CORY WOODROOF

What makes “Jurassic Park” an indisputable classic is the mix of wonders and whimpers – the audience is right there with the characters when they experience the majesty of dinosaurs for the first time, and they’re right there with the characters getting scared when everything starts to go haywire and the bad dinos get loose.

What makes “Jurassic Park” an indisputable classic is the mix of wonders and whimpers – the audience is right there with the characters when they experience the majesty of dinosaurs for the first time, and they’re right there with the characters getting scared when everything starts to go haywire and the bad dinos get loose.

Awe and terror – that’s what should be felt when the lights go down on a “JP” movie. Lose one, and the other doesn’t stick as hard.

With “Jurassic World,” audiences get a fantastic continuation of the spirit that made “Jurassic Park” such an iconic experience.

Director Colin Trevorrow, in his first major blockbuster effort, has crafted a roller coaster of a summer treat with “Jurassic World” – the kind of roller coaster that, after the slow crawl to the top, plummets the rider into a whirlwind of intensity and amazement. But, plenty of movies can thrill – plenty of summer movies can thrill. What sets “Jurassic World” apart from the pack is its sheer devotion to what made its predecessor such a hit.

So, what’s been going on with Isla Nublar all these years? Well, a major corporation run by rich businessman Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) has set up an actual Jurassic World, the living, breathing realization of Dr. Hammond’s Jurassic Park dream. Not only is Jurassic World a place where people can hop in a rover and see dinosaurs. This Jurassic theme park has rides, shows, a petting zoo, an information center, restaurants and shops in a Main Street-esque area and other attractions and places to visit — think Disney World with real-life dinosaurs instead of a happy mouse.

The park is run by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who has her hands full with a brand-new attraction aimed to help boost attendance and visiting nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) on a vacation. The new attraction is the purposefully-scary sounding “Indominus Rex.” Jurassic World’s scientists have made a hybrid dinosaur – a brand-new creation meant to scare the wee willies out of both kids and their parents. They’ve got the scary part down-pat, but there are concerns. So, Claire is sent off after old flame Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a velociraptor trainer (yes, they can kinda-sorta train raptors now), to help keep a tab on the monstrous dino. But, this is a “Jurassic Park” movie, and the dinosaurs won’t stay in the cage for long.

“Jurassic World” takes this plot and packs it with plenty of notable supporting characters, splendid scenes of serenity and suspense, great little moments in the middle of major action scenes and an overarching message that continues to reinforce the idea that maybe, just maybe, this whole making the extinct un-extinct thing might not be the best way to make money. Essentially, this new movie saw what the original did well, follows the steps to success and throws its own little notes of panache in for good measure. That’s what a good sequel is supposed to do – it respects what came before by forging its own path with tried-and-true tools.

Trevorrow’s direction is confident and sure-handed – he makes this movie the scariest of the series, with the Indominus Rex perhaps the most malevolent dino to walk on one of the Islas. The film’s script bristles with acceleration. The writers know the importance of forward action, and the movie rarely hits a lull. It also manages to throw in just plenty of fun nods to the original film – some big, some subtle. Michael Giacchino’s score serves as a fantastic compliment to what John Williams’ wrote for his “JP” score – it’s packed with glowing awe, theme park-whimsy and dark, brooding overtones.

Chris Pratt is the standout of the cast. While Howard, the boys, Khan and others (Vincent D’Onofrio as a security expert, Omar Sy as a caring raptor keeper) turn in apt work that fits the film’s tone, it’s Pratt who commands the screen. Somehow, in some wonderful way, Andy from “Parks and Recreation” has delivered one of the most fist-clenching leading man performances in a summer movie in a while – he gets his shining Harrison Ford moment, and does he ever nail it. The actor got his star-making turn in last summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” – his performance in “Jurassic World” confirms his place among Hollywood’s top leading men.

“Jurassic World” is a rousing success because it understands its place in the series. It’s a loving ode to what has come before and a confident step forward for the franchise. Trevorrow does Spielberg proud with the film’s blend of, you guessed it, awe and terror. Watching Simpkins’ young Gray enter the Jurassic World gates for the first time and experience the park’s attractions goes right along with the scenes of the scientists discovering the dinosaurs for the first time. The Indominus Rex fits right in with the raptors and T-Rex from the first film in terms of scare-value.

As far as “Jurassic” movies go, this isn’t “Jurassic Park,” but it never had to be. The film is a reverent, effective follow-up to a classic. That, folks, is what we call no small feat.