Where You’ve Seen Them Before: The Cast of “Jurassic World”

Posted on June 13, 2015 at 3:55 pm

Of course the dinosaurs and the geniuses at ILM who created them are the real stars of “Jurassic World.”  But the highest compliment we can pay the human performers is that they can hold their own next to the CGI dinos.  If they look familiar, it may be because you’ve seen them before.

Nick Robinson plays Zach, a teenager visiting the Jurassic World theme park.  I first noticed him in the hilarious Cox commercials, but he also starred in the terrific independent film, The Kings of Summer and on Melissa & Joey.

Chris Pratt starred in two of the biggest movies of 2014. He was the voice of Emmett in The Lego Movie and he was Peter (also known, at least to himself, as Star-Lord) in Guardians of the Galaxy. But before that he was often seen playing comic relief best friend type roles in movies like “Delivery Man” and “The Five-Year Engagement.”

Bryce Dallas Howard played a mean, racist socialite in The Help and she played Victoria in the “Twilight” series. And she wants you to know she is not Jessica Chastain.

Vincent D’Onofrio is familiar to fans of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” But he has had a remarkably varied career, in films from Adventures in Babysitting to The Judge, and Full Metal Jacket.

Judy Greer plays the mother of the two boys and the sister of the woman who runs the park. She has been in pretty much everything, playing best friends in rom-coms and on television shows like “Arrested Development” and “Archer.” She even wrote a book about it: I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star

Irfan Kahn plays the billionaire whose company owns Jurassic World. He appeared in “The Life of Pi” as the title character and in “Slumdog Millionaire” as the game show host. His lovely film “The Lunchbox” is well worth seeking out.

Related Tags:


Actors Where You’ve Seen Them Before

Jurassic World

Posted on June 10, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Copyright 2015 Universal
Copyright 2015 Universal

One problem is that we really do not know very much about dinosaurs, especially live ones, and especially genetically tweaked live ones. A bigger problem is that we keep ignoring what we do know about humans. Over and over again we see that humans are petty, greedy for both money and power, and very unclear about the line between optimism and hubris. Maybe someday we will figure out a genetic tweak to adjust that problem, but for the time being we are stuck with it, which is bad for us, but pretty good for movies. It gives us just enough of a framework for the storyline without interfering with the real purpose of the movie, which is, let’s face it, seeing people get chased by dinosaurs. And that is what happens, all right. A lot of people get chased by a lot of dinosaurs, and it is exciting and cool and a lot of fun.

Remember what Jeff Goldblum said in the first “Jurassic Park” movie?   The man behind the idea of taking dino DNA from amber and re-creating creatures who died out 70 million years ago compared the delays to the opening of Disneyland. Yes, Goldblum’s expert in chaos theory replied, but “if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.” Despite the devastation inflicted on the planet in the first three movies (remember that optimism/hubris problem), things have moved on, and Jurassic World is now a flourishing theme park with 20,000 visitors at a time. Indeed, it is all a little been there-done that, the dinosaurs so tame there is actually a petting zoo portion of the park, where children can ride on triceratops. Investors want better returns and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the director of the park, is under a lot of pressure to create more “wow factor.” The dinosaurs are no more exotic than the elephant at the zoo. “We want to be thrilled.”

She and the eighth richest man on the planet, the CEO of the company who owns Jurassic World, have decided the best way to do that is to spend $28 million to create a bigger, smarter, angrier dinosaur made up of all the scariest parts of all the other dinos. You know, Frankensaurus. What could possibly go wrong?

Making up the rest of the human cast are some disposable red shirt types whose primary job is to be clawed and/or eaten, as well as Claire’s two nephews (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins) and a couple of Navy vets who have been working on an experimental program to see whether raptors can be trained, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Barry (Omar Sy). There’s also a computer guy (Jake Johnson), a scientist (B.D. Wong), and the grand prize winner of the really bad idea competition, a military type (Vincent D’Onofrio) who wants to weaponize the dinosaurs and use them in combat.

