Monday, 30 November -0001

Jurassic world

Jurassic World’s dazzling star is even bigger than the GM dinosaurs

Written by Matt Warren
Matt-Warren-colour-176The thing about Chris Pratt, swashbuckling and hugely likeable star of this, the fourth in the Jurassic Park series, is that he used to be the ‘fat guy’ – his words, not mine. Certainly few fans of Parks And Recreation, the NBC comedy series that first put him in the frame, ever would have guessed that the adorable but undeniably plump actor would morph into one of the buffest and most exciting action heroes to emerge in decades.

For that is what Mr Pratt, who wowed the crowds in last year’s superhero picture Guardians Of The Galaxy, is now. Witty, self-deprecating and oh-so-hunky (sorry, I know I’m gushing) he is beloved of men, women, children and, in this family-friendly monster movie, even velociraptors. I’d be amazed if we don’t see him cast as a rebooted Indiana Jones, as has been rumoured. Indeed, there are moments in Jurassic World when it feels as if the film is actually his extended audition for just that role. His outfit, his vintage motorbike, his manner, high jinks and awkward romance – if they’d given Pratt a whip and a fedora, they could have called this Raiders Of The Lost Dinosaur.

Jurassic World takes place two decades after the Jurassic Park films, when a fully functioning dinosaur theme park is finally pulling in the crowds. Trouble is, people are getting bored of dreary Stegosaurus and rummy old T-Rex. They want something new, something bigger, scarier, a real-life Godzilla.

And so the scientists – who always seem to get a bad rap in Hollywood – have been baking up a new blockbuster. Indominus rex, part tyrannosaur, part cuttlefish (I think that means it can change colour) is a genetically-modified supersaur, with a colossal set of gnashers, some serious childhood issues (thanks to an extended spell in solitary confinement) and a chess player’s sense of strategy. Needless to say, it is soon on the loose – and gobbling up everything it encounters.

We have, of course, seen it all before: the Jurassic Park trio made sure of that. Indeed, unless they get a T-Rex to pair up with Julie Andrews and sing The Sound Of Music, it’s hard to see how a fifth film could take the living dinosaur gimmick anywhere new.

Nevertheless, Jurassic World is an energetically entertaining piece of popcorn cinema. Pratt, who plays the park’s resident velociraptor trainer (imagine the employer’s liability insurance premiums for that role) gives the film an exciting new look, helped along by fellow cast members including Bryce Dallas Howard (as the robotic PR turned heroine, Claire), Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins (her nephews) and four velociraptors named Blue, Charlie, Delta and Echo. There’s even an unlikely, rather heroic cameo for good old T-Rex.

Already this is the fastestgrossing film of all time, making $1bn in less than a fortnight. The dinosaurs, special effects and script all play their part, of course, but if you want to gamble on predicting the next big blockbuster, my advice is simple: put your money on the ‘fat guy’.

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