Monday, July 2, 2018

[Review] Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn't just the most ridiculously plotted and over-the-top installments in the Jurassic-verse thus far, but it's also one of the most ridiculously plotted and over-the-top blockbusters in recent memory. And you know what? It's mighty, dumb fun.

It's been three years since the destruction of Jurassic World, and the island is on the verge if completely being obliterated by volcanic eruptions. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return for a dangerous mission in order to save the majestic dinosaurs from their demise and transport them to a new sanctuary where they'll be unbothered. Sound impossible? You'd guess right.

It's as if a script for Dino Noah's Ark landed in director J.A. Bayona's (The Orphanage, A Monster Calls) lap and he said "Screw it, let's go all the way." Any shred of subtlety or adherence to hypothetical nature or science is tossed out the window and dinosaurs are tossed INTO windows. Seriously, the beasts run wild inside someone's mansion here. There's even a dinosaur auction in this movie where the creatures are introduced like weaponous runway models. Sound ridiculous? You'd be right.

But even with these potential turn-offs, the film begins with a genuinely great opening scene -- which sees a crew of mechanics (on land and underwater) attempt to retrieve some specimens from the island. It's stormy. Pounding rain. Bushes are rustling. And the sea is filled with very, very big shadows. As we'd expect, things don't end well for these guys, but it also happens to be in a way that is unexpected. And welp, that's about as close as the film gets to the feeling of Steven Spielberg's awe-inspiring masterpiece that started it all. Fallen Kingdom abandons the What Ifs and goes straight to the Why Nots. And for as bombastic as it is, there's something undeniably giddy about the spectacle of seeing Chris Pratt helplessly run down the side of a mountain while flaming lava and multiple species of dinosaurs follow behind him. You just have to roll with it. Newcomers Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda add a spike of youthful exuberance to the cast, and Smith's deeply nerdy IT character is pretty hilarious as he lets out some glorious high-pitched screams along the way.

And see, while the dinosaurs are vicious and powerful, they are not the villains here. The villains are the shady business heads (Timothy Spall) who plan to get their hands in on the action and exploit the safety of the dinosaurs and the safety of the world for billions. In turn, there are some really satisfying scenes of greedy and vile capitalists getting their limbs torn off and stomped on. To me, that makes Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom worth the ticket price.

( 7.5/10 )

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