getting bigger to keep audiences enthralled.
The Colin Trevorrow ("Safety Not Guaranteed")-directed film picks up 22 years after the events in "Jurassic Park" on a Costa Rican island that's been transformed into a Disney World-like dinosaur theme park and resort. The amusement park has gone without incident for years, which is great for, you know, safety reasons, but bad for business because visitors are starting to get bored with the current attractions.
Enter the Indominus Rex, I-Rex for short, a genetically modified dinosaur who was created to draw people to the park, but turns out to be a killing machine, breaks out of her cage and is, unfortunately, too smart to recapture. Caught in the ensuing chaos are Owen (Chris Pratt), a wise-cracking, free-spirited dinosaur behavior specialist, and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park's type-A manager, who chose the wrong day to wear heels and to send her visiting nephews off alone in the park. It's up to these two opposites to save the park and everyone in it from the destruction of the I-Rex.
"Unfortunately, for 'Jurassic World,' the presentation is a little less at the caliber of Disney or Universal than it is a regional Six Flags," Monica Castillo, International Business Times entertainment reporter, wrote in her review.
Here's what other critics had to say:
"And while the new 'Jurassic World' pales next to the awe-inspiring spectacle of the original, it’s easily the franchise’s most thrilling sequel yet ... 'Jurassic World' is a blockbuster of its moment. It’s not deep. There aren’t new lessons to be learned. And the film’s flesh-and-blood actors are basically glamorized extras. But when it comes to serving up a smorgasbord of bloody dino mayhem, it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do beautifully. " (Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly, Grade: B+)
"The best aspects of the sequel 'Jurassic World,' in which a hybrid super-predator runs amok in the trouble-plagued theme park, are so very good that they transport you that exhilarating mental space where the series' original director, Steven Spielberg, raised a tentpole way back in 1993. The worst aspects are bad indeed: thin characterizations, a blase attitude toward human-on-animal violence and a weird male-supremacist streak that comes close to sneering at unmarried career women who don't have kids." (Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com, 3/4 stars)
"'Jurassic World' gives you exactly what Howard’s character promises at the beginning — More! Bigger! Faster! — but you know there’s something deeply wrong with a film that expects you to shed tears over digitally created prehistoric creatures and rubber brontosaurus heads instead of rooting for, you know, people." (Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald, 1/4 stars)
"While the first '[Jurassic] Park' skillfully mixed and matched animatronics with CGI, resulting in what still feels like the ultimate special-effects movie, this expensive retread seems content placing its flesh-and-blood stars against a rotating green screen of digital attractions. Technological advances aside, it looks much faker than its ancient ancestor. As Pratt puts it here, 'Maybe progress should lose for once.'" (A.A. Dowd, AV Club, Grade: B-)
"'Jurassic World' is pretty good fun. Especially for a here-today, gone-tomorrow summer blockbuster, the picture is better-crafted than it needs to be: If you ignore some extraneous plot threads, and the stop-the-presses revelation that, in the end, 'what really matters is family,' 'Jurassic World' hangs together surprisingly well." (Stephanie Zacharek, The Village Voice)
"Blowing minds rather than, you know, telling a good story is the driving imperative in 'Jurassic World,'... 'Jurassic World,' by contrast, isn’t in dialogue with its cinematic reference points; it’s fossilized by them. " (Manohla Dargis, New York Times)
"... 'Jurassic World' can reasonably lay claim to the No. 2 position among the four series entries, as it goes down quite a bit easier than the previous two sequels. The new film's perspective on antiseptic, theme park-style tourism and relentless commercialization, while hardly radical, plainly announces its makers' sense of humor about their own project's multifaceted mercantile motives. " (Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter)
"In general, 'Jurassic World' relies on old tricks with new trimmings, hoping we’ll see them as homages rather than evidence of tired thinking .. And, honestly, 'Jurassic World' is a visual mess, with a post-production 3-D rinse that washes out the colors and makes everything look cheap. It’s based on a movie that came out 22 years ago, but it doesn’t have to look that way." (Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2.5/4 stars)
"Yet Mr. Pratt’s charm is no match for the crude filmmaking or the stupid plot that keeps him running around in a constant state of artificial animation." (Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)
"But acknowledging a problem doesn't solve it ... 'Jurassic World's' opening act is meant to serve as an inoculant against the flavorless blockbusterisms that follow, but there's no lampshade big enough to cover the movie's lack of a soul." (Sam Adams, Indiewire, Criticwire)