I went to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom today–
I have been generally a fan of the Jurassic Park/World franchise since its inception– loved the first movie, enjoyed the second and third films, even though they were not nearly at the same level, and really liked the first Jurassic World film, despite having to give my suspension of disbelief an extra lube job just to keep up.
This time around, though– well, my poor suspension may have busted its torsion bars. To put it succinctly, this is a stupid movie.
Not that Chris Pratt, who I generally love in everything I see him in, didn’t do his best. Ditto for Bryce Dallas Howard. I lay none of the blame for this eyesore at their feet. No, in this instance I can only suppose the director (J.A. Bayona) and the writers (Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow) bear the heavy responsibility for hatching this turkey (or turkey buzzard).
Oh, where do I start?
Oops, almost forgot…..
Put simply, what with the exploding volcano (which was seen in the trailer) and the standard corporate villain planning to market rescued dinos to international scumbags, the movie exhibits the standard sequel weaknesses of amping up the action to ridiculous heights while recycling the core conflict. I particularly have a pet-peeve about the volcano, which, like the one in Dante’s Peak, exhibits traits that do not usually go together, i.e., free-flowing magma and peak-destroying magmatic explosions. It makes me grind my teeth–
- Owen (Chris Pratt) outruns (almost) a pyroclastic flow. And lives to tell about it. Without even getting singed. SPUNG!
- The characters (or the writers) think they can survive a pyroclastic flow by diving into the sea. Wrong– pyroclastic flows can cross extensive bodies of water, on a layer of super-heated steam. Parbroiled, anyone?
Okay, enough about the volcano– as irritating as I found it, it’s not even the core problem with the movie. Moving on–
- The idea that you could weaponize dinosaurs in some useful manner for modern warfare is a major motivator for the bad guy (Eli Mills/Rafe Spall). Please. A mechanized infantry platoon would chop any dinosaur you care to name, including the vicious hybrid who’s the main dino baddie in this flick, into little quivering dino cubes. It’s just silly (and, yes, it was silly in the first Jurassic World, too, they just didn’t play it up as much).
- There are vague references to “pharmaceutical uses” for the dinosaurs as an additional motivation for the bad guys, but its never elaborated on.
- Claire’s evolution (or is it devolution?) from corporate hotshot all about exploiting the dinosaurs to a save-the-dinosaurs activist just hit me wrong. Granted, the events of the first film would have jarred anybody, but I’m not sure I’m buying this.
- Blue, the surviving velociraptor from Jurassic World, is now a leading character and so smart I expected her to start doing arithmetic, like a latter-day Trigger the Wonder Horse. It got really irritating.
- Why in hell, when you’re trying to escape a vicious predator with better senses than you, would you turn off the lights? Oh, yeah, to heighten the tension. Screw that, leave the lights on, I want to see where the bastard is.
- Why, why, why would a girl (Maisie Lockwood/Isabella Sermon) smart and resourceful enough to elude the main villain for good portion of the film, run to her room and jump in bed to hide from the hybrid dinosaur? If she were five, maybe, but this kid is a pretty sharp ten-year old, or thereabouts. It was another example of dumb things being added to the film to artificially pump up the tension.
- About that kid– there is a revelation about her that made me suddenly sit up, all interested– and then they do nothing with it. I mean, at that point I would have watched a film just about the kid. And no, I’m not going to tell you what it was, although I bet a lot of people guessed it ahead of time. A missed opportunity.
- The final fight against the hybrid, which takes place in and around and on top (?) of the mansion/laboratory of Benjamin Lockwood, a partner of John Hammond (who, btw, I don’t remember ever being mentioned in any of the previous films). How does a dinosaur weighing probably two or three tons get on the roof of a mansion, anyway?
- And then a final bit where Claire seems to target Owen with a laser-guided dart gun, only it’s to trick the hybrid, but Owen has to get past the hybrid to make it step on to a glass roof so it would fall through, only it doesn’t, and then Blue saves the day by jumping on the hybrid, which falls and gets impaled on a triceratops horn, and I didn’t really understand how all of that fit together. It was so confusing I had a passing thought that Claire was about to betray Owen. Bleh.
- What is with the screaming tech nerd? Shit….
- The number of people doing positively stupid things just so they can end up as dino chow is stunning. Granted, in general the Jurassic movies depend on the humans being seriously mentally impaired in the presence of dinosaurs, but it was really bad in this film. Really bad. It made me wonder which was the intelligent species
In short, and in general, a disappointment. Not that I had particularly high expectations going in, given the reviews beforehand, but the actuality fell short of even those. Artificially pumped-up danger, nonsensical character actions, and same-old, been-there bad guys– all of it mashed together and not particularly well-seasoned, it was a dish for which I lost my appetite about halfway through. Too bad, because it had two of my favorite things– dinosaurs and exploding volcanoes. How do you mess that up?