Can 'Jurassic World' reclaim dino-magic?

Tea Leoni, Sam Neill, William H. Macy starred in Jurassic Park III. (Supplied)

Tea Leoni, Sam Neill, William H. Macy starred in Jurassic Park III. (Supplied)

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:54 PM ET

If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results, the characters in the Jurassic Park universe must be absolutely nuts.

You’d think by this point someone would have said, “Y’know, maybe messing around with dinosaur cloning isn’t such a good idea. We should nuke these islands from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

But Jurassic Park is not yet extinct, as cameras will soon begin rolling on Jurassic World, slated for a summer 2015 release. Starring Chris Pratt (The LEGO Movie, Parks and Recreation) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3, The Help) the movie will be a direct sequel to the original trio of Jurassic Park flicks, reportedly returning to Isla Nublar, the site of the doomed dinosaur theme park.

When I talked to Pratt a few weeks ago – the first time he confirmed his involvement in Jurassic World – he said he was beyond stoked to be a part of the film, directed by Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) and produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. “For me, Jurassic Park was really kind of my Star Wars,” Pratt said.

I know exactly what he means. The Tyrannosaurus rex attack scene in 1993’s Jurassic Park is one of those movie moments that will be etched in my brain forever, thanks to its groundbreaking computer-generated effects supplemented by massive animatronics that were designed by the late, great Stan Winston.

And frankly, that’s what worries me.

The magic of the original Jurassic Park was that it showed us something we’d never seen before in a movie: dinosaurs that appeared to be living, breathing animals up there on the screen. But even by the time The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001) rolled around, photorealistic CGI critters were becoming commonplace in films, and digital dinos were popping up all over the place.

Of the two big challenges facing Jurassic World – coming up with a plot that makes any sort of sense, and somehow upping the special effects ante – the plot might be the least problematic. In an interview with MTV, Pratt said the script addresses the “after all the death and horror, who would be insane enough to go back to Jurassic Park?” question in a funny but logical way. Given it’s written by director Trevorrow and Safety Not Guaranteed writer Derek Connolly, I’ve got high hopes they’ll come up with something clever.

As for the dinosaurs... as advanced as digital effects are in 2014, I really, really hope they create some practical animatronics for Jurassic World. Our eyes have become far too adept at spotting things made out of pixels, and if these characters are crazy enough to return to Jurassic Park and think things will be different, I want to genuinely believe they’re in danger of becoming a Megalosaurus meal.

FIVE GEEKY THINGS WE'RE INTO THIS WEEK

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Guardians of the Galaxy trailer

Despite my initial misgivings about this upcoming sci-fi Marvel movie, having the chance to visit the set of the Guardians of the Galaxy set near London last fall completely turned me around on it. I’m stoked for its August release, and for the first official trailer which, fingers crossed, will be out around the time you read this.

Sega Dreamcast

Yeah, you heard me. The wayback machine is headed to 1999, and I’ve finally dusted off my old Dreamcast console for some retro-gaming fun. While the graphics don’t quite hold up, some of these games – like Shenmue or the weird virtual pet Seaman – are classics. And I discovered NFL Blitz 2000 lets you stomp on players after the whistle. Sold!

Pompeii

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Classic Space Lego, again

A couple of weeks ago I lamented how The Lego Movie had stirred up a nostalgic yearning for the classic Space Lego sets of my youth, and that I’d probably end up on eBay looking for the stuff. Yeah, well, it happened. I’m now the proud re-owner of the Lego Space Cruiser, circa 1980. And like Benny in the movie, all I can say when I look at it is, “SPACESHIP SPACESHIP SPACESHIP!”

Twitter: @stevetilley

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca

 


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