There’s a terrific opening, as powerful talons crack through egg shells, terrifying literally from the very first second. Then there’s a clever twist to remind us that we are here to have PG-13-style fun. We have about an hour to familiarize us with the characters, the layout, and the vulnerabilities, oh, yes, and the characters. And the rest is people getting chased by dinosaurs in a variety of extremely intense and exciting and creative ways, and in many different locations. The 3D effects are jump-out-at-you scary. Howard makes the best of a thankless part.  Claire starts out as a caricature of a control freak, dressed all in Olivia Pope white, with perfectly groomed, razor-styled red hair.  We know how inhuman she is because she barely remembers the names of her nephews and refers to the dinosaurs briskly as “assets.” And she once went on a date with a print-out of the schedule.  It is fun to see her become more messy and human, though ridiculous that she never takes off her high heels and gets the vapors over seeing a Real Man do Manly things.

The real wow factor in the film is Pratt, who exhibits a natural Indiana Jones-style, all-American heroism. Not many actors can hold their own against a genetically modified T-Rex the size of Godzilla, but Pratt, whether dinosaur whispering or racing his motorcycle, is an old-school hero. Even if we don’t believe there is any chemistry between his character and Howard’s, his quiet confidence and skill are as much fun as all the CGI-asauruses.

Parents should know that this film includes very intense peril and violence involving big, scary creatures with lots of teeth, many characters (human and animal) injured and killed, some graphic and disturbing images, brief strong language, brief sexual reference, discussion of parental divorce.

Family discussion: Why did things go so wrong? Whose fault was it? How did the relationship of the brothers change and why?

If you like this, try: the earlier “Jurassic Park” movies and “Walking With Dinosaurs”

Related Tags:


Based on a book Fantasy Series/Sequel Thriller

Check out the Website for Jurassic World — the (fictional, so far) Theme Park

Posted on June 10, 2015 at 8:00 am

What if there really was a Jurassic World theme park? It would have a Jurassic World website just like this one. It has attraction wait times, fun facts, scheduled special events, and even some warnings not to tap on the glass. “Your safety is our first priority.” Hmmmm.

You can visit the Creation Lab and see a map of the park. It is a lot of fun to explore the virtual park — and a lot safer, too.

Related Tags:


Not specified

Opening This Month: June 2015

Posted on June 1, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Summer movies are here! Raunchy comedies, blockbuster sequels, and even some documentaries and indie gems.

Here’s what’s ahead this month.

June 3

Entourage: Vince and his pals are back as the hit HBO series about a Hollywood star and his friends, and of course about their volcanically profane agent, Ari, played by multiple award winner Jeremy Piven.

June 5

Spy: Melissa McCarthy teams up with action star Jason Statham in this R-rated comedy directed by “Bridesmaids'” Paul Feig.
Love & Mercy: Paul Dano and John Cusack play the brilliant but troubled Brian Wilson in this biopic about the genius behind the Beach Boys, co-starring Paul Giamatti as his controversial therapist and Elizabeth Banks as the woman who loves him.

June 12

Jurassic World: Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard star in this reboot of the series based on the book by Michael Crichton and the movie directed by Steven Spielberg.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: This sweet indie is funny, smart, surprising, and touching.

The Wolfpack: A group of sheltered, homeschooled boys in New York City learn about the world through the movies they watch and re-create — and this is a documentary.

The Yes Men Are Revolting: In their third film, the Yes Men continue to combine protest, theater, and comedy to bring attention to environmental dangers and corporate misdeeds.

June 19

Inside Out: Pixar’s new film is about the emotions within a middle school girl, featuring the voices of Lewis Black, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling.
Infinitely Polar Bear: Mark Ruffalo and Zoë Saldana star in this fact-based story of a brilliant but bi-polar man who does the best he can to care for his two daughters.

June 26

Max: A dog that worked with US Marines in Afghanistan returns to the U.S. and is adopted by the younger brother of the Marine handler who was killed in action.

Ted 2: The talking bear with the potty mouth returns.
Batkid Begins: The Make-A-Wish story about the kid who wanted to be Batman captured the hearts of the world.  This is what happened.

Related Tags:


Opening This Month
THE MOVIE MOM® is a registered trademark of Nell Minow. Use of the mark without express consent from Nell Minow constitutes trademark infringement and unfair competition in violation of federal and state laws. All material © Nell Minow 1995-2024, all rights reserved, and no use or republication is permitted without explicit permission. This site hosts Nell Minow’s Movie Mom® archive, with material that originally appeared on Yahoo! Movies, Beliefnet, and other sources. Much of her new material can be found at, Huffington Post, and WheretoWatch. Her books include The Movie Mom’s Guide to Family Movies and 101 Must-See Movie Moments, and she can be heard each week on radio stations across the country.

Website Designed by Max LaZebnik