Has The Series Fallen To Extinction?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Poster

 

Dinosaurs continue to be the fascinating topic of the prehistorical world and with it the carnage that comes with these gigantic beasts. In the 90’s Jurassic Park reigned supreme in this genre, and brought Crichton’s novel to life in ways we could not imagine.  Nearly three decades later, the technology continues to push the dinosaurs animation to new heights and potentially make the carnage all the sweeter.  Robbie K here, bringing another review on the last silver screen smash to grace the theaters this week.  Let’s get started as I review:

 

Movie:  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

 

Director:

J.A. Bayona

Writers:

Derek Connolly,  Colin Trevorrow

 

Stars:

Chris Pratt,  Bryce Dallas Howard,  Rafe Spall

 

 

LIKES:

 

Animation:  Let’s face it, the 90’s brought an incredible baseline of work, and the advancements in animation make these extinct creatures shine like no other. Computer animation brings fluid movements of running, mangling, and hunting, while the robotics creates the realistic sheen that hooks you in. A nice balance between the two styles really crafts the piece together.

 

The Acting:  Pratt is still great, a blend of sarcasm meeting heroic cowboy that sharpens him into a great lead to keep the series alive.  Howard dropped most of the edgy, monotonous tone (and the heels) and with it brings that more dynamic, caring approach to life to round out the roguish nature of Pratt.  As for the rest of the crew, they play their parts well, though I can’t say they were the best approaches direction of the characters I anticipated, primarily Toby Joneswho somehow played a stiff, one dimensional character with little bite.

 

The Pace:  Like the stampeding herd in the trailer, the movie moves at a good pace, always moving and at times trying to keep the action/suspense nature alive.  It shifts easily from one dynamic to another, attempting to keep the drama down and the chaos high.

 

More Dinosaurs:  The movie manages to expand their collection of thunder lizards to terrorize and amaze.  Both carnivores and herbivores will stomp into the group with majestic prowess, or perhaps stalk in with nightmarish grins as they attempt to obtain their next meal.  Regardless, the repertoire is impressive and many get their shining moment to actually warrant their inclusion.

 

The Originality of New Direction:  We’ve understood the cliché of Jurassic Park movies and how a band gets put on an island, forced to pit their instincts against the prehistoric predators. Jurassic World 2 decides to deviate from it and take a more moral dilemma approach.  The movie honestly has a lot more discussion of ethics vs business, mercy vs. survival, and selective vs. global compassion.  Much of the movie is geared towards these tug at your heart issues and trying to pick a side of the two extremes.  While political, the movie will certainly stir up emotions you might not expect in this series.

 

The Character Development: Surprisingly, Jurassic World 2 manages to beef up the character development of some of its leading groups.  Chris Pratt’s Owen really gets under the microscope to examine the connections to Blue, bringing with it a deeper connection to one who was so shallow in the previous installment.  As for Claire… she too gets a little more depth, but surprisingly took the back seat in this movie compared to Pratt, I guess her family was the driving point for evolving, and without them she lacks the motivation.  As for the rest of the crew, there are some decent looks into their lives, but haven’t quite gotten to the multiple layers you might want in a leading role.

 

The Nostalgia: Got to love when your childhood memories and references come back into the screen, and this installment is happy to bring back a few of these moments to have you smiling.  They haven’t quite mastered showing some of the bigger, iconic references, but they got enough for a good start.

 

 

DISLIKES:

 

The New Characters:  I don’t know whose direction or decisions it was, but the new characters are a little too modernized for my taste.  Very emotional, angsty characters, the younger cast is a bit too extreme for me and felt like a forced comedic ploy that failed to pick up steam.  The villains themselves lacked much dimension as well, falling into stereotypical, boastful blowhards who have little beyond bragging rights.  Why such extremes?  I don’t know, but they failed to impress me given some of the other baddies to infiltrate the parks.

 

The Twist:  There are a number of these in this film, but one in particular about a character will bring with it a new level of soap opera dynamics.  By doing this they help establish some more motifs to all the madness at hand, but it really didn’t stand and hold place in a movie about creating and unleashing the torrent of dinosaurs.  Sorry guys uniqueness gets an A+, but in the grand schemes not needed.

 

Predictable/Pushed carnage: Since Lost World, the series has been more about the kills as the main source of thrills.  Jurassic World and World 2 were still on that gimmick, not so much setting it up to go with the suspense and storytelling element.  The movie sets up obvious ploys for killing and often relying on stupidity and foreshadowing to set up their kills with little regards to necessity.  I miss the suspense of that first movie and grow tired of the focus of how to make it gore fest, no matter how justified they are.

 

The Inhumane Moments: The director wanted to elicit emotional responses and he managed to succeed very well.  However, in this installment, those moments are sometimes a little too inhumane for my taste and a little unnecessary at times.  Fallen Kingdom is going to continue passing the baton of who the real monsters are, but for me this director has a little more sadistic side to the cinematography and plot elements he wants to show. Being an animal lover, no matter how savage they are, it was hard to see some of these moments come to fruition and enjoy the film.  If you’re like me, steel yourself, because there are going to be some over the top moments to punch you hard and leave you feeling depressed.

 

Didn’t Feel Jurassic: The movie held so much potential for another island adventure that showed danger, mystery, and more of that great survival of the fittest we thrive on in the series.  However, this part was rushed, simplified, and very lacking until the big run from the volcano scene.  The movie missed all that suspenseful, thrilling moments for the ethical debates, and the though the second act turned out stronger than I expected, it still didn’t hold the elements (or the bite) of the movie I longed for.

 

The VERDICT:

 

            In truth, Jurassic World 2 is a decent sequel that tries out some new things to try and evolve the dinosaurs’ reign on the silver screen. Given the new morale dilemmas, the character development and increase in gimmicks like more dinosaurs and better animation, the movie is obviously worth the trip to the theater.  However, the movie still does not quite have the feel of the movies proceeding it, lacking the thrilling adventure of defying debt, for more soap opera and convoluted antics.  In addition, the twist and heartbreaking moments may deter you from enjoying the movie at full potential.  As for it being appropriate for kids… it depends on their ability to handle the cruel treatment of animals, adult themes, and darker moments (Endoraptor is nightmare inducing) that are often loud.  So targeted age is probably 12 and up.

 

My scores are:

 

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0

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