“Godzilla” dumb and “Terminator” violent, “Jurassic World” is still a perfectly serviceable summer popcorn picture. Who cares if the story is a cut and paste clone of the original film? The dinosaurs are more tactile, the violence much more in-your-face (3D) and disturbing. As one character working for the now long-established “Jurassic World” theme park puts it, they’ve upped “the wow factor” and pushed the boundaries of PG-13, even if they’ve basically been repeating the same Michael Crichton story since the early ’90s. Irrfan Khan (“The Lunchbox”) plays the billionaire owner of the Costa Rican island park, which now handles 22,000 visitors a day. A robotic Bryce Dallas Howard, in hair and makeup straight out of “Tron,” runs the place. But Claire, her character, isn’t a robot. It’s her nephews (Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson) who get lost in the park when things go wrong. And Chris Pratt is the ex-Navy animal behavior expert/Great White Hunter character sent to fetch them. BD Wong plays the “mad scientist” who has invented a hybrid super-predator dinosaur to up that “wow factor,” Vincent D’Onofrio the ex-military company man who wants to weaponize the velociraptors, which Pratt’s character has been training. “These people,” we’re reminded, “they never learn.” No, they don’t. Pratt and Howard set off mild sparks, though Pratt’s character is so stiff here that Jake Johnson was brought in as a tech nerd, just to add a couple of weak laughs. There’s also a little nostalgia, but not enough. Jeff Goldblum is sorely missed. The concocted-by-committee script may riff on Universal theme parks (a Margaritaville restaurant is glimpsed), but it’s really a rip at parks where wild, dangerous animals are caged, treated as “assets” and trained “attractions.” Sea World’s ears are burning. Science may have greatly closed the gap between novelist Crichton’s genetic fantasy and what is possible and actually happening today. That doesn’t explain the blase way the characters, park employees and the public, look on dinosaurs brought back to life in the movie, or our yawns at this digital marvel from the last millennium. What’s missing from director Colin “Safety Not Guaranteed” Trevorrow’s thriller is that “wow factor” that Spielberg’s first outing delivered. Lacking that, and any serious effort at rethinking the story formula, “Jurassic World” plays like a theme park ride that’s a decade out of date. MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson Credits: Directed by Colin Trevorrow, script by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Colin Treverrow and Derek Connolly. A Universal release. Running time: 2:04
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