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'Jurassic World': What did the critics say?

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“No one’s impressed by a dinosaur anymore,” says Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World. “Consumers want them bigger, louder—more teeth.”

That’s also basically the marching orders for Colin Trevorrow, the director handpicked to take the reins from executive producer Steven Spielberg for the first Jurassic Park movie since 2001. Jurassic World features a whole new crop of lab-bred beasts, and none of them are small and cuddly. There’s the 60-foot swimming Mosasaurus, vicious winged Pteranodon, and the new super-alpha, Indominous Rex. Throw in some old favorites, including semi-trained Velociraptors, and there’s always the danger of becoming an appetizer. Fortunately, those creatures are all kept safely away from the humans who pay thousands to visit the park, and absolutely nothing can go wrong that would endanger adorable dinosaur-loving children. Man has mastered Mother Nature, once and for—

Fortunately, Chris Pratt is on the scene to save the day once all hell breaks loose. He’s the animal trainer who’s been making progress controlling the raptors, and they might just be the key to bringing down the I. Rex. Howard plays the park’s corporate chief, tasked with making sure the park’s newest attraction is bigger and badder than anything the world has ever seen. Her nephews are in town, because of course they are, but she’s too busy with being busy to care much about spending time with them. “With her severe bob, towering heels, and ever-present cell phone, we know right away that whatever chaos is about to unfold will turn her into a better, more nurturing person (ugh),” writes EW’s Chris Nashawaty, in his B+ review. “Playing off of her opposites-attract-style is Chris Pratt’s game warden, who with his macho safari shirt, sarcasm, and animal lover’s compassion telegraphs that he’s both the movie’s savior and its conscience (double ugh).”

Hold the “ughs,” though, because this is a Jurassic Park movie, and this one is bigger and louder, with a lot more teeth. 

To read more of Nashawaty’s review and a sampling of other critics from across the country, click below:

Chris Nashawaty (Entertainment Weekly)

“Like the theme park’s mad scientists trying to rev up the scare factor of their attractions, [Trevorrow] knows exactly how to get butts into the multiplex: by throwing as many CGI dinosaurs gone wild onto the screen as he possibly can in 124 minutes. It’s a distraction game. But it works. Normally I’d grouse about that kind of bread-and-circuses cynicism. But it’s what makes Jurassic World such breathless summer entertainment.”

David Edelstein (New York)

“It’s a ride: Shell out for the biggest and most kinetic experience. Because whatever else you say about Jurassic World, its amazing special effects—not just hurtling dinosaurs but flying killer pterodactyls—make it one of the most rousing people-running-away-from-stuff movies ever made. At its best, it’s good enough to take your mind off its worst, which is saying a lot.”

Richard Roeper (Chicago Sun-Times) ▲

“Trevorrow and the team of screenwriters have some fun turning summer thriller clichés sideways, producing some major laughs as we catch our breath from the action. Howard is wonderful as Claire, who goes from uptight bureaucrat to bad-ass action hero, and Vincent D’Onofrio has fun hamming it up as Hoskins, the military strategist who actually thinks it would be a good idea for the U.S. military to use trained Velociraptors as weapons.”

Wesley Morris (Grantland)

“The mayhem around the outbreak … gives the movie its fun. What’s in the piñata is nice, but you don’t need to spot the references to like this movie. That’s part of its indolent, cynical shrewdness: Jurassic World doesn’t work on its own terms, per se, but it does work as a new arrangement of terms that have already succeeded in other movies … [Trevorrow is] saluting the dumb, crazed part of Amblin’s spirit … the part that prizes Spielberg the sensation over Spielberg the artist.”

Ty Burr (Boston Globe)

“The script, by the usual committee of writers, gives us characters who are generic stand-ins for types created earlier in the series. In the case of Chris Pratt, who plays Owen Grady, a dashing, resourceful ex-Navy hero dude who swaggers and cracks wise like Harrison Ford v. 5.0, this is a particular waste. Pratt gives his lines a pleasurable snap and he’s fun to be around, but last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy made much better use of his slacker derring-do.”

Ann Hornaday (Washington Post)

“The dynamic between the earthy, authentic Owen and the brittle, dumb-bunny Claire is meant to harken back to such vintage romantic adventures as Romancing the Stone and the Indiana Jones movies. But way too much gets lost in translation here: The dim, selfish Claire is as charmless as she is clueless, and her scenes—in which she gets progressively more tousled and scantily attired—are a painful pastiche of sexist tropes.”

Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald) ▼

“Things get so crazy, Claire’s modified bob gets messed up, and she even tears her skirt. Also, the companies that paid for product placement in the film—Starbucks, Samsung, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant chain—each gets a shot of a dinosaur wrecking their establishment.”

Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times)

“Despite the best efforts of director Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World‘s story of Indominus rex on the loose, while certainly acceptable, doesn’t have the same impact as the initial film. You can’t experience first love twice, and even though these CGI dinosaurs are doubtless more realistic than what’s come before, the magic of those unprecedented moments is beyond recapturing.”

Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle)

“The action scenes are imaginative and suspenseful and gradually take on a demented exuberance, with huge-headed dinosaurs sniffing at people and velociraptors attacking in packs. … Although the film ultimately lacks that extra something that Spielberg often brings—the sense that the action is somehow emblematic of something grand in the human spirit—the movie has a caustic wit that will do in its place.”

Manohla Dargis (New York Times) ▼ 

Jurassic World, by contrast, isn’t in dialogue with its cinematic reference points; it’s fossilized by them. From the first shot of a dinosaur hatching (signaling new beginnings, etc.) to one of a massive aquatic creature chowing down on a great white shark (get it?), it is clear that the only colossus that’s making the ground shake here is Steven Spielberg.”

Scott Foundas (Variety)

“Trevorrow has littered the film with sly callbacks to the original Jurassic Park, plus amusing nods to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance KidThe Birds and many others. It’s fun enough while it lasts, but somehow, finally, all too much and not enough. … Jurassic World starts out as a satire of bigger-is-better corporate groupthink only to become the very object of its scorn—a giant wind-up machine that’s all roar and precious little bite.”

Overall Metacritic rating (1-100): 59

Rotten Tomatoes: 71 percent

Rated: PG-13

Length: 123 minutes

Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard

Directed by Colin Trevorrow

Distributor: Universal

 

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