The first time I went with my parents and sister to see it, I was thrilled and amazed at how Steven Spielberg had taken creatures that went extinct 65 million years ago and put them on the silver screen.
In the car ride home, I tried to convince my parent that somewhere out there they were really cloning dinosaurs (I swear, Mom!) and that in the next few years, we really would be able to go to a zoo or a park and see dinosaurs, just as we would see polar bears, giraffes, lions or any other animal.
Of course, that didn't happen.
It's been almost 22 years to the day that Jurassic Park delighted moviegoers and the film's investors. Spielberg expanded his ever-growing fame and personal fortune thanks to a delightful story, fine acting and most especially, special effects and computer generated imagery that forever changed the movie industry.
After a $1 billion box office, Jurassic Park spawned two sequels that were never able to come close to the original, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. While both were successful at the box office, neither captured the magic of the first movie. Rather, they were both criticized for being little more than a means for the film studio's to milk sales out of a storied franchise.
But now, there's Jurassic World. Created by Colin Trevorrow and executive produced by Spielberg,the film does its damndest to try go back to the roots of the franchise and capture what made Jurassic Park so special. Set twenty-two years after the original in present day Costa Rica, Jurassic World, which stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard obviously has one major attraction going for it that few other films do -- the films' stars are dinosaurs.
From velociraptors to apatosaurus to the newly created Indominus rex (don't worry guys, she's not real) to the beloved and feared T. rex, Jurassic World has the requisite parts to make sure it'll earn Jurassic-sized gobs of cash for Universal and parent company, Comcast. But it also offers a feeling and sensation that few other films offer -- nostalgia and the feeling of being a kid again.
By showing what the park looks like today, and not just the aftermath of destruction that John Hammond's vision caused, it opens eyes to see something tangible, something real.
Nostalgia appeals to all ages, from 5 to 105, a reason why movies like E.T., Indiana Jones, It's a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz and so many others get rewatched on lazy Sunday afternoons and get better over time. They provide a combination of wonderful story telling, splendid visual imagery, combined with a source material that yearns to be told throughout the ages.
Jurassic World may not have the legs of a Jurassic Park, in the sense that 20 years from now, I may not be sitting on my couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon watching it. Though Pratt and Howard try hard, the acting is a bit flat, and the script has a paint-by-numbers feel to it. Some of the movie is a bit hokey, and it even pokes fun at itself. In one scene, Howard is running for her life, except she's still wearing high heels.
What it does offer though is a sense of wonder and amazement that brings you back to 22 years ago and allows you to see how Hammond's dream of having the park actually played out. There were several nods to the original movie, such as a bumpy helicopter ride early on, a well-worn t-shirt and several other points that are sure to make fans of the first film smile and nod.
The images are spectacular, the scope is tremendous and there are times where I felt like I was in the middle of the park, enjoying the rides. That is of course, until things inevitably run amok.
At a little more than two hours, this is the ultimate popcorn flick of the summer and one with an ending that is sure to delight both young and old, again praying on the sense of nostalgia.
Revenge is a dish best served 65 million years in the making.