Monday , 6 February 2023

Jurassic World Live Tour brings Dinos to Life!

An adventure 65 million years in the making!

Of all the creatures that have ever existed on this giant rock we call planet earth, perhaps none hold more fascination today than that of dinosaurs, aka, terrible lizards. The fact that what was once the dominant species on the planet for tens of millions of years is now looked at in wonderment and awe by the current dominant species, though for a much shorter span of time, man, is truly enthralling. For all we know about dinosaurs, there is far more we don’t yet understand, and our ideas on how these mega-beasts lived is constantly changing. When it comes to depictions of these enormous creatures on screen, that too has evolved greatly over the years. From The Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933) to One Million Years, B.C. (1966) and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970), filmmakers have used a variety of techniques to bring dinosaurs to life, using everything from puppets to real lizards, and most successfully, via stop-motion animation, by f/x artists like Willis O’Brien, Ray Harryhausen and Jim Danforth. However, it wasn’t until 1993, with author Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, that director Steven Spielberg, combining computer-generated imagery (cgi) by f/x house, ILM, and animatronic creatures created by Stan Winston, brought dinosaurs to life in a realistic way that had never been seen before. For the first time, you could believe you were witnessing real live dinosaurs. The film’s colossal success led to two sequels, The Lost World (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001) before being resurrected once again for Jurassic World (2015) and its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) (The next chapter is on its way in 2021 – Jurassic World: Dominion). And now, the dinosaurs of this beloved franchise have leapt off the screen to thunder through arenas around the globe with the Jurassic World Live Tour.

Produced by Feld Entertainment, Jurassic World Live Tour is an exciting,  live-action extravaganza featuring large scale animatronic dinosaurs, along with more agile, dexterous creatures performed by human “dinoteers.” The show revolves around a storyline that takes place soon after the events of the first Jurassic World film. Beginning on Isla Nublar, a team of scientists has created a device that measures a dinosaur’s emotions, particularly that of Jeanie, a smaller carnivore known as a Troodon. They explain that Troodons are even more intelligent than Velociraptors, who we already know to be clever girls. (Remember, the dinos of Jurassic were initially all female. Check out an examination of this phenomena from Jurassic Outpost.)  Naturally, the Ingen Corporation  wants these creatures and the device for malicious purposes to be exploited by the military. As our scientists, aided by a pair of interns and a security specialist, travel across the globe to Peru, they discover that Jeanie has left her eggs behind on Isla Nublar and become determined to reunite her with her future offspring, while being pursued by the military and hungry dinosaurs. The dialogue can be a little cheesy at times and there’s a bit of a love story thrown in, but c’mon, who really cares about the story – we want to see dinosaurs!

All your favorite dinosaurs are here – from the peaceful herbivores, Triceratops and Stegosaurus, to the carnivorous Tyrannosaurus Rex, Pteranodons, and the Ingen-created hybrid, Indominus Rex. Velociraptors, who first made an appearance in Jurassic Park, are also prominent here, including a special one known as Blue, who Owen Grady trained, and became particularly fond of in Jurassic World. This show very much exists in the world of the films, as a number of characters – Ian Malcolm, Claire Dearing and Henry Wu – are referred to throughout the course of the story. As for the dinosaurs themselves, they are a wonder to behold. While the larger dinosaurs, which travel around the arena on a moving platform, are limited in their movements, their sheer size alone make them awe inspiring. The Raptors and Troodon have a much greater range of mobility as performed by the puppeteers operating them, who must be commended for giving them such personality. It’s interesting that the producers of Jurassic World Live chose one of the lesser known dinosaurs of Jurassic, the Troodon, to be given the star billing here, as the entire story revolves around her intelligence and the quest to reunite her with her eggs. Luckily, she possesses plenty of character and charm to carry the story to its conclusion, with the help of her human friends.

While Jurassic World Live Tour is entertaining for all ages, it is clearly tailor-made for children. The overall theme of the show marks a stark contrast from another arena show of recent years that similarly combined large, animatronic creatures, with smaller ones controlled by puppeteers, Walking with Dinosaurs, the Arena Spectacular. That show focused more on the history of dinosaurs and was full of facts and features, centering on the dinos themselves without any human characters to interact with. Jurassic World Live places a much greater emphasis on spectacle and action over science and information, with battles and chases featuring motorcycles, jeeps, a gyrosphere and a variety of stunts and hand-to-hand combat. Parents need not worry that their children may become too frightened by any of the goings-on taking place. While there is an apparent human death or two, it occurs offscreen, and anyways, children know what they’re in for with dinosaurs and will be more astonished and enthralled than scared or intimidated. For those interested in learning more about the dinosaurs themselves beyond what information is revealed during the course of the show, you can purchase a large-sized, glossy program for twenty bucks that is loaded with dino facts and what goes on behind-the-scenes in bringing the dinos to life, along with some puzzles and games.

In addition to whatever you spend on tickets, be prepared to shell out a few extra bucks on a variety of items. Kids can be quite annoying in that they like to eat at periodic intervals, so besides the usual burgers, chicken fingers and fries, your little monsters may want to gobble up some dino popcorn and cotton candy and wash it all down with a beverage contained in a dino cup. There are plenty of souvenir stands throughout the arena selling all kinds of cool stuff, from dinosaur figures and plush toys to t-shirts, caps and light wands. The show itself is split into two halves with each running approximately 45 minutes, with an intermission lengthy enough so your tiny terrors can go to the bathroom, another of their aggravating features. The show length is perfect for those with relatively short attention spans, and while the majority of the shows are scheduled for weekends, those during the week end early enough so as not to interfere too much with school the next day.

Jurassic World Live is currently touring in the Northeastern United States (this Gore4er caught the show at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey), and is scheduled to make stops through the end of 2020 and into 2021 throughout the U.S. and Canada. You can see if these magnificent beasts will be thundering into your neck of the woods by going to the website, Jurassic World Live Tour. Here you’ll find everything you need to know to plan your trip back to the age of dinosaurs. As for the actual movies, Jurassic World: Dominion has already begun filming with Jurassic World director, Colin Trevorrow returning to the helm. Also returning are not only Jurassic World regulars, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, but Jurassic Park originals, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, as well as the mainstay of the franchise, B.D. Wong as the nefarious Dr. Henry Wu. Now that the dinosaurs have been unleashed upon the outside world, our planet may never be the same again. As Ian Malcolm has said, nature finds a way, but can humans and dinosaurs find a way to co-exist in an overcrowded, over-developed world? We’ll find out on June 11. 2021. In the meantime, head to an arena near you for an adventure 65 million years in the making, Jurassic World Live Tour!