Friday, June 29, 2018

Movie Review: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" (2018)

Image Source
Director: J.A. Bayona
Year: 2018
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes

Claire Dearing and Owen Grady are sent back to Isla Nublar to rescue Blue and the other dinosaurs before the island is destroyed by a volcano. The intent is to relocate them to a different secure island sanctuary. The man who sent Claire and Owen back to Jurassic World has other more sinister intentions in mind.
"If you want to create an addict, you have to give them a taste." (Image Source)
So.....the idea is that people want to go to Isla Nublar and capture the dinosaurs and then relocate them??? Last time someone tried this, it didn't exactly work out so well for them. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" is directed by J.A. Bayona, who has helmed some films like "The Orphanage," "The Impossible," and "A Monster Calls." It is written by Derek Conolly and Colin Trevorrow, who worked together to write the previous "Jurassic World" movie. Since the Indominus Rex destroyed the Jurassic World theme park, the remaining dinosaurs have overtaken the area and have roamed freely on the island for three years. The large dormant volcano at the center of the island has suddenly become 'active' and threatens to destroy all life there. In the last few years, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) has done a 180 and now heads a dinosaur protection non-profit. She has been tasked with helping Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), one of the co-founders of the original Jurassic Park, and his right-hand man, the young and ambitious Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), to capture the dinosaurs so they can relocate them to a safe island sanctuary. The one dinosaur they are most concerned about is Blue the raptor. Claire seeks help from the estranged Owen (Chris Pratt), the only person Blue knows and trusts, so they can save her from extinction. Claire and Lockwood have no clue that Mills has his own ideas of what to do with the dinosaurs once they are captured.
"Genetic power is an uncharted frontier." (Image Source)
21 years ago, Steven Spielberg directed "The Lost World: Jurassic Park," which involved capturing dinosaurs and relocating them, only to have them escape and run amok in a highly populated area (San Diego hollaaaaa). "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" re-runs that same basic premise with similar results. This film takes place in a world where nobody learns from the mistakes of the past. Money-hungry people trying to earn a quick buck have little thought about the consequences of their actions and could potentially wind up destroying our world. So...pretty much the real world we live in today, but with the added threat of pterodactyls and raptors and shit. We're halfway there, guys and gals! This is a movie where human characters make increasingly stupid decisions that lead to their own demise. Once again, art reflecting life.
"We will save them. What a gift for our children." (Image Source)
When you go into a "Jurassic World" movie, you pretty much know right off the bat what to expect: a bunch of people screaming "RUN!" at the top of their lungs and running from dinosaurs before they get trampled or eaten. At this point, the human characters are just an annoyance and are only there to give the dinosaurs something to chase. Some of the characters, even the ones we are supposed to root for, are so annoying that we can't help but hope they get eaten by whatever new mutant dinosaur has been concocted in this installment. Note for the inevitable third movie: more dinos fighting, less irritating humans. We will say that "Fallen Kingdom" is not without its moments of excitement and its occasional bits of tension. Unfortunately, all of these "good" moments are overshadowed by the ridiculous narrative, the eye-rolling plot twists, and the phoned-in performances from actors who know a good money-making scheme when they see, basically what the bad guys in this movie do but in real life. Though Bayona has taken over the director's chair, Trevorrow's stink is all over the screenplay. It is full of false, cheap emotionally manipulative moments, and one plot point so absolutely stupid and batshit crazy that you will either say "fuck it" and go with it, or it will damn near ruin the entire thing for you and cause you to laugh/scream out loud despite being in a theater full of people. One amazing thing about the dinosaurs in these movies is, despite being many, many meters long and hundreds of pounds/tons heavy, they manage to constantly sneak up on unsuspecting victims as if they were dino-ninjas. Given the direction of these new "Jurassic" films, dino-ninjas is exactly what we assume Colin Trevorrow has planned for his third writing effort in the Jurassic Park universe.

If you are willing to ignore all of the major flaws and just want to see dinosaurs chomp and fight their way through this lazy sequel, you may have a good time watching it. Luckily, it's not a complete wash as J.A. Bayona and his regular cinematographer Óscar Faura manage to create some striking visuals throughout the film. Bayona brings in some of the horror elements that were present in the original "Jurassic Park," even mirroring some not-too-subtle visual cues. As an eye-candy spectacle, this movie is very successful, but those who are looking for a good story or interesting characters will certainly be disappointed. Also, Jeff Goldblum/Dr. Ian Malcolm fans may be dissatisfied because he's only in "Fallen Kingdom" to deliver a monologue of exposition. What you see in the trailer is Goldblum's only part in the entire movie, and it covers about 96% of his dialogue. Honestly though, why would you assume Jeff Goldblum would be a major player in this installment!? He was only touted heavily in the marketing, active for almost all of the promotional material for this film, and made his presence known during its press tour. C'mon y'all, we should know better by now!
"Holy cow... what are you?" (Image Source)
For us, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" fell short of even our very minuscule expectations. Though it has its occasional moment of fun, the stuff in between those good bits drags the whole experience down to the point where we can't say we recommend this sequel.

My Rating: 4/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.6/10
RT Rating: ~51%
Do we recommend this movie: No.

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