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Movie review | ‘Jurassic World’ lacks originality, but is a box office smash

Chris Pratt in “Jurassic World.”
Chris Pratt in “Jurassic World.”

Jurassic World ***

A brutal new genetically modified chomp-o-saurus, along with vivid 3D and enhanced CGI, helps keep the adventure sci-fi flick “Jurassic World” entertaining, but still it doesn’t come close to matching the terror and excitement generated in the 1993 original, “Jurassic Park.”

So groundbreaking and popular was JP it spawned two sequels, one in 1997 and again in 2001. Some 14 years later, executive director Steven Spielberg and Legendary Pictures released the fourth in the series, creating even more box office gold, breaking records and earning more than $500 million in its opening weekend.

Missing from “Jurassic World,” which is based on the premise of a modern theme park living up to John Hammond’s dream, was the perfect casting of Sam Neil, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, Sir Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, and even Wayne Knight (Newman!).

Only B.D. Wong returns in a small role as the gene-splicing scientist. A fun celebrity cameo is well placed, and the two cute kids in peril give it some family appeal (though it is very violent), but the screenwriters failed to deliver a fresh story.

Two kids in peril escape dinos on the loose in the jungle. Really? That’s the best they could come up with in 14 years?

The first and second films in the franchise had master storyteller and novelist Michael Crichton’s novels to follow, and his touch is missing.

“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt stars as a dashing young Velociraptor trainer, and go-to-guy when the park is first in trouble, but for my money the older and less dashing Sam Neil made for a more inspired choice as the movie’s hero. See it for the “Jurassic World” lagoon scenes, and the last act in which all hell has broken loose and dinos run amuck with thousands of visitors still in the park.

What do those stars mean?

* Really, really, really bad. Don’t bother.

** Pretty bad, with one or more redeeming scenes.

*** Pretty good, but maybe not great, worth seeing for most

**** Really great, a winning combination of story, casting, and directing

***** The rarest gem, an all-around perfect motion picture

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