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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - 2018

Director(s): J.A. Bayona

Writer(s): Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow (screenplay) / Michael Crichton (characters)

Cinematography by: Oscar Faura

Editor(s): Bernat Vilaplana

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda and Toby Jones

Synopsis: When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event (IMDB).

Review:

Back in 2015, I walked out of the Jurassic World screening confused and questioning everything I hold true. I was blown away at how boring, nonsensical, illogical and repetitive the experience was, but my inner circle and the reception overall was overwhelmingly positive. I found myself hearing people calling it incredible or the best sequel to the original and I was just staring at them confused, asking myself; “did I completely lose my ability to distinguish sarcasm?” Now that the excitement washed away the clear majority has shifted gears and JW is mainly perceived as campy and underwhelming.

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So, going into this one I wanted to have fun. Honestly, I did. I didn’t want to repeat my frustrating experience of the first World so instead of thinking it was a sequel to one of the best movies ever made, Jurassic Park, I came in with the mindset that it’s a high budget Sharknado-ish movie. Did it work? A little. Did I have fun? Yeah, but at the expense of the movie. Let’s talk about it.

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The story is a rethread of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, to the point that if it wasn’t a “continuation” of the series with old Dr. Ian Malcolm appearing in the movie, I would call it a reboot. Our heroes are recruited into going back to the island under the guise of saving the dinos only to be bamboozled by the big bad private military hired by the big bad rich guy. Rich guys always be up to no good. So now it’s up to our heroes to save the day. And there are some dino-fights here and there. And hiding from dinos that claim to be able to smell you from miles and miles away but if there is an object in between you guys he stands no chance. And our heroes kind of win in the end… “spoilers”.

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This time around director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls) was brought on board to helm the project, because Colin Trevorrrow was tapped to film a Star Wars movie. While the movie visually at times is far superior to its predecessor, thanks in part to the use of practical effects, it feels a bit disjointed. I don’t know if I can call this movie a “fun” movie, compared to the first movie. Maybe you can get away with calling the first one “dumb fun”, but this one was slow, dark and at times very sad in how it handled the death of many dinosaurs. I wouldn’t mind if the entire movie was this tone and it was taken to a completely different direction, but the “jokes” and the sheer absurdity of certain sequences just created a tonal clash that doesn’t allow the audience buy either of the directions the movie wants you to go down.

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Quick note: there is a sequence when they are leaving the island for the last time and they are watching the lava and the smoke cover the island that took my wife and me by surprise. You can see the hand of a great director like Bayona guiding this stand-out scene.

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Now, when I said above that I had fun during my screening, I meant that I had fun making fun of this movie with my wife. There are moments that I genuinely laughed out loud at what I was seeing on the screen. There is a moment where Blue, our main raptor, jumps through a glass wall just in time as the lab explodes behind her, because she knew it was about to explode. There is an auction scene where the bad guys, all dressed in black because how else would we know they are bad guys, sit in chairs as the dinos are paraded in front of them. It looks like a fashion show. I was expecting Dr. Henry Wu to walk-out in the end so the audience can clap at his new summer line. Talking about the new line, we have a new dino in this movie called “something raptor” and it has a GOLD stripe on his sides. Opposed to the BLUE stripes of Blue in the previous movie. I guess Dr. Wu is taking a page from Apple and releasing the new products with colors you couldn’t get in the previous model (joke credit: Wife) or the Pokémon series that get a color-coded distinction each time a new version pops-up. There are so many convenient coincidences throughout the runtime that save our heroes that it’s just mindboggling. I could go on, but I feel that I’m just beating a dead fossil.  

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Quick note: this movie has a “twist” that is so unnecessary and leads to one of the funniest lines and lines deliveries I have heard in a long time. I literally just texted it to my wife as I wrote this and she started laughing.

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As for the acting, it’s fine for what they got. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt start and end with the exact story beats from the last one. With the exception that Dallas Howard this time around wants to save the dinos and not the profit margin of the park. She recruits him, they have flirty yet confrontational vibes, he saves her a couple of times and in the end, they are romantic. At least Pratt seems to be having a blast playing this Indiana Jones type characters. The “comedic” relief, the scared nerd, of this movie couldn’t be more predictable and annoying, making me root for the dinos or the private military whenever he was in danger. And Dr. Ian Malcom aka Jeff “Umm” Goldblum was given more to do in his Apartments.com commercials than in this movie. Another movie that DARES waste the talents of Sir Goldblum.

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 Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is not the type of movie I like. Honestly, I say that without a shadow of a doubt. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t like it. As I write this the Rotten Tomatoes score sits at around 50%, so you literally have a 50/50 chance of liking this movie. And if you somehow managed to have a good time at the movie theaters with all the troubles we are facing in the world, I’m extremely happy for you because that’s what I wanted when I went into my screening. Bad guys wear black, rich guys are evil, nerds get scared, raptors are action bad-asses and Blue is better than Gold, those are the lessons that I took from my screening. Dino fashion shows is why I love movies.

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Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is playing in theaters. Life didn’t find a way.

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