In 1993 I took my eight year old sister to see the original Jurassic Park on its opening weekend. To her, this was her first exposure to dinosaurs on the big screen and, even though I had read the novel and knew what to expect, I was as thrilled and delighted to see Michael Crichton’s world on the big screen. In a film that both frightened and intrigued her, she still talks about how exciting the movie was to her to this day some twenty five years later.
Now, five movies later, and with a few hiccups along the way, Jurassic Park is back again but now as a sequel to the 2015 sequel Jurassic World.
Starlord Chris Pratt and Gwen Stacy Bryce Dallas Howard return in Fallen Kingdom and, you’d be shocked to learn with al the bad press, it is actually pretty fun.
So the basic plotline is this: Duped into saving Dinosaurs (mostly Blue The Raptor) from a volcanic Isla Nublar, Owen Grady (Pratt), Claire Dearing (Howard) ( along with some young side characters) discover that the rescue mission is just a ploy to sell dinosaurs so that Eli Mills (Doctor Hammonds old partner’s new assistant) can make money to fund the weaponizing of dinosaurs with the help of Dr. Henry Wu, the original scientist who caused much of this from the start. Got all of that?
The story itself is a nice refreshing take on the Jurassic Park story. This time there is no Park, there is no starting a new park, there isn’t even a lost kid on the park, it is all about stopping the Dinosaurs from getting out into the larger world and preventing an insane rich guy from developing an evil mutant Dinosaur to use in war. This plot thread was touched on in Jurassic World with Vincent D’onofrio as the arms dealer but was pretty easy to ignore. Now it’s the plot of the whole second (5th?) film!
There is also a sub-plot where a little girl learns that she isn’t really who she thinks she is but she is mostly used to provide history between Benjamin Lockwood and Professor Hammond from the first film. I won’t spoil it for you but if you have half a brain, you’ll figure it out in the first few moments of interaction with the characters.
This is a CGI driven film. Although there are a ton of practical effects in use and overall the CGI is done admiralty, there are many moments where you can see the cartoon effects of the graphics. While it doesn’t happen often, it takes you out of the movie for a couple of moments. There is one particular moment with the films Dino-Villain, The Indoraptor, that was humorous but a little odd. In the scene, a mercenary named Ken Wheatley (played by Ted Levine) collects Dino Teeth for some reason. We see him collecting them, somewhat forcefully at points in the film and, when he comes across the caged Indorapter, he thinks, why not?
Shooting the creature with his pre-established tranquilizer gun, he enters it’s cage and begins the tooth extraction. We soon discover that the Indoraptor is pretty darn intelligent and it begins toying with him. Just as Wheatley looks away the dino smiles. Yes, you hear that right, it smiles. It is somewhat subtle and in the moment I did chuckle, but the I was like, ‘wait a minute, that made no sense. Dino’s dont smile.’ It took me a bit to realize that this wasn’t for me, but for the kids so that the next scene of the Indoraptor eating poor Ted Levine wouldn’t be so bad. Still, smiling dinosaurs. huh.
Everyone in this film played their part well, from Pratt being…well..Pratt to even the secondary characters, everyone was on par and seemed to really enjoy themselves in the process. There were even some actors I was surprised to see in it, Toby Jones, James Cromwell and even Jeff Goldblum got in on the action. Well the last one wasn’t so much of a surprise as it was already spoiled in the trailers but still, it was cool to see him in the film. He even got to say the title of the film paraphrasing the original movie ‘ Welcome to Jurassic World.’
The music was terrific, Michael Giacchino does a great job utilizing John Williams’ original score but with some of his own flair mixed in for good measure. There was not a moment where the score felt forced or overpowering, in fact it was perfectly melded with the action and dialogue throughout.
Where do we go from here?
We are in serious spoiler territory now so, consider this your warning.
At the end of the film the Dino’s escape. I mean like there are now legit dinos all over the world, some wild and some purchased by nefarious people who plan to use them for their evil doings. According to Universal, Jurassic World is a trilogy, so what could they do next? I have some ideas on that.
Well it would be a good old fashioned Dino-roundup. They could build a larger world and include the classic City Slickers films into the franchise. Imagine, Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby are back and this time they have to wrangle up a T-Rex before the dino eats a small country town. We could even toss in Kevin Bacon since he had some similar experience with giant worms in Tremors!
Maybe we could call up a group of mercenaries who are sent into the jungle to find the last of the Raptors only to learn that the hunters are the ones being hunted. We could bring back the ultimate 80’s action hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger and pit him against something he has never faced on the big screen, Dinosaurs!
Or we could just make another movie about Dinos wreaking havoc somewhere in the world and the adventurous due of Pratt and Howard have to save the day…again. hey, it’s worked twice, why not a third time?
With the insane plot and ridiculous sequels aside, one thing that really reminded me why this film exists was the family sitting next to us. A mother and her two children came in and the young boy, maybe six years of age, was enthralled with every minute of the film, he was cheering on blue and gasping as the Indorapter attacked the heroes, this kid was engaged and it reminded me of a certain 8 year old sister 25 years ago who loved that film just as much. While we can enjoy them, films like this are for a new generation, and that is beyond cool.
So, in all seriousness, all in all Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom was a fun summer blockbuster. Was it meant to be an award winning film? No, but damn was it a fun ride. Go see it if you love dinosaurs on the big screen and can check your critical mind at the door. It was worth every penny and I look forward to seeing it again when it comes out on home release format.
Late To The Game 6/23/2018
Thank you for reading today. I hope you enjoyed the review. If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also a complete review of Star Trek Discovery. We also have a fun Retro TV Review series in which we are currently reviewing the entire Star Trek The Next Generation Series, episode by episode.
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