Action Adventure

'Jurassic World' Blu-ray Review: Not quite 65 million years in the making, but still one insanely fun adventure

October 20, 2015Ben MK

In 1993, director Steven Spielberg and author Michael Crichton gave moviegoers Jurassic Park, a Summer blockbuster 65 million years in the making. It was a groundbreaking film that helped to usher in a new era in cinematic visual effects, and it spawned two sequels, not to mention a parody song by Weird Al Yankovic. Fast forward 22 years, and Jurassic Park is still frightening in the dark. And yes, all the dinosaurs are still running wild. Only in director Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World, they have Hollywood's new favorite leading man, Chris Pratt, to contend with.

Pratt plays Owen Grady, a rugged Raptor wrangler brought in by Bryce Dallas Howard's character, Claire Dearing, to inspect the security measures put into place around Jurassic World's fearsome new carnivore, the Indominus Rex. But when the creature proves more cunning than anyone ever anticipated, escaping from its enclosure and running amok on the island, Owen soon finds himself saddled with tasks way beyond his job spec. Now he must not only protect the lives of Claire's two visiting nephews (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins), but he must also track down and kill the Indominus, lest every one of the park's 20,000-something visitors becomes a snack for the island's newest alpha predator.

Which brings us to the titular park itself. You see, unlike the previous Jurassic Park films, Jurassic World's island setting is a fully-functioning theme park teeming with activity, which ups the movie's stakes significantly. Otherwise, the storyline will feel very familiar to fans of Spielberg's landmark film, as Trevorrow and co-writers Derek Connolly, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver borrow many of its narrative beats. There are even specific visual callbacks to the first film — with brief appearances from everyone's favorite cartoon helix, Mr. DNA, the original red and grey Jurassic Park Jeep Wranglers, and Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, whose out-of-focus photo can be glimpsed twice on the back of a book jacket — not to mention a reprise of John Williams' now-iconic theme.

That's not to say Jurassic World doesn't have a few interesting twists up its sleeve. For one, the Raptors are actually more good guys than not this time around, working in unison with Owen when the film's action kicks into overdrive. And the film's big, bad dinosaur antagonist — the genetically-modified Indominus Rex — turns out to be more than just your run-of-the-mill T-Rex on steroids, with its top-secret DNA composition gifting it with such uncanny abilities as camouflagic skin and thermal vision, leading to some of the movie's tensest and most thrilling sequences.

Still, what it all boils down to is expectations. The first three Jurassic Park films have conditioned audiences to expect certain things from the franchise; and Jurassic World plays happily within those well-established boundaries, finding that blockbuster balance between action and comedy. Even with its missteps, which include an egregious overabundance of one-liners and an utterly implausible romantic subplot, Jurassic World still manages to captivate. And that's saying a lot, especially considering that we're already over two decades removed from the movie that started it all.

It's hard to imagine another movie looking any better than Jurassic World does on Blu-ray. Colors, especially the greens of the island's lush foliage, are impressively saturated; black levels and contrast excel; and the entire image is awash in a very filmic layer of grain, with more than enough fine detail present to make every last scale on the dinosaurs' skin visible. As for the audio treatment, the movie's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack is a clear winner as well, being both powerful and nuanced enough to not only make viewers quiver at the sound of the Indominus Rex's vicious roars, but to also immerse them in the ambient noises of the jungle's smaller, less lethal inhabitants.

Universal's Blu-ray release comes in two distinct flavors (a three-disc 3D combo pack and a two-disc 2D combo pack), both of which include a DVD, an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Deleted Scenes (6:08) - Seven deleted scenes in total.
  • Chris & Colin Take on the World (8:57) - Star Chris Pratt and Co-Writer/Director Colin Trevorrow interview each other, discussing such things as specific scenes from the movie, as well as their favorite moments and memories from the previous three Jurassic Park films.
  • Welcome to Jurassic World (29:52) - Colin Trevorrow and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg give viewers some insight into the making of Jurassic World, touching on everything from the story's themes and ideas, to its script, the shooting process, the stunt work and even the animatronic puppetry that helped bring the film to life.
  • Dinosaurs Roam Once Again (16:29) - A look at the creation of the dinosaurs of Jurassic World, from the visual effects and the stunts, to the dinosaur designs and the creation of specific scenes, such as the Pteranodon and Dimorphodon attack sequence.
  • Jurassic World: All-Access Pass (10:11) - Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie, taking turns commenting on Owen Grady as a character, the research Pratt did for his role, the Gyrosphere ride, the "Zero Dark Raptor" sequence and the film's climax.
  • Innovation Center Tour with Chris Pratt (2:01) - Chris Pratt gives viewers a tour of Jurassic World's Visitor Center, with the help of Colin Trevorrow and Production Designer Edward Verreaux.
  • Jurassic's Closest Shaves - Presented by Barbasol (3:00) - A compilation of some of the tensest, most action-packed moments of dinosaur action from all four Jurassic Park movies

Jurassic World is available from Universal Studios Home Entertainment as of October 20th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish and French DTS 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 5 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on June 12th, 2015.

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