JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM review by Patrick Hendrickson – Chris Pratt battles extinction

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM review by Patrick Hendrickson – Chris Pratt battles extinction

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JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is the fifth film in the classic franchise with charismatic returning leads, a plot chock-full of twists with varying impact, and plenty of action throughout. The volcano of Isla Nubar has awoken and become very unstable with countless dinosaurs trapped on the island facing a second extinction. This leads to widespread debate about whether or not it is moral to rescue these cloned animals from yet another extinction event.

Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm from the original Jurassic Park series in a brilliant cameo at both the beginning and end of the movie. Malcolm makes the point that nature made these animals go extinct before and now is doing it again, and argues that this is indicative that humanity needs to leave well-enough alone which correlates to the realization offered by Dr. John Hammond of the original films who famously said that dinosaurs do not need humanity’s help but rather, its absence.

Having this cameo at the start of the movie was a wise decision because personally speaking, I was questioning the wisdom of this rescue mission before the movie got underway. That concern was addressed by Dr. Malcolm who continually has proven to be one of the wiser characters in this franchise, but who has also continually been ignored by everyone else in the series. The final message of the original JURASSIC PARK movie, and novel, was that humanity would do well not to tamper in the natural order of things and sadly this includes saving the dinosaurs. The cameo by Goldblum acknowledges these facts, but it becomes a personal matter for the lead characters who make the decision to mount a rescue.

Bryce Dallas Howard is back as Claire Dearing, the former administrator of Jurassic World, who now runs an activist organization. She is approached by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), a former associate of John Hammond, to participate in the rescue. Howard’s performance and Claire’s characterization are without a doubt the strongest of the production. Chris Pratt returns as dinosaur trainer Owen Grady whose primary motivation for returning to the island is to locate “Blue”, the last of his trained Velociraptors who was left behind there. Actually, that is slightly incorrect, Chris Pratt plays Chris Pratt in this movie and everyone just calls him Owen. He offers the same performance he has been offering for a while now, though it would be a lie to say he isn’t as entertaining as always.

Some of the dinosaurs offer great performances as well. A select few of them offer some very comedic moments while others offer genuine drama during some of the more intense moments. One particularly mournful Brachiosaurus comes to mind. The dinosaurs also contribute some amazingly gripping actions scenes, whether they’re facing off against each other, or against the human characters. Rather than having wide-open fields or dense forests, most of the action takes place in more urbanized environments which helps to emphasize the sheer size of some of these animals.

The weakest element of this production is the plot which is filled with several double-crosses that are relatively easy to see coming, and nonsensical “twists” that do not amount to anything. The aforementioned debate on whether or not this rescue is a good idea sadly gets relegated to just the opening and ending speeches given by Dr. Malcolm. The villains are particularly lackluster, lacking any depth and generally being fairly idiotic. Thankfully, from the halfway point onward they pretty much just become glorified dino-chow.

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is definitely a fun movie to watch once most of the audience’s thought processes have been turned off. This is somewhat disappointing due to how thoughtful the first film in the series could be, but even this latest outing has a few glimpses of that same thoughtfulness. As a simple action movie, the production does a pretty good job, which earns it a 4/5.


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