Jurassic Park was one of the high points of 1990s cinema and one of Steven Spielberg’s best films but its sequels took the steam out of the series. In Jurassic World, with new director Colin Trevorrow, it’s got its mojo back.

Set 20 years after the original Jurassic Park’s plan for a dino theme park dramatically turned its toes up amid a feast of raptors and a T Rex that dream has become a reality in the massive Jurassic World.

The first thing Trevorrow has done is restore the first film’s sense of awe.

The park is so gorgeous and inspiring that it makes the original park look like Longleat and you’d probably book a ticket and take your chances with the obviously impending doom.

The return of John Williams’ iconic score obviously helps.

But visitors who were initially blown away by dinosaurs being brought back from extinction are now getting bored of it and scientists are tinkering with genetics to make bigger, badder, scarier, ‘cooler’ dinosaurs.

Inevitably they create a monstrous, intelligent beast – the terrifying Indominus Rex – which escapes and destroys everything in its path.

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Trevorrow (who also co-wrote) layers on half a dozen more subplots that stretch plausibility further but give the film some nuance.

These plot threads are less a grand tapestry of twists and turns, more a nice stripey scarf – attractive and colourful but all leading in a straight line.

There’s a military bod who wants to turn raptors into weapons, an ethical debate over whether it is right to create animals that never existed and a very overt strand about profiteering.

Thankfully Trevorrow – in the finest Spielberg traditions (the Jurassic Park director returned to executive produce this film) – gets the balance right.

Visually, the movie is stunning and it is paced so we don’t get two hours of scaly beasts chasing screaming kids.

It’s built on solid foundations in terms of character too. Our gateway into the story is a pair of brothers, horny grumpy teenager Zach (Nick Robinson) and his geeky younger brother Gray (Ty Simpkins).

Their divorcing parents have sent them on a break to Jurassic World where they will be looked after and treated by their aunt Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who happens to be the woman in charge of the park’s day-to-day running.

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She’s uptight, overly concerned by profit, refers to the dinos as ‘assets’ and has an awfully severe fringe.

In fact, she’s almost diametrically opposed to Chris Pratt’s all-action friend-to-the-velociraptors Owen.

You can probably see where that’s leading (but that’s not to say it doesn’t work).

Pratt, in particular adds greatly to his star status in this film. The Guardian of the Galaxy star is the lynchpin and reminiscent of the great screen heroes, even if he does sport a dodgy ‘tache.

There’s something very Harrison Ford-y about him, so it’s no wonder people are talking him up for a new Indiana Jones film.


Though she does well, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire offers less. Her character’s arc is basically told through her hair – from rod-straight and precise to wavy, casual and more likeable as the movie wears on.

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Any film with such a high body count that also wants to appeal to a wider audience has to have its lighter moments and while these are dotted around, there’s a regular source in an excellent supporting turn from New Girl’s Jake Johnson (he also appeared in director Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed) as fan of the original park’s ethos working in the new park’s control room.

While it is fairly obvious where this film is going, Trevorrow manages to take you with it the whole way through and as the awe-inspiring spectacle of a dinosaur theme park turns to terror you’re pulled on the edge of your seat.

Jurassic World is the kind of blockbuster movie that cinemas were made for.

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Jurassic World (12A) is out now.