THE trailer to director Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World tells viewers everything they need to know about the third sequel to Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park (1993).
A new, big attraction escapes and wreaks havoc on Isla Nublar, the original setting of the first film.
Two boys scream their hearts out, there's attraction between Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, a corporation thinks only about its bottom line, the military is unscrupulous, and there are a lot of action scenes between the new dinosaur and another dinosaur.
While this fourth film can't touch the original, it's certainly a notch above the second and third films.
So, how does the director differentiate his film from the previous three?
Early on, park operations manager Claire (Howard) tells how after 10 years of operation, the theme park's attendance is dipping and that it needs a bigger attraction (read: a bigger, better and more cruel dinosaur) to keep attendance and interest up.
That is pretty much the film's raison d'être: give the audiences something more menacing and hope that it keeps them engrossed.
Having seen the three first films, I can tell you that I was unimpressed with the new dinosaur, Indominous Rex, other than its indomitable name.
One antagonist you know who's gonna end up in a dinosaur's stomach is Hoskins (a grungy and overweight Vincent D'Onofrio), an army man who's keen to use the velociraptors reared by Owen Grady (a dashing Pratt) for militaristic purposes, that is, to use their killer instincts to attack enemy troops.
I found Hoskins' reasoning unpalatable and unconvincing. It would take tonnes of money and energy to get these raptors fighting for your army. Naturally, he gets his just desserts.
Pratt plays a former US Navy guy's who has a telepathic connection with raptors, and he's asked by the billionaire owner of the park, Masrani (Irrfan Khan), to analyse the security of the Indominous' holding area.
Pratt's got a roguish charm and I liked his banter with Howard, but his Navy man character is another in the long line of US army men who use their expertise to save the day. Owen's the hero for most of the film but the film pulls out the rug from under viewers by revealing its true hero at the end.
Owen's colleague is Frenchman Barry (Omar Sy of The Untouchables).
To emulate the first film's two teenage characters, we now have two boys, Gray and Zach, whose parents are on the brink of divorce and who are sent to the island to spend quality time with their aunt, Claire.
However, the latter's more interested in keeping her billionaire boss happy and prepping the park for the launch of the new attraction.
She hasn't seen the two boys in seven years and they, too, don't feel any affinity for her. She has no time of the day for her nephews.
When we first see her, she's prim and proper and dressed in a virginal white blouse and skirt. She's the ultimate corporate employee. Her attire is so out of place with the rest of her under-dressed colleagues in the sweltering tropical heat.
When she wants to play heroine, she rips off the sleeves of her blouse and unbuttons a few buttons to reveal some cleavage. She takes on the Ripley of Aliens role when she reveals a tank top beneath her blouse.
She's also a control freak whose priority is the firm's profits.
I can't reveal too much more about her but it's her courage that saves a few people at the end, turning her into the film's real hero.
In hindsight, her personality is similar to that of Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) of Jurassic Park. Grant, at the beginning, doesn't like kids and rejects the idea of having kids with his fiancee. His conviction will change by the end of the film, where the two kids (whose parents are divorced), his fiancee and him are saved by two dinosaurs turning on each other.
Claire, at the beginning, doesn't give two hoots about her two nephews, whose parents are seeking divorce. She develops maternal instincts by the end of the film, where the two kids, Grady and herself are saved by two dinosaurs turning on each other.
Masrani's talk with Dr Henry Wu (B.D. Wong, who appeared in the first film) after the new dino runs loose reveals the film's theme.
The tycoon wants to know why the science lab created such a monster, but the latter retorts that the term is objective. Masrani demands to know who authorised Wu to create this abomination, and again Wu retorts that it is the former who did so, in his lust to create a more meaner dino.
The film is critical of corporations that will do anything, even endangering people, to increase their revenue. But it's also a slap to consumers/viewers, who always want something new and more scintillating.
3 out of 5 stars