Jurassic Park released in theaters in 1993. This movie about genetically engineered dinosaurs was such a big hit that two more films followed. After a long lull, a new film, Jurassic World, relaunched the franchise in 2015, much to the excitement of fans. Most of the characters in the new story changed, but dinosaurs were back in the park, contained better in their enclosures, ready again for visitors. Or were they better contained? If you saw that film, you know!
Late this afternoon, my mom, sister Linda and I were in the theater for the latest installment in the Jurassic World film series, movie number five.
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldblum and Isabella Sermon. This action drama, directed by J.A. Bayona, is rated PG-13, for intense action and violence, and has a run time of 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Fallen Kingdom begins four years after the catastrophe in the reopened park, as portrayed in the movie Jurassic World. Humans abandoned Isla Nublar, leaving the dinosaurs to rule the island. But, humans just can’t leave dinosaurs alone. Drawn by fascination and appreciation for them or by a desire to control and exploit them, people once again travel to the island as the volcano that formed it becomes active, threatening to destroy it and all life upon it.
Before a US Senate hearing, mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) suggests the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar should be allowed to perish. He argues that nature is correcting the error that John Hammond made when he cloned extinct beasts. However, others feel differently.
Claire Dearing (Howard) has created the Dinosaur Protection Group in an effort to save the animals. She meets with Benjamin Lockwood (Cromwell), Hammonds’ former partner who helped create the cloning technology. Ill and near the end of his life, Lockwood and his assistant Eli (Spall) share with Claire their intention to rescue the dinosaurs and relocate them to a remote island where they can live without human interaction. In fact, the rescue is already under way. The men request help in locating Blue, the last living velociraptor that Owen Grady (Pratt), former trainer at Jurassic World, raised and trained.
Claire gathers a team that includes Owen, paleo-vet Zia Rodriguez (Pineda) and tech wiz Franklin Webb (Smith). They travel to the island where they meet the head of the tracking operations, Ken Wheatley (Levine), a no nonsense man who cares little for the dinosaurs. His only interests are collecting teeth from the captured beasts as trophies for a necklace, and a big monetary bonus for completing the job.
The island is teeming with dinosaurs, but their lives are threatened by the volcano which is about to erupt. Owen quickly locates Blue, however, Ken and his team of hunters reveal their true intentions after they sedate the velociraptor. They transfer the caged dinosaurs to a waiting ship and abandon Claire and her team, leaving them to perish along with the inhabitants of the island. Quick thinking and daring actions land the team on the departing vessel just as lava pours down to the sea, destroying all life.
Back in the US, the dinosaurs are taken by massive trucks to Lockwood’s estate. Eli never intended to relocate the animals to a safe island. He is joined at the estate by auctioneer Gunnar Eversol (Jones). They have much darker plans for the dinosaurs, plans that will bring wealthy bidders from around the world and greatly fatten their bank accounts.
Lockwood’s young granddaughter Maisie (Sermon) joins Claire, Owen, Zia and Franklin in attempting a countermove that will not only block Eli’s plans but save the last of the dinosaurs for becoming extinct again.
This was a fun film to watch. There was plenty of fast paced action, an abundance of humor, and many jump worthy moments scattered through the movie. I’m a big fan of Chris Pratt, also known for the Guardian of the Galaxy films, and I’ve enjoyed his character in the two newest Jurassic World films.
The real stars of the movies though are the computer generated dinosaurs. Isn’t that what we all go to see? Since childhood I’ve thought about how amazing it would be to travel back in time and see what dinosaurs looked like. How did the move and interact? What colors were they? What sounds did they make and did they smell bad? I’ve always been so curious about these animals that disappeared from the earth ages ago.
That’s the appeal of these films. I get to experience a bit of the wonder of seeing dinosaurs back on the earth. It truly would be a life changing experience. And…would it be right to bring them back? That is the question all of the movies in this series have posed. Is it ethically wrong to clone these beasts?
The massive amount of destruction that takes place anytime dinosaurs are present seems to indicate it’s wrong. There’s much running from dinosaurs, hiding from dinosaurs and being eaten by dinosaurs portrayed in the movies. So far, these massive creatures and humans have not mixed well.
And yet…I felt very sad as the island was destroyed, and trapped dinosaurs cried out as they died. And I was troubled again as decisions had to be made concerning the rescued beasts. The dilemma is, once life is created, rightly or wrongly, what responsibility do we have to protect that life? And at what costs?
It’s a question to think about…beyond the scope of this story. And it is a question that we will surely return to, in future Jurassic World films.