Movie Review: Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

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.

Movie Review Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

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.

Movie Review Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

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.

Movie Review Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

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.

Movie Review Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

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?

Movie Review Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

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.

Movie Review Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

Journey 178: Jurassic World

Twenty-two years ago, I saw Jurassic Park, and marveled with other movie goers over the special effects that brought dinosaurs to life on the big screen. Although the sequels were decent enough, neither had the surprise factor or the visual impact that the first movie did. Today, my mom and sister Linda accompanied me to see the long awaited new installment in this franchise…Jurassic World. Enough time has passed that we were ready to venture back into the world of genetically modified dinosaurs.

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Jurassic World stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Irrfan Khan, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson. The action/sci-fi was directed by Colin Trevorrow. It is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and peril and has a run time of 2 hours and 4 minutes.

Set 22 years after the disaster at Jurassic Park, the improved theme park on Isla Nublar is open and doing well. The park is full of new, genetically modified dinosaurs. Although attendance has been good at Jurassic World, the number of attendees has steadily declined in the past decade. As park operations manager Claire Dearing (Howard) explains to future investors, people are no longer impressed with dinosaurs. They want to see something bigger, more fierce, more menacing. With that in mind,  InGen, the park’s in house lab facility, has created the next exciting attraction at Jurassic World….the Indominus Rex.

However, prior to unveiling this newest “asset”, as the dinosaur is referred to, the park’s owner and CEO, Simon Masrani (Khan), has some concerns. He asks Claire to have former US Navy man and the park’s raptor researcher, Owen Grady (Pratt), to take a look at the facility housing the Indominus Rex, and evaluate both the structure and the dinosaur.

Claire and Owen have a strained relationship. She is an organizer, a numbers person, cool, detached and very business-like. Owen is flirtatious, humorous, easy going, but very serious when it comes to dinosaurs. He is working with the park’s raptors and has trained them to respond to commands given by him. He has become more than their trainer. Owen is the Alpha, the leader of the raptor pack. His work has captured the attention of Vic Hoskins (D’Onofrio), chief of security at the park, who believes the raptors have potential for use as military weapons.

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Owen and Claire stand in the observation area of the Indominus Rex habitat, watching for her, but she appears to have escaped. Alarmed, Claire heads to the control room to search for the dinosaur’s whereabouts by way of her implanted tracking device. Owen and two park workers enter the habitat, and are ambushed by the dinosaur. Owen escapes but the workers are killed. The newest dinosaur in the park crashes through the wall of her enclosure and the havoc and killing begins.

Claire’s young nephews, Zack (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins) are visiting the park. While their aunt is busy with the investors and park business, the boys slip away from Claire’s assistant and enjoy the many rides and attractions at the park. They are in the gyro-spheres when an emergency shut-down of the park is put into effect. The boys, who have wandered off track, have their own encounters with Indominus Rex and must use every bit of the ingenuity and courage that they possess to survive and get back to the main park.

It’s beast versus man as Indominus Rex runs amok, killing for the pleasure of it, learning to adapt and threatening thousands of people who are trying to flee the island. Claire and Owen, with his raptor pack, must bring this asset down, or risk the loss of many lives and the future of the park.

This was a fun movie to watch, although there were long sequences of intense action that made me jumpy! There was a parallel between what Claire told the investors, about people being used to seeing dinosaurs, so they wanted bigger, meaner beasts, and the film itself. Indominus Rex was the solution to raise attendance at the park. She was intended to be the solution for the movie as well, for we who are familiar with the Jurassic Park films have seen dinosaurs roaming the valleys of the island, interacting with people. And we’ve seen the T-Rex in action as the big bad boy of the film, while the raptors were the sneaky villains. We, too, are used to dinosaurs.

Jurassic World had to bring more than the surprise value of living behemoths and a few rogue dinosaurs hunting people down. It brought a bigger, meaner, smarter, more adaptable dinosaur….it brought indominus…which means “fierce, untamable”. It brought the surprise of the raptor pack, those sneaky dinosaurs, working with humans. Did the film deliver? Some don’t think so. Some do.

I enjoyed the movie, as pure entertainment. It brought back nostalgia, as soon as the familiar theme music played. There were similarities between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World…a young sister and a brother on their own, endangered by dinosaurs….and two young brothers facing the same threat, and in each film, a strong single woman and a knowledgeable man who are attracted to each, eventually, as they work together to save people’s lives. I believe the similarities were intentional, to bridge the two films, and to remind the audience of all that they loved about the original movie.

I found the special effects to be very good. And some surprises unfolded, one of which elicited an out loud exclamation from me! I’ll just say, beware the resident Mosasaurus in the murky water. That thing is huge! It was a fun way to spend the afternoon, with my mom and sister, watching an action packed movie. And if there’s ever a real Jurassic World Theme Park….you can bet….I won’t be there! I know how it goes. Those dinosaurs never stay in their enclosures!

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