It was the year 1993, I was ten years old, not so much into movies yet but I clearly remember watching Steven Spielberg's classic blockbuster - Jurassic Park. Who could have resisted the thought of creatures who had been extinct for 65 millions years coming back to life, at least on the big screen? I was so blown away by the first show that when the second and third came out in 1997 and 2001, I made sure I asked my mum to bring me to the cinema to watch them.
Fast forward to 22 years later, I have watched and re-watched the films countless times. Even with my kids! (Well, I recorded all three onto our Starhub HD interactive set-top box so we can watch them anytime). They might not really understand the plot but will be waiting for that moment when the dinosaurs spring out. Angel gets much more thrilled than scared while Ariel seems happy to just spot the dinosaurs.
For me, when I knew that Jurassic World will be hitting the theatres this month, as a huge fan of the series especially the original movie, I had high hopes that it would knock me off my feet and recreate that awe, that reverence and that feeling of wonderstruck I had two decades ago.
The brilliant part about Jurassic World is that it ties to the original film but not the other two sequels, yet develops a story of its own with a few surprising elements here and there. Bigger, better, more teeth- I have to say I was definitely not disappointed.
Decades have passed since the events of Jurassic Park and John Hammond’s vision has finally come true - Jurassic World is now a fully functioning, family-friendly theme park with tens of thousands of visitors every day. Think Universal Studios with more high-tech, futuristic attractions - including kids riding on baby triceratops, feeding show where a mosasaurus devours a shark, and my favourite one is the gyrosphere, a human-sized hamster ball ride where visitors get to self-drive and roam freely in a field of herbivorous giants.
The park is managed by Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who is about to have her nephews (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) visit for the weekend. Yes, it wouldn't be half as thrilling if we only had adults and no teen or kid getting freaked out by the monstrous creatures, right? Then there is also the dinosaur whisperer - a ex-military man named Owen (Chris Pratt) who has developed a relationship with four velociraptors who will play a pivotal role in the second half of the movie.
Now, the one problem that Jurassic World faces is the constant need to innovate. Visitors have gotten bored of the same old theme park attractions and to boost numbers and keep the profits coming in, Claire's team needs to up the wow factor with something bigger, louder, scarier. That is when our antagonist, Indominus Rex, comes on scene - a hybrid created genetically using a mix of DNAs. When Owen is asked to perform a check on Indominus Rex and his containment structure, he realises that it is not just a dinosaur; it is an extremely smart, savage and starving creature and if it ever breaks free, that will spell some serious trouble. And then, it breaks free.
If you are to ask me if the show is child-friendly, you have to know that it gets a PG13 rating because of some violent scenes. However, I do not think that it is brutal or gory to the extent that it will give my kids nightmares even though we watched it in 3D (then again, my kids have watched Dracula with us). Angel was definitely engrossed in the movie from start to end and although at some point she would hide a little behind her jacket, her eyes were still glued to the screen because she didn't really want to miss any part of it. As for Ariel, she was fidgety only towards the end of the 125-minutes film and I would say she still enjoyed looking at the dinosaurs and exclaiming whenever she saw one. No, this toddler wasn't in the least intimidated or scared. As for me, did the film achieve the awestruck feeling? Yes, I have to say at some points it did work and took my breath away.
So, if your kids are fond of dinosaurs and not afraid of some ferocious action, then this movie will probably be a good one to watch with the family and one that might evoke some childhood memories in you too.
Disclosure: We were invited to the premiere screening of Jurassic World. Movie stills are provided by United International Pictures. All opinions are my own.
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