Sunday, July 1, 2018

Movie Review: Jurassic World - Fallen Kingdom

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: A couple of scenes are fun
Cons: The rest of the movie is a mess.
The Bottom Line:
This dino movie
Just sets up a franchise change
Really worth skipping

“A Rescue Op, Save the Dinosaurs from an Island that’s about to Explode.  What Could Go Wrong?”

I was one of those who walked out of Jurassic World three years ago with a huge grin on my face looking forward to any potential sequels.  Yet when I started seeing the previews for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, I began to be concerned.  Still, I went into the movie hoping to really enjoy it.  I was sadly disappointed.

This movie finds Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) attempting to win Congressional funding to save the dinosaurs.  That’s because the volcano that formed the basis of Isla Nublar, the island where the Jurassic World park was located, has become active again and is getting ready to explode, which would kill all the dinosaurs still living on the island.  While Congress doesn’t come through, she does get a very intriguing offer from Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), Hammond’s old business partner.  He wants to relocate at least 11 of the dinosaur species, including the raptor Blue.  But to do that, they need Owen’s help.  Will Owen (Chris Pratt) help?  Are things as they seem?

Let’s start out with strike one.  You’ll notice how many disaster movies I’ve reviewed over the years.  It’s a genre I find rather boring, actually, but I was willing to give this movie a chance since it was a Jurassic Park movie, and it could add a fun extra element to the story.

Then there’s strike two, the worst part of any of the previous Jurassic Park movies was bringing the T-Rex to San Diego in The Lost World.  The previews made it obvious we were going to see dinosaurs in populated areas again.  I was hoping they would provide a good story here.

My faith that these elements would be overcome was wasted.  Instead, we get a paint by numbers entry in the franchise, including a fearsome new monster that stalks the characters.  Meanwhile, the Raptors, in the form of Blue, complete their transformation from ultimate villain in the early chapters in the franchise to hero.  I’m still waiting for them to get dialogue in English.  Maybe that’s next.

And don’t be fooled, there will be a sequel.  In fact, that might be my biggest frustration with the movie period.  It was obvious they wanted to move the franchise into a new direction, and to do that, they had to spend this movie setting up the changes, which makes for a boring movie.  Here’s the bigger problem, I don’t like the direction they are going.

Furthermore, to move the franchise in this direction, they had to have the characters do extremely stupid things.  We’re talking about characters who are way too stupid to live.  Sadly, some of them do.

It might have helped if the characters were better developed.  Even Claire and Owen, the only two returning characters from the previous movie, are flat here.  All the characters are just props to move the story around.  And please don’t misunderstand, I’m not blaming the actors; the fault here is fully with the writers.  Any time the actors do get a little personality to play with, they hit it out of the park.  But the script they were given is so focused on plot that they are short changed.  It was fun to see Jeff Goldblum’s cameo as Dr. Ian Malcom, and that’s really all he got – a cameo.

In fact, the emphasis is so much on plot that we don’t even get much in the way of dinosaur attacks.  Oh, there are some chases in the second half of the movie, but they aren’t really that well done.  I wasn’t on the edge of my seat like I normally am in these films.  Outside of one long chase, the scenes we do have are pretty short lived.  There isn’t time since we have to get on with the story – I mean set up for the next movie.  And the best scenes or moments were spoiled in the previews anyway.  I mean, seriously, what were they thinking when they produced them?

The special effects, as always, continue to impress, although so much of the movie takes place at night and during rain storms that they aren’t as impressive as they could be.

There were a few scenes I enjoyed, and one in particular made me smile.  But seriously, for a two-hour movie, I expected a whole lot more.

If you are interested, be sure to stick around through the credits since there is a very, very small scene at the end.  Like less than 30 seconds.

I’m a fan of the franchise, so I knew I had to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom no matter what the previews made me think.  But this is a movie to wait until it hits home video or TV.  There is no reason to rush to the theater to see it.

1 comment:

  1. Shame about the movie. I too am a fan of both Crichton books and the first movie.