chris pratt in jurassic worldThis Friday, "Jurassic World" is unleashed on an unsuspecting world, where it will gnash its teeth and swing its tail and generally make life miserable for puny humans foolhardy enough to mess with the laws of nature. (Hubris gets you every time.)

Some estimates have suggested that "Jurassic World" will be the box office hit of this summer (sorry, "Aloha"). That's right: 22 years after the original film debuted and decimated all box office records, this sequel could do pretty much the same thing.

But what do you really need to know about the movie before seeing it this Friday

1. It's a Direct Sequel to the Original 'Jurassic Park'...
For those keeping track at home, this is the fourth "Jurassic Park" film. The last film in the series was 2001's middling "Jurassic Park III," which saw original hero Alan Grant (Sam Neill) traveling back to a dinosaur-infested island to rescue William H. Macy's lost son. (Yes, this was the actual plot of "Jurassic Park III.") If you only kind of remember the subsequent films (and honestly, we can't blame you), then that's OK, because "Jurassic World" really does follow a direct line from the original film.

Firstly, the new movie takes place on the same island as the original film: Isla Nublar, which was designed to be the home of Jurassic Park, a cutting-edge theme park that incorporated genetically reconstituted dinosaurs alongside high octane thrill attractions. "The Lost World" and "Jurassic Park III" took place on Isla Sorna, the incubator island where the animals were raised. Secondly, the idea of a dinosaur-stuffed theme park has returned; in the two sequels the dinosaurs were just running around in the jungle. A lot of the awe and wonder associated with the first film came from watching dinosaurs, an ancient force of nature, interact with modern-day technology, but this idea got lost as the franchise steamrolled on. Also, John Hammond, the grandfatherly founder of Jurassic Park (played by Richard Attenborough) is referenced, and B.D. Wong, playing geneticist Henry Wu, is a holdover from the original film.

2. It Also Incorporates Elements From the Original Novel
One of the biggest changes when "Jurassic Park" moved from Michael Crichton's novel to the big screen was the timeline. In the novel, the park was weeks away from opening -- rides were moving and operational, which created some really thrilling suspense set pieces. It was this close to being open. For Spielberg's movie, he positioned the park as being much further away from opening day. This meant that whole buildings were unfinished, attractions had yet to be completed, etc. The big selling point for "Jurassic World" has been that the park is open, and fans of the novel have been waiting for this since the first movie was released. Some of the trailers have suggested that "Jurassic World" will incorporate some of those set pieces from the novel into this movie, including a sequence involving a river raft ride gone horribly awry. (This is actually the basis for the popular Universal Studios theme park attraction that can be wetly enjoyed the world over.) Additionally, it incorporates elements from actual real world theme parks (a giant stunt show involving an aquatic dinosaur, a monorail straight out of Disney World). This just adds to the sense that this is very much in the mold of the original film/novel and as close to "classic" "Jurassic Park" as we've been in over 20 years.

3. The Villain Is a Franken-saurus
When the first "Jurassic Park" opened, nobody had seen anything like it: the visual effects were a cutting-edge combination of full-sized animatronic characters and groundbreaking computer generated effects and they were utilized in the creation of unforgettable characters. The most memorable, of course, were the giant T. rex and the smarty pants velociraptors. (They could open doors!) The sequels offered scores of new dinosaurs but could never capture that same sense of charming malevolence mixed with real-world animal instincts. But "Jurassic World" promises to offer something unique: a brand-new dinosaur who is an honest-to-god character. The villain is Indominus rex, a genetically modified dinosaur that was cooked up by the park's scientists in an effort to bolster attendance. (Yes, in "Jurassic World," audiences have become jaded to the wonders of dinosaurs coming back to life. We blame Twitter.) By all accounts, she is a fearsome beast: she's a greyish white color and seems to be starting all sorts of trouble. In the trailer, it looks like its egging on the other dinosaurs to do things like bite people and fly around recklessly. She also kills other dinosaurs "for sport." Holy hell. This is one serious dinosaur and we are super excited to find out what other secrets she has.

4. Chris Pratt Plays a Velociraptor Whisperer
If you've seen a billboard or a magazine cover in the past six weeks, you know that "Jurassic World" stars Chris Pratt. But you might not know who he plays. But we're here to tell you: it's Owen Grady, a velociraptor trainer who is recruited to return to the park by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park operations manager. She wants him to come back to oversee the introduction of the Indominus rex. He thinks this is a very bad idea. And he should know: he's a sort of velociraptor whisperer. These aren't the super-smart dolphins-with-razor-sharp-claws from the original films; they're more malleable and emotional creatures here. Some of the moments from the trailer that produced the most zippy excitement came from seeing Pratt's character that close to the velociraptors, plus another scene from the end of the trailer (that has been immortalized on those aforementioned billboards) with Pratt teaming up with the raptors to go after the Indominus rex. The idea of domesticated raptors seems to be a holdover from a much earlier, wilder script by indie film legend John Sayles that saw the dinosaurs taking up arms and going after drug dealers on the mainland. (Yes, this was a really-for-real script that got very close to production.) We personally think that tame dinosaurs in "Jurassic World" are just the right amount of wacky for the new movie.

5. It's Steven Spielberg-Approved
Master filmmaker Steven Spielberg directed the first "Jurassic Park," and the also helmed the darker, weirder, less satisfying sequel, 1998's "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (a move that screamed "contractual obligation" more than "artistic compulsion"). With "Jurassic Park III," Spielberg retained a producer credit but it seemed to be pretty distant from what the director intended (or wanted to do with the beloved franchise); the production was a mess and not even Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne could detangle the script. But Spielberg has been very vocal about how much he approves of "Jurassic World." Not only did he take a more active role as a producer, but he cherrypicked the new filmmaker (indie darling Colin Trevorrow and his writing partner Derek Connolly) and has been appearing in promotional materials saying what a dream come true the project truly is.

This is a pretty big deal, considering how uncomfortable Spielberg has always seemed on camera (and that was when he was promoting things that he actually directed). Spielberg has an innate ability to designate and mentor talented young directors (everyone from Joe Dante to Brad Bird to Tobe Hooper), filmmakers who might have been overlooked by the studio had he not taken to them. It speaks volumes that not only did Spielberg designate Trevorrow as the future king, but that he's been speaking up about it in promotional materials. Spielberg is putting his mouth where his money is.

"Jurassic World" opens everywhere June 12th.'Jurassic World' Unscripted: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard
Jurassic World
PG-132015
Based on 49 critics

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categories Movies, Summer Movies