Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the fifth film in the Jurassic Park franchise that started in 1993, has a lot of “been there, done that” moments. I mean, how many different ways can a dinosaur chase its food around a desk? Nevertheless, this latest outing does have plenty of exciting new thrills to keep action fans happy.
If you are like me, you don’t know a Stygimoloch from Shinola (I prefer my dinosaurs being pummeled by gigantic apes), but I do know pseudo-science when I see it, and this movie has a lot of it. It also has a lot of heavy-handed symbolism and corporate bad guys who want to utilize the dinosaurs for their own nefarious needs. (Yawn!)
It feels like Fallen Kingdom has two speeds: First-gear where we have to try to stay awake through big-business dealings and lectures from Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) about the “chaos theory” (or whatever he’s calling it these days); and then fifth-gear where you are suddenly catapulted to two-hundred miles per hour and you are holding on for dear life and you don’t even have time to think about how those other three gears were ground through or skipped altogether.
But that fifth-gear is a helluva lot of fun – so maybe we’ll forgive all that other low-grade nonsense – maybe forgive it a little bit.
This Jurassic journey takes us back to the island of Isla Nublar, which is getting ready to go bye-bye when its volcanic core becomes active. A rescue team, which includes Jurassic World’s previous manager, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and dinosaur wrangler, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), is sent in to save the beasts; but their efforts are cut short when a nasty mercenary (Ted Levine) reveals the real nature of their mission – bringing the dinosaurs back to civilization and selling them on the black market.
The movie is constantly changing gears, but the edge-of-your-seat action sequence that sees our heroes escaping the island in the midst of the volcanic eruption is worth the price of admission alone. I honestly don’t know how they could insert one more obstacle into our heroes’ path. Maybe give the dinosaurs chainsaws?
At one point the film’s visual narrative veers into gothic horror territory, which is a hoot (or whatever noise those little Gallimimus chicken-dino-critters make), even though getting to that point means enduring an often bumpy road.
If you are a true Jurassic nerd, I think there is some minutia happening here that is way above we Flintstone fans’ heads. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I’m still scratching my head about some of this.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is written by Jurassic World’s scribes, Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow (who also directed Jurassic World), but it is directed by J.A. Bayona, who did A Monster Calls (my favorite film of 2016.) The writing, directing and editing all seem rather clunky in this film – but the running from dinosaurs stuff is right on the money.
This film is much too intense for most young kids, but for the rest of us who are looking for a fun, Saturday morning, popcorn-munching, monster movie, you’re going to be mostly satisfied. GRADE: 6.5/10
Photos Copyright © Universal Pictures 2018