Review – Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom (2018)

by Armando Vanegas

Jurassic Park was such a seminal movie for many people in the 90’s as it managed to capture imagination, thrills, and suspense in such an unexpected way thanks to the skillful direction of Steven Spielberg. It also managed to be a great one off movie but because money is a thing, Hollywood keeps wanting to do more, which is why Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom exists.

A lot of people claim these Jurassic Park/World movies are dumb and yeah, they definitely are. But the thing that people always presume is that being dumb is a bad thing and it doesn’t have to be. Granted, these series of movies have always been pushing everyone’s suspension of belief to new heights. But, when you think about it, the idea of dinosaurs coming back to life is a silly idea on its own, but the original Jurassic Park at least made a point to present why this wasn’t a great idea. But that hasn’t stopped so many of the characters from repeating the ideas and mistakes in the subsequent movies. In a way, it kind of makes sense in that they present how sometimes things can be cyclical and also rich people are willing to have extravagant ideas they claim to be ambitious, that are also idiotic. A lot of rich people (but not all) might be out of touch with reality and as a result, they find the idea of using genetically engineered dinosaurs for profit as a good idea and they think that they will be the exception of the rule. At least, that’s what I bring to these movies that help me overlook the inherent stupidity of the original movie’s premise that has continued through the franchise. This is something that’s always been interesting about this series has always scratched the surface of even though they don’t get too in depth with it, including this movie. Still, it offers a valid reason for the existence of these movies as to why there’s still dinosaurs and people like those. What could be a satiric look on the extravagant life of the rich and how they spend their money with no regard of the risk of destroying the lives of classes beneath them is instead a silly yet fun B-movie that’s worth a trip to the theater.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return as Owen and Claire, respectively, the two former employees of Jurassic World who get involved in a new plan to save the dinosaurs. When Claire has found a job with a group fighting for dinosaur rights, she recruits Owen to help her find a way to get the dinosaurs off the island where the abandoned Jurassic World is located after it’s predicted that a volcano is about to go off, endangering the lives of these creatures. Pratt and Howard give good performances, but I still don’t buy them as a couple in any way. This is fortunately used very little throughout the movie. I didn’t mind them in general as they’re interesting enough characters to anchor the movie as far as the human characters go. They also come across a group of mercenaries that have their own plans for it and money plays a role yet again. It was interesting to see Ted Levine as one of the mercenaries and while he doesn’t get to do much, he has a good time chewing scenery. Also along for the ride are two of Claire’s coworkers. One is Zia, played by Daniella Pineda, a scientist who’s dedicated to helping the dinos as much as possible, who was a nice addition to the movie. The other is Franklin, a nerdy hacker who seems to be afraid of everything and barely figures into the plot, other than for some plot conveniences and comic relief, which the actor, Justice Smith, handles okay. The movie also manages to introduce yet another little kid in the form of a young girl named Maisie that gets in the middle of all the chaos going as Owen, Claire, and the rest of the team trying to rescue the dinosaurs. Played by Isabella Sermon, she’s a solid child actress and was pretty good with the material she was given. Blue, the dinosaur from the last movie, has returned and has to be rescued until she gets in some trouble that occurs during her rescue. I always liked the relationship between her and Pratt as it showed how one of the creatures can develop a relationship with someone outside of their species. They utilize her well and she gets enough to do. There’s also a bunch of other dinosaurs that show up and cause a lot of trouble as always. The T-Rex again has to show up and have its badass moment just because the movie requires it, but it still works.

Director J.A. Bayona does a solid job in creating tension and suspense in the movie. Not since the first movie have there been such well crafted moments that evoke the horror movie franchise that could and should become if this franchise wants to keep going. The best parts are when the dinos are seen as a threat because that’s why the first movie worked so well. Yes, dinosaurs can be cool but the original was effective at showing how they can also have the ability to take away life aside from proving it finds a way. They kind of touch on that somewhat but not enough. Jeff Goldblum’s appearance as Ian Malcolm was interesting in this regard because he’s someone who has experienced what these creatures can do and basically offers the most rational argument during a Senate hearing for why they should be sacrificed for the good of mankind. It’s the rare time when things don’t seem to be in black and white, which I appreciated.

It’s often very dumb, but in a good way. I was always entertained by what was going on and it has a good pace to the all the action going on screen. Even if there was a better movie going on beneath, it’s good at being the kind of big screen action movie that it’s forced to be. There’s some good levity to things going on and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. All the villains, while generic, are enough to inspire a few jeers with all the mustache twirling going on. If it was able to embrace the silliness as far as the plot goes like its many copycats do, it would be cool if they want to keep it going. It would at least give these movies more of a distinctive flavor. I didn’t even mind when it went to some really ridiculous directions especially by the third act. I’m still curious where they go with that because it’s at least different even if it had me shaking my head. It’s a fun time at the movies, if you’re willing to let yourself do so as it makes for an entertaining summer blockbuster with some solid set-pieces and successful moments of tension.

I am giving Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom a 3 out of 5 Hairpieces!

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