“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Just because a reboot to an iconic franchise scores $1.6 billion at the box office, that doesn’t mean we need a sequel. Case and point – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Isla Nublar is on the verge of an impending volcanic eruption. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) reunites with Owen (Chris Pratt) to lead a rescue operation and retrieve the dinosaurs. Things go further south when they’re double crossed and find that the operation’s financier Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) wants to auction the dinosaurs to arms dealers.

Five movies into the series and have we learned nothing about cloning dinosaurs? Have we not learned to avoid a dinosaur island? Have we learned to not bring dinosaurs home? Fallen Kingdom is a redundant sequel filled with stupid characters that make bad decisions.

Jurassic World was my first review on Donttalkaboutmovies and I found that movie great entertainment. The jokes were funny, the characters were fleshed out, and it had a dumb B-movie spin that embraced the sci-fi, disaster, and monster genre tropes. Fallen Kingdom is a misfire.  Underdeveloped characters screaming every five minutes isn’t funny or compelling. However, director JA Bayona does embrace the genre tropes occasionally.

Fallen Kingdom is beautifully shot and filled with some terrific visuals, utilizing shadows. The opening five minutes is a thrilling homage to Jaws and Jurassic Park that features one of the funniest dinosaur kills in the franchise. Bayona understands dark humor, as there are a few more moments scattered throughout the film. Though, the praise for Fallen Kingdom is obviously minimial.

Between Boyna’s directing and Colin Trevorrow’s script, both are more concerned with paying homage to the first two Jurassic Park films than making their own film. After seeing callbacks to the T-Rex entrance and the velociraptor kitchen sequences in Jurassic Park and the dinosaur breakout scene in The Lost World, I wanted to scream, “WE GET IT!”

The filmmakers also can’t decide if they wanted to make an artistic hard sci-fi film, a B-horror movie, or a continuation of Jurassic World, resulting in severe pacing and tonal inconsistencies. There’s a human clone subplot that feels like a separate movie and pretentiously concludes to set up a third installment.

Performance wise, Fallen Kingdom is a mixed bag. Pratt and Howard both give serviceable performances and have decent chemistry. James Cromwell delivers a solid performance as John Hammond’s dying partner, but is shamefully underused. The great character actor Toby Jones has fun as a sleazy auctioneer, but I can’t tell if he was intentionally trying to do a Gary Busey impression.

We have one more Jurassic World film due for release in 2021. Afterwards, here’s hoping that producers listen to Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm and leave the dinosaurs alone.

Grade: D+

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Top 5 Summer Movies of 2015

I’ll keep this very brief, but here are my picks for the top 5 summer movies of this year.

5) Jurassic World – I know a lot of people disagree with me here, but it’s two hours of nostalgia at its finest. Funny and suspenseful, Jurassic World keeps me invested as a fan of the Jurassic Park franchise.

4) Trainwreck – I’ll ask this – why hadn’t I heard of Amy Schumer before seeing Trainwreck?! She’s fucking brilliant!

3) Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – Tom Cruise hangs on the side of a plane, nearly drowns, crashes a car, and chases bad guys in a high speed motorcycle chase in the best installment of the franchise.

2) Inside Out – You know you found a special animated film that depicts the highs and lows of growing up while paying tribute to abstract art and disaster movies.

1) Mad Max: Fury Road – It’s the action movie no one expected to like then went back to see it three more times! Why? Because it’s a groundbreaking, beautiful, and thrilling spectacle.

Where’s my worst? Well, it’s no competition with “Fant4stic”, ladies and gents!

“Jurassic World”

Twenty-two years ago, I sat in front of the boob tube wowed by the Brontosaurus. Eighteen years ago,  I was an annoying screaming kid watching the T-Rex destroy San Diego. Oh, some good memories (I’m forgetting being disappointed fourteen years ago by a certain threequel). And yet, “Jurassic World” was a pleasant treat and a new memory.

SPOILER ALERT – I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!

“Jurassic World” is part reboot and part fourth installment to the “Jurassic Park” franchise directed by Colin Trevorrow (“Safety Not Guaranteed”) and focuses on the now highly successful dinosaur-filled park. When Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) decides the park needs a new attraction, her head geneticist Wu (BD Wong reprising his role from “Jurassic Park”) creates the Indominous Rex (boy, my word editor’s going nuts with the “Indominous” word through this review), a hybrid of several dinosaurs.

Chris Pratt’s character Owen predicts the Indominous will be uncontrollable since it hasn’t socialized with other dinosaurs. And he’s right when the Indominous breaks loose, kills several park employees and prisoners, and even instigates an air attack from a pack of pterosaurs. Claire and Owen then race against time to save the park and Claire’s nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson).

So, I can tell this review’s gonna be a controversial one since “Jurassic World” is a very polarizing installment. Putting it simply, I really liked the movie. “Jurassic World” is a fun and ridiculous adventure loaded with thrills, heart, and just enough brains that made the first installment so damn fun to watch.

There isn’t much you can do with a dinosaur movie. So, how do you keep it fresh? Have Owen train raptors with a mindset of treating them respectfully like a person would with their dogs. This looked silly in the trailers, but it makes sense after seeing the final product.

The raptor training nearly backfires in the climax when the Indominous communicates with the raptors, turning them against Owen, making it far more suspenseful. I only saw “Jurassic World” for the climax because I knew there would be a treat hidden for the end, which there definitely was. A T-Rex fight, anyone? Yes, it was done in “Jurassic Park III” for twenty seconds, but this was a far more satisfying and epic dino brawl.

Now I know I’m raving about this movie and coming off like a fanboy, but there are some flaws, as well. For starters, there’s a subplot involving Claire’s nephews coping with their parents’ divorce that goes nowhere, the dialogue isn’t always witty, and the Indominous loses its menacing qualities after the first hour or so. There’s even a confusing subplot involving an inGen head (Vincent D’Onofrio) trying to militarize the raptors!

But the movie’s redeeming qualities and nostalgia factor will leave you endorsed within “Jurassic World’s” opening shot.

Verdict – B+