The earnest, foresight-impaired CEO
In “Jurassic Park” John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) was a kindly old-timer with a starry-eyed belief in the glorious pursuit of reviving dinosaurs. He simply couldn’t wrap his head around potential downsides. Irrfan Khan plays the character in the update. His character, Masrani, is a little more of a daredevil — sort of John Hammond-meets-Richard Branson — but his most defining characteristic is the same: An almost mystical confidence in the park’s mission, as if Dino-Disneyworld were some kind of noble charity.
The cartoonish villain (human variety)
Who could forget the conspicuously greedy jerk who set the whole disaster in motion in “Jurassic Park”? Wayne Knight (a.k.a. Newman) played Dennis Nedry, a slob of a tech wiz, whose bright idea to power down T. Rex’s electric fence led to so much carnage. This time around it’s not a computer geek but a military dude who wants to use velociraptors as killing machines and replace boots on the ground abroad. (If you’re thinking this sounds like a shaky motive, you’re right.) Vincent D’onofrio plays Hoskins with even less subtlety than the subtlety-averse Knight.
The genuinely terrifying villain (dinosaur variety)
The two most chilling types of beast in “Jurassic Park” were the clever girl Velociraptors and the Tyrannosaurus Rex. In the reboot, we have a hybrid of the two (with a few other species thrown in for good measure) and the result is… ta-da! The Indominus Rex. You really need to growl its name for the full effect. It’s scarier than either of the original baddies, in part because it’s bigger than the raptors and its arms are meatier than T. Rex’s chuckle-inducing seedlings.
Cute, friendly dinos
In “Jurassic Park,” Hammond’s granddaughter, Lex, is terrified when a Brachiosaurus starts snacking on the treetop where she’s trying to catch a nap, but it’s all okay because the tall drink of water isn’t a meat-eater. “It’s a veggiesaurus, Lex!” her little brother tells her and suddenly the great beast is actually kind of cute. (But also kind of congested.)
That Brachiosaurus isn’t nearly as worthy of a squeeee! as the BABY Brachiosaurus and BABY Triceratops in “Jurassic World.” They inhabit a petting zoo where little kids ride the wee dinos as if they were ponies, and it’s too adorable for words.
The sensible expert who knows this is all a terrible idea
There are actually three such characters in “Jurassic Park,” and they’re all major players: Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). “World” replaces those memorable roles with one leading and one minor character. Chris Pratt plays muscly, slightly amusing ex-Navy guy Owen. He trains raptors, so it’s not as if he’s against the whole dino-in-captivity thing, but he’s aware that he would never be able to control them. His sidekick is Barry, played by the underutilized Omar Sy.
The two kids who are alternately resourceful and helpless
Hammond’s grandkids, Lex and Tim, have been replaced by too-cool teen Zach (Nick Robinson) and his mop-topped little brother Gray (Ty Simpkins), the nephews of a Jurassic World executive. In the tradition of precocious movie kids everywhere, Gray can recite the exact number of teeth every species of dinosaur has, among other minutiae. They may steer themselves right into harm’s way, but at least they know how to fix up cars, which might come in handy…
The sardonic one-liner guy
Samuel L. Jackson actually played it pretty straight as doomed engineer Ray Arnold in “Jurassic Park,” but he did give us one memorable line: “Hold onto your butts.” This time around we have a much funnier character, the nerdy Lowery (Jake Johnson), who covers his desk in tiny dinosaur figurines and provides most of the movie’s comic relief.
The genetic engineer
The only person who reprises his role from the earlier incarnation is B.D. Wong. In both movies he plays the guy who splices genes and creates these bad boys and girls. You would think after his missteps the first time around — breeding all the dinosaurs to be female but forgetting that treefrog DNA would give them the ability to change sex — he wouldn’t have been rehired. Then again, the field of dinosaur DNA splicers may be pretty small.
Okay, so there is one new addition
What “Jurassic Park” didn’t have was a humorless workaholic who cares about nothing except the success of a theme park. Well, except for the “blood-sucking lawyer,” who isn’t around for very long. But “Jurassic World” filled the void with Claire. Bryce Dallas Howard’s character is a one-dimensional boss lady whose coldness is telegraphed by the way she wears her hair (angular), the height of her heels (very, very high) and the way she responds to all questions, personal or business, with statistical data. Will she suffer the fate of attorney Gennaro, or soften up the way Alan Grant did? You’ll just have to see for yourself.