Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom reivew

Maybe I should work in Hollywood. I suggested in my review of Jurassic World (2015) that the Jurassic Park franchise should explore the militarization of the genetic dinosaurs which was the motivation of the villain in that movie. And in the sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, they do.  And did I get any royalties?
  Sadly, no. 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom takes place three years after the disaster at Jurassic World. The park is on an island with an active volcano that  is about to erupt. Hold on. Somebody had an idea to put an amusement park on an island with an active volcano?.  Yeah, it sounds as smart as having a zoo with gigantic man eating predators. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) a former executive with InGen is running a group that is trying to save the dinosaurs. She is contacted by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) who works for InGen's former founder's partner, Sir Benjamin Lockwood. (James Cromwell) She visits Lockwood at his mansion and also meets his granddaughter Maisie. (Isabella Sermon) They propose to Claire a way to save the dinosaurs by moving them to another island. She agrees and convinces Owen (Chris Pine, ... Chris Evans er I mean Chris Pratt) to join her. You see in the first movie they were love interests, now they are estranged. Oh and throw in Jeff Goldblum in a glorified cameo and fan service as Dr. ian Malcom. Anyway, the recovery team gets to the island and of course, all hell breaks loose. There are also some very interesting surprises.

Look, I can't say much about the ensemble's acting. It's not bad. It's actually good. But most of it is running in terror from dinosaurs or some actors becoming snacks for dinosaurs. Speaking of running, they got rid of Claire's high heels in the first movie. No sprinting from T-Rex in heels here. It's a running joke as there are scenes where the camera focuses on her shoes.

The screenplay by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly is the thing that keeps this film from being just another Jurassic Park movie where stupid people go to the park and get eaten by dinosaurs. It starts out banal but after the first surprise plot point, it gets interesting. You see author Michael Crichton's themes about man's arrogance in developing technology without limits is brought back in this film. The issues of greed, militarization of the dinosaurs and the ethics of cloning are raised. And hopefully, I'm not giving anything away here but I would have liked to spend more time with Sir Benjamin and Maisie. They should have cut the contrived scenes of Claire and Owen getting back together after being estranged.

The time not spent with Sir Benjamin and Maisie is a problem in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The subplot regarding them is fascinating. Unfortunately, it's reduced due to the need to have CGI dinosaurs rampaging around the screen. Director J.A. Bayona or the screenplay makes some mistakes here. First, he films many of the action scenes in the dark. Can't really see the dinosaurs. Second, some of the important action set pieces are indoors. They are not in big rooms. Nope. You got big ass velociraptors chasing people through tight hall ways. It's all about getting good look at the dinosaurs. Still, Bayona's need to flex his directing chops don't kill the movie.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is one fascinating movie. Interesting themes on the ethics of cloning are raised. And I love the direction of the franchise because it's getting away from the amusement park. The grade is B Plus.

This official trailer might have too much information. Go see the movie first.

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