No one knows why or how or who or how come but for some reason it’s real.
This is real!
It’s here. It’s happening. It’s on.
Oh man. It’s true. It’s just true.
NATURE FINDS A WAY.
“Jurassic World: The Exhibition” came out in the States after the success of the 2015 kinda sequel, kinda reboot Jurassic World, which was the third highest grossing movie ever at the time. It’s been touring around the States and Australia for the past five years or so, with the concurrent release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2018 and the planned sequel to that which is coming out in 2022, Jurrassic World: Dominion.
There’s also an animated Netflix show in there somewhere?
As far as we can tell, Wanda Group brought it to China in 2020 to Chengdu. And then later on to Guangzhou. And then last week to Shanghai. Huh!
Why not, man!
Don’t ask these questions!
This is the tag-line they’ve got everywhere: “The Closest You’ll Ever Come to Living Dinosaurs”.
Which, hey — not true ‘cause I saw Dylan perform here in Shanghai in 2011.
It takes about an hour and the thing is split into static exhibition areas, a collection of big, impressive animatronic dinos that go RAAARRR at you when you walk by them, and choreographed set pieces with actors acting out short Jurassic Park vignettes.
I was DELIGHTED to find that the inspiration for most of the content is the very first Spielberg film from 1993, which holy shit is almost 30 years old now!
It’s a scientific fact accepted by everyone in the entire world with any kind of sense that Jurassic Park is the greatest summer blockbuster of all time. If it’s not, it’s very close to being the perfect movie. I don’t have to tell you that while, of course, it pushed the boundaries of what’s possible for live action animatronic effects, it also contained the first non-shit-looking instances of CGI on film ever. CGI which still holds up to this day. But beyond that, it presented fully realized characters wrestling with complex themes and ideas: the role of humanity in the natural world / order; scientific and technological progress vs. greed, folly, and ambition; the whole “playing God” thing; and also Samuel L. Jackson and Newman from Seinfeld are in it.
Spielberg famously completed the editing of the project at night while shooting Schindler’s List in the daytime, which is also a very good movie but without any dinosaurs in it. I can see why he went in that direction.
Jurassic Park has some of the most iconic set pieces and action sequences in action movie history. And also one of the greatest movie villains of all time: the T REX!
Remember that bit at the end when the T Rex smashes into the museum and saves the kids by chomping on that velociraptor RIGHT OUT OF THE AIR OMG THATS GOOD, he’s not evil he’s just a big animal following his natural predator instincts!
Ahhh. You can tell I don’t have any kind of editor for these articles.
Okay, let’s take a tour of the exhibition!
Starts off, they put you in the boat simulation room, wherein you’re sailing to the Jurassic Park island. Your guide gives you a spiel about all the wonderful things you are about to see. In Chinese. Yes, it’s all in Chinese. No English. Which is okay. But just so you know.
And then it opens up into the gates of Jurassic Park in a lush and leafy jungle, and the official soundtrack music swells up and you’re like ‘holy shit this is for-real’ and a big Brachiosaurus head swivels around and looks at you dreamily.
Look at this guy.
Haha. What a lovable dinosaur! Oh no, what’s that behind you!
Another animatronic dino, giving you “come hither” eyes.
After making your way through a bunch of the welcoming herbivores, you're inside the "Hammond Creation Lab". This is where all that fabulous pseudo-science comes to life. They’ve got dino incubation displays, a wall of mosquitoes trapped in amber — even a display of “dino dung”.
After that room, it's the dig site...
But wait! Air sirens, what?! It’s time for the velociraptor feeding! On into the "Velociraptor Paddock"…
And then a dude in a velociraptor costume comes out and starts play acting with another dude dressed like a Jurassic Park guide.
This goes on for like 10 campy minutes, with the guy in the velociraptor costume coming up to the bars of the paddock and going RAAARRR at the audience with everyone squealing.
Wonderful. Five stars. Ten thumbs up.
Next area is Stegosaurus, baby!
The dinos all look really great actually. They’re done really well. The skin texture is really lifelike and neat. The lighting is good too. Very dramatic. You can’t tell from the pictures how big the dinos are but they’re pretty damn big. The Stegosaurus is particular is swinging it tail all around and could really do some damage with that thing.
Oh my stars what’s this!
Sweeeeeet. They’ve also got the gyrosphere in there too.
Time for the main event!
It’s the one-two combo, Indominous Rex and T Rex showdown, ohhhhh maaaan.
Will keep this spoiler-free. But yeah the whole thing builds up to this set piece right here and it’s worth it.
(108rmb off-peak hour entry price.)
After that, they spit you out into the gift shop where you can buy your own mini T Rex’s for the small sum of several million RMB.
So that’s it! Clever girl!
About an hour total to get through the whole thing. Good for children aged like 4 to 12 and for 40-year-old adults who clearly have nothing going on in their lives. It’s all in Chinese — the audio bits and all the supporting documentation — so be wary of that if your Chinese isn’t great.
It’s not too bad location-wise. Usually stuff like this is so far away in Pudong you get a nose bleed just trying to get there. This was only like 20 minutes away, coming from a sane part of town.
Jurassic World: The Exhibition is on until August 31, 2022 at 997 Xueye Er Lu, near Zhoujiadu Lu. Open daily from 10am-7pm (last entry: 6.30pm). Tickets are 108rmb to 198rmb depending peak / non-peak hours.