I was fairly torn this issue between writing about the two major ways I spent this past weekend: Binge-watching season three of Netflix’s prison dramedy “Orange is the New Black” and sitting enRAPTORed (ba-dum-BUM) throughout the record-breaking dino juggernaut “Jurassic World”—twice.
Rex wins! Jurassic World exceeded all expectations, not only mine, but at the box office as well. It shattered opening weekend statistics, earning $511.8 million worldwide as of press time. It’s the first film to ever make more than $500 million in one weekend. Domestically, it lags only behind Avengers: Age of Ultron.
I wanted this movie to be so good so badly. I wanted to be amazed. I wanted to know that all the years spent waiting would be worth it. For a while, it seemed a third sequel would never happen. We last saw the residents of Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna back in 2001 and perhaps the long wait was needed to refresh and hit us hard with a brand new concept. It’s been said that Jurassic World is intended to be direct sequel to the 1993 film, safe to pretend that the other two—The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park 3 (2001)—don’t even exist. Probably wise.
Hats off to director Colin Trevorrow and executive producer Steven Spielberg (director of the legendary original); the film was both an homage to and brilliant reimagining of John Hammond’s innovative vision. The park is open!
Here’s how Jurassic World rates against its predecessor (in my opinion):
Jurassic Park (1993)
The success of World is purely rooted in Park’s iconic position in cinematic history; that moment we were introduced to the idea that someone crazy enough to try could use science and technology to bring dinosaurs back from extinction—and what could go wrong.
Director: Steven Spielberg
The Good: Look! Friendly dinosaurs roaming a field, how lovely. We got a brief glimpse of how wonderful Hammond’s idea could have been if only he’d stopped while he was ahead. The script was full of perfectly quotable one-liners, and was just scary enough to keep you at the edge of your seat.
The Bad: The dinosaurs can’t be villain enough apparently, and we also have to witness a schlubby and financially unhappy tech guy (Dennis Nedry, played by Wayne Knight) trying to get his comeuppance by pilfering embryos to sell for big bucks. Easier said than done.
The Ugly: The deaths were fairly mild, or at least what we could see of them. Getting plucked off a toilet boil? Yikes. But the “goriest” moment was when a very fake-looking bloody arm fell onto Dr. Sattler’s shoulder. Big whoop.
Best “Big Bad” Moment: Nothing beats that first scene where we discover how badass the T-Rex is. The glass of the SUV shattering inward onto Lex and Tim and the consequent panic of how to rescue them was pure gold.
Jurassic World (2015)
Jurassic Park is fully realized, an operational oasis on Isla Nublar. The park is beautiful. The attractions are outrageous. But of course, corporate greed is why we can’t have nice things. It has to be bigger. Badder. “More teeth.”
Director: Colin Trevorrow
The Good: While it may be considered unrealistic, the trained raptor plotline was actually my favorite and just another way to show how advanced the ideas could become when in the right hands. The raptors played such a devilish role in the first three films that seeing them display actual loyalty to a human was, dare I say, cute.
The Bad: There’s that villain again. This time played by an InGen operative (Hoskins, played by Vincent D’Onofrio) who wants to use the raptors in real-world military situations. Are ya nuts?!
The Ugly: Poor Zara (Katie McGrath). Claire’s assistant gets whisked into the air, tossed around like a dog toy, and then thrown into their SeaWorld-esque pool, only to be gobbled up by Jurassic’s very own Shamu.
Best “Big Bad” Moment: “We need more teeth,” says Gray and it suddenly becomes apparent why we really haven’t seen a certain someone yet. When Claire lights a flare and the door to Paddock 9 rises, we welcome the T-Rex back like an old friend and the ensuing battle is one for the ages.
Time to see for yourself how the two compare. Run like a raptor is chasing you and head for the nearest theater!