Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom - This Movie Doesn't Make It To Rocks
Dir: J A Bayona
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldbum, Ralf Spall, Toby Jones, James Cromwell, Isabella Sermon, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Some Dinosaurs
What is it about second age Jurassic movies that fails to deliver? The Lost World wasn’t a patch on the original Park (and remains one of Spielberg’s all time weakest movies.) And now here comes Fallen Kingdom, a movie that pales by comparison to the pure entertainment value of the first World-view.
Maybe it lies with the humans – the script here by guardians of this current trilogy Colin Treverrow and Derek Connelly is certainly more concerned with adding convolution upon convolution than it is delivering thrills, chills or, indeed, spills.
Or maybe it lies with the dinos themselves? Ever since T Rex showed up to save the day last time out (an idea so audacious and just plain daft that it worked remarkably well), or the ever present Blue this time out, the bad guys have sort of become the good guys. And that’s made them – brace yourself – ‘cute.” Evolutionary killing machines should never be “cute”! Either way, the dinos are clearly robbed of their power here and therefore the film is equally robbed of its tension. Which is a very sad thing to say given the previous work of franchise newbie director Bayonsa, a master of terror creeping and suspense mounting, who here just throws in some capable set pieces that keep things moving along, but never moving up. The park may well be gone – but so is the thrill of these movies. (It's surely no coincidence that the big game hunter here seeks to extract a tooth from all the dinos he captures - they are toothless beasts in many ways.)
And there’s not enough Goldblum! (But is there ever enough Goldblum?)
Chris Pratt also seems to have left his charm in his Star Lord pants, as he returns as raptor whisperer Owen, who at one point is pointedly labelled “beefcake” and then later proceeds to go all action hero taking out a whole team of highly trained mercenaries. Where the fuck did that come from? He’s back with Howard – as vapid as before but this time in sensible shoes at least – at first to rescue the dinos from extinction once more, via a volcano. And then form British actors inevitably playing the super creeps bad guys, replete with their dodgiest of generic American accents – yes, Spall and Jones, we mean you – and you’re both wasted here.
And then the plot just keeps getting weirder. All the dinos are taken to a large rambling country estate on the mainland, where a high tech auction is suddenly set out for all the bad men in the world ever (a Russian in the front row, obviously), who plan to weaponise the dinos, make them into pets, give them as gifts, turn them into handbags – never really explained. Millions of dollars pass hands – but considerably less than the average Picasso goes for at auction these days, which seems a little unfair given the unique nature of a real life dinosaur (or maybe it’s just out of date.) And then – it just gets weirder! – turns out these guys have just built their own super brutal all new dinosaur – the Indoraptor, who you really wouldn’t want to escape. But does. And then – we said it got weirder! – Spall drops some info about human cloning with the subtlety of an atom bomb – and every one ignores it! At least until the next movie (bar a near-final close up on one character’s eyes – now looking decidedly untrustworthy.)
Things do improve in the final act as the big bad new dinosaur gets to run around the house, which is at least something we haven’t seen before. But still, Bayona manages to bring little or no sense of fear to it, and very little in the way of tension, something the man has brought in spades to every other movie he’s ever made. So why not here? Maybe the franchise simply no longer has anything to be scared of, just large animatronics to coo over and pet?
Oh – and another thing – Michael Giacchino’s score makes scant use of John Williams’ brilliant and much loved theme. Which is a huge mistake.
If this is the new World order, it’s a disappointing place to visit, let alone live there.
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