Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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Photo Source: Universal Pictures

Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that’s about to erupt. They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinosaurs, while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet. – Universal Pictures

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was written by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly and directed by J. A. Bayona. Trevorrow and Connolly wrote the first one and Trevorrow also directed it. 

Like most children I loved dinosaurs, some grow out of it, I didn’t, part of me still thinks I should become a paleontologist (I’d probably be better at that than writing). My love of film and dinosaurs started with a little movie called Jurassic Park, maybe you’ve heard of it? The first movie I remember watching is Jurassic Park, it is safe to say I have a soft spot for it and all its subsequent sequels. Some have been critically acclaimed, some have not. Fallen Kingdom isn’t doing well with the critics, but I’m not a critic and I’m a bit biased.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is basically The Lost World with a volcano directed by a horror director and I loved most minutes and liked the remaining minutes. The Lost World does the island stuff quite will and the mainland stuff’s rather lackluster, Fallen Kingdom is the opposite, the island was fine but once they get off the island is when it kicked up a notch. The movie’s just more of the same, dinosaurs get loose and kill people, man wants to exploit dinosaur, and man creates an extremely dangerous hybrid dinosaur. There are super generic hammy characters who just exist to move the plot to where the script wants it to be. I get why critics don’t like this movie but it’s a goddamn blast and the directing alone can make up for any of those problems I just listed.

J.A. Bayona is a gift to the Jurassic Park franchise, he did something that has never been done before. Imagine your favorite horror movie, maybe something like Friday the 13th, Halloween or Nightmare on Elm Street. Now imagine instead of Jason, Michael Myers or Freddy it’s a T-rex or the new Indoraptor (more on that later). Bayona made dinosaurs scary again. Of course, Fallen Kingdom is a summer blockbuster so there’s giant action set pieces, like Chris Pratt running from lava, which was great and a lot of fun but it’s the little scenes that stick out.

The film opens very similar to the original Jurassic Park, it’s a cold open with some guys encountering some dinosaurs. The way Bayona used lightning in the scene and throughout the whole movie, conveyed the carnivorous dinosaurs as monstrous forces of nature than just zoo animals. This opening is just a sampling of what is to come, the last 30 minutes or so of the movie turns into a haunted house with dinosaurs and it was probably one the most enjoyable things I’ve ever experienced on the big screen. I never knew how much I wanted to see a dinosaur stalk and hunt people in a house like some crazed home invader until I saw this movie but it was fantastic.

Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom is a crazy good-looking movie, CGI has really come a long way. The dinosaurs look real, well actually not really because that’s not what dinosaurs looked like but you know what I mean. The CGI looked great but nothing beats practical effects and some of that was incorporated. There is a beautiful scene with Blue the raptor which is all practical. The cinematography and directing in this movie is top notch. I barely ever notice lightning and the use of shadows in movies but the way it was used in this movie was incredible. I touched on this above so I won’t gush over it anymore but it was so damn cool looking, to be blunt.

This movie is very well acted, you really can’t go wrong with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. There are some new additions to the film and all the roles were competently acted. Aside from Pratt and Howard, the only two stand outs for me were James Cromwell who played Benjamin Lockwood and his granddaughter Maisie played by Isabella Sermon. The main reason Cromwell stood out to me was because he played a good guy, just a nice old guy in a wheelchair. I feel like every time I see James Cromwell he plays a creepy old dude, who is a Nazi, a murderer and sometimes both. Benjamin Lockwood was John Hammond’s former business partner and he wants to help save the dinosaurs. His granddaughter Maisie might be my favorite character besides Blue. She is so darn cute and Sermon is a good actor. The things she did in the movie seemed so authentic, you know like stuff a little kid would do. Surprisingly Maisie plays an integral role in this movie and likely will in future installment.

The real stars of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are the dinosaurs. Fan favorites like Blue the Raptor and the T-Rex (the very one from JP and JW) are back and some never before seen ones are introduced. As a lover of dinosaurs, I couldn’t help but smile to myself seeing an Allosaurus, a Baryonyx, a Carnotaurus (this dinosaur plays a crucial role in the Lost World book), a Sinoceratops, and a Stygimoloch. Chris Pratt and a Stygimoloch share a very humorous and heroic action sequence. Of course, I can’t forget the new Indoraptor, a hybrid abomination of the Indominus rex and a Velociraptor. The Indoraptor is absolutely terrifying, it was engineered to kill and looks mean as hell. As someone who didn’t really care for the I-Rex, I really liked the Indoraptor. The Indoraptor looked cool was scary as hell and had a personality, a deadly combo.

Blue without a doubt is the best dinosaur and character in the movie. It’s wild how far we’ve come with raptors. They used to be the terrifying villains of the Jurassic Park movies and now they are the heroes. Seriously Blue is a goddamn action hero, she runs away from an explosion, obviously doesn’t look at it and saves a bunch of people. Blue is a giant lizard hero dog with razor sharp teeth that could kill anyone. The relationship that Blue and Owen have is one of the most enduring relationships I’ve ever seen on screen. I love that raptor and just wish I had my own.

This movie was a blast and I don’t get why people are hating on it. Yeah, it’s full of plot holes, scientific inaccuracies, hammy characters and a lack of character development but if you can get over the fact that it’s a movie about a zoo full of dinosaurs, I think you can get over it. It’s like people went into this movie expecting Citizen Kane, it’s a goddamn summer popcorn flick not an Oscar contender. The only appropriate criticism I can agree with is that Goldblum is wasted in this movie. Ian Malcolm is basically only in the trailers, a total waste. Other than that, this movie is a blast from start to finish and pushes the franchise into uncharted territory.

I give Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom an 8.5 out of 10, would watch again, in fact I just did (at the time I finished this, not when you are reading it).

“40 million is a slow Tuesday where I’m from.”

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