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Dinosaur Franchise Reboots; It's Time For 'Jurassic World'


Two decades ago, a massive dinosaur movie stomped into American theaters, crushing the summer blockbuster competition.


SHAPIRO: Oh, yeah, we're talking about "Jurassic Park." Now the theme park is struggling with declining attendance, so the executives have decided to shake things up. Here comes the reboot - "Jurassic World."


SHAPIRO: The road to "Jurassic World" has not been easy. The fourth film in the dino-chomps-man franchise took more than a decade to come to life. Joining us now is Kenneth Turan, film critic for the Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION. Welcome.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Good to be here.

SHAPIRO: I'm going to confess that the original "Jurassic Park" movie is the only film I can remember my parents actually taking me out of school to see on its opening day. Is this reboot as big of a deal?

TURAN: (Laughter) No, kind of by definition it isn't. You know, you can't experience first love twice.


TURAN: And that first film, the way it showed you dinosaurs, the way the computer-generated effects worked - no one had seen anything quite like that, and that kind of blew everyone away. And they do a good job. I'm sure they're more sophisticated dinosaurs, but you don't have that great emotional wow that you had the first time.

SHAPIRO: This film is not made by an obvious team. The director is a man best known for an art-house film. And the star, Chris Pratt, is kind of a quirky action hero. Let's listen to a clip of him. Here he is playing Owen, a raptor trainer in "Jurassic World."


CHRIS PRATT: (As Owen) Put 12 amps in these animals, they're never going to trust me again.

Lou, stand down. Good.

SHAPIRO: So, Kenneth Turan, how much of the kind of unique personality of the people behind this film comes out in the final product?

TURAN: The director Colin Trevorrow's previous film, "Safety Not Guaranteed," was very quirky, very whimsical, very off-center. And you can't really have that be the dominant personality of a hundred million-dollar-plus movie. You know, they're the demands of these huge blockbusters, and they kind of crush most of the individuality out of directors. And you can see his sensibility around the edges, but not as much as I wanted to.

SHAPIRO: Well, speaking of huge blockbusters, there are a lot of big blockbuster reboots this summer. There's this "Jurassic Park" reboot, there's "Mad Max," there's "Terminator." There's even a new "Poltergeist" movie. Is this a lack of creativity from Hollywood, or is it a nostalgia boom? What's going on here?

TURAN: Well, it's kind of fear. When you spend a hundred million dollars on a movie, you really want to be sure that someone's going to show up. And the best way Hollywood has figured out to get people to show up is to say remember that other film you liked? Here's another one. And this film is really more of a sequel than a reboot because it makes a lot of references to the first film. It even has a character wearing a T-shirt from the first film. So this is really - wants to be in the tradition of its progenitor.

SHAPIRO: OK, well, if I liked all of the originals and I'm only going to see one of the reboots or sequels this summer, which one would you send me to see?

TURAN: You know, I would probably send you to see "Mad Max" because I think it's the most inventive of them, but this one is very solid. I mean, it's not going to blow you away, but it's - it tries very hard. And if you like a lot of dinosaurs running around, this is the only place you're going to see them.

SHAPIRO: That's Kenneth Turan, who reviews films for the Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION. Thanks, Ken.

TURAN: Thank you, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Kenneth Turan is the film critic for the Los Angeles Times and NPR's Morning Edition, as well as the director of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. He has been a staff writer for the Washington Post and TV Guide, and served as the Times' book review editor.
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