Comfortable and Furious

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is 2 hrs. 8 minutes, PG-13 for maiming and people get used as chew toys

Basic Concept: Jurassic Park, except this time we light the dinosaurs on fire.

What? There’s a volcano erupting on the Jurassic Park island, and so, you have a lot of stampeding dinosaurs that may also be partially on fire.

What’s the Fair Value of This Film? $12.00. Its your strongest option of the current summer blockbusters, with some excellent action scenes. The best of all the sequels to Jurassic Park

Who is this film perfect for? Children who want to have nightmares about dinosaurs. Populists who want to see dinosaurs literally eating the rich.

Who will not like this film? Paleontologists and zoologists

How much Jeff Goldblum do we get? Dr. Ian Malcolm serves as the Greek chorus to the film, his Congressional testimony laying out the central theme of mankind’s hubris towards the power of genetic engineering. That’s all; just a cameo, really.

How does this film compare to others like it? Fallen Kingdom corrects many of the mistakes of Colin Trevorow’s earlier film, Jurassic World. This time around, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is not the antihero, but actually a plausible protagonist. The annoying children are replaced by one child, who has a significant plot-based reason for being at the Umbrella-Corp like mansion/genetics lab that is the set of the third act of the film

The side characters of the craven computer expert (Justice Smith) and the snarky veterinarian (Daniella Pineda) are an effective balance of comedic and competent.

The new monster of the film, Indoraptor, is more plausible than the super-dino of the last film, lacking the Indominus Rexs plot armor of convenient mutations as deus ex machine.

Most of all, the pacing is well managed. Fallen Kingdom moves rapidly along the rails, from the stampede/ volcano sequence (the best part of the film), to a stealth/ sneaking aboard the baddies ship scene, to the chaos of the final mansion madness, which has shades of The Cabin in the Woods.

This film is also derivative of Jurassic Park 2, however it cuts down on the Spielbergian dinosaurs rampaging in the suburbs in favor of a clearer set of bad guys- namely, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) and his Ingen corporation, which are hoping to auction off dinosaurs to militarism and mercenaries.

What works in this film? The action in this film is all you could want as far as dinosaur-dinosaur, dinosaur-on-human, human-on-dinosaur combat and pursuit. A great sequence of fleeing from the dinosaurs and an exploding volcano; a great sequence of dinosaurs rampaging through a crowded mansion hosting a high society auction; and a penultimate scene which is the visualization of childhood nightmares about dinosaurs.

What fails in this film? This film cuts down the science babble and the wonder in favor of continuous action. Jurassic World is in many ways a misnomer- we don’t really spend time with the dinosaurs in this film, other than alternating between hunting them and being hunted in turn.

Also, the human villains in this film are underwhelming stock casting. Rafe Spall is a generic corporate weasel; Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) is doing a bland R. Lee Ermey impression as a mercenary commander. Only BD Wong, as evil scientist Dr. Wu, and Tobey Jones, playing a black market auctioneer, bring any charisma to their roles, and both of them are sadly neglected in screen time and lines.

Likewise, you can see the traces of where the film was trimmed down to the two hour mark. Theres clear hints of a second action plot with the secondary characters in act four that gets cut; also, there are some implications that act three is shortened, turning the voyage into something akin in Indiana Jones magical stowing away on a U-boat in Raiders of the Lost Ark. You could say the Fallen Kingdom reacts to the over-padding of Jurassic World by cutting away too much, leaving only the barest bones.

I’m just an Anthropocene Guy in a Jurassic World: Another clearly comparable franchise, besides the Resident Evil series, is the new Planet of the Apes franchise. Fallen Kingdom is setting up for a dinosaur apocalypse of sorts, with all sorts of corporations and governments and terrorists getting their hands on the dinosaur making technology. Thus, you can expect the next film to be akin to Rise of the Planet of the Apes: a film in which the dinosaurs just start spreading uncontrollably, destroying civilization. Apes, zombies, dinosaurs- the formula of evil biotechnology mega-corporations and their mistakes seems as it might be an endless fountain. Perhaps we might see a revision and expansion of the Gremlins franchise in this line. That which cannot die will be rebooted in endless time, after all, now that copyrights are perpetuities..



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