My first instinct, the moment I heard of Jurassic World’s existence as a film, was to put my hands over my ears, to rock backwards and forwards and to pretend that the whole sordid thing wasn’t really happening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the original Jurassic Park (1993); it’s a classic that’s been around since I was in single figures. What I was more concerned about was the terrifying deluge of prequels, sequels and reboots currently crowding our cinema screens. I just didn’t know if I could let any more into my life. I was prejudiced.
However, I was obviously in a vulnerable place when I was asked if I wanted to accompany my parents on their date and, drawn in by the ‘Jurassic’ if not the ‘World’, I relented.
The trailers before the film made me start to regret my decision. The first was for the new Fantastic Four (2015). I was unaware that this particular franchise was being rebooted (possibly I had been aware and then blanked it out). The moment when my dad leaned in to inform me in a stage whisper; “Don’t worry, they’re doing it seriously this time,” was of very little comfort. The second trailer was for Terminator Genisys (2015). As if the experience of seeing Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor played by other people wasn’t upsetting enough, I also had to endure that spelling ‘choiys’.
The third trailer (bad things always come in threes) was for the new Minions (2015) film. Now, I think the Minions are quite cute, and the Despicable Me films (2010 and 2013 respectively) have brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, but by now I was ready to call the whole thing off.
There are a lot of elements in Jurassic Park that have enabled it to endure and to solidify its place as a Hollywood classic over the past 20 years. The performances are across-the-board great, the score is strong, the special effects have dated well (in no small part thanks to the decision to use, for the most part, full-size models rather than CGI. R.I.P. Stan Winston), its quote-ability rating is high, the story’s great… and a man gets eaten while he’s sitting on a toilet.
Sadly the next two sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001), don’t share the same lofty position on the classic blockbuster films pedestal as the original. With this knowledge, and after sitting through the trailers, I did what any open-minded film-lover would do; I folded my arms and decided that I was not going to enjoy my night out.
Is that the right attitude? I don’t know or care; it’s my money and if I want to spend it on not enjoying a film then I will. However, in the end, I actually found Jurassic World to be pleasantly pleasing. It had a decent amount of new ideas combined with a satisfying number of affectionate references to Jurassic Park. It also at no point reminded me of the second and third films, which was fortunate. Nobody got eaten sitting on the toilet, but that was okay.
My ‘take-home’ message? Try not to pre-judge. The sequels, prequels and reboots may not be on a par with the originals, but they’re still capable of entertaining you. You might actually end up having a good time if you occasionally dropped the cynicism.
Having said that, I’ll bet you any money that the new Terminator film is utter shite.