Dir; J.A. Boyena. Starring; Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall. PG-13. Color. 129 min.
The kingdom has fallen for the dinosaurs in this new addition to the “Jurassic Park” franchise. It’s up to former raptor trainer, Owen Grady, and previous manager of the now extinct resort, Claire Dearing, to rescue the creatures that were once displayed to the public.
Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire. Despite the chaos brought to the park when she introduced the Indominous-Rex, she is recruited by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) to save the abandoned dinosaurs from a looming volcanic eruption. Never a character in the previous installments, Lockwood is apparently the co-creator of genetically engineering dinosaurs from the beginning, along with John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) from the original film.
The volcanic eruption is quickly approaching. Survival of these creatures is a high priority government animal humane issue. Claire pulls Owen (Chris Pratt), the former trainer of three park Velociraptors, out of retirement to help extract the animals before they are killed off. Upon their arrival to the island, it becomes apparent that a shady military presence is in place to round up the strongest dinosaurs and weaponize them for auction.
The head of the military team, Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine), fancies collecting dead dinosaur teeth as souvenirs ala “Apocalypse Now.” The most desired dinosaurs are packed up and shipped off, leaving the rest to be victims of nature. This is when “Fallen Kingdom” starts to feel like a forgettable “James Bond” film. Bad guys in matching uniforms, good guys in constant close-ups. During the grand eruption, our heroes are able to escape with a fast, round shaped glass vehicle from the old park, and Chris Pratt running really fast.
Once they return to the mainland, the dinosaurs are sold off on a literal runway to the highest bidder. This sequence is like watching fashion models walking down the runway. But, instead of bidding on the clothes, you get to bid on the models. The main attraction is the Indo-Raptor, a combination of the Indominous-Rex and the main raptor Blue, whom Owen raised and trained in “Jurassic World”. You get a random Asian dictator yelling $20 million! Followed by an African leader yelling $22 million! Again, bad “James Bond” movie territory.
Of course the Indo-Raptor, which is not even introduced until well over the half-way point of the movie, gets loose. It’s up to Claire and Owen to stop it.
Chris Pratt is an excellent actor. From his days on “Parks & Recreation” to becoming Star Lord in “Guardians of the Galaxy”, he makes the audience enjoy every project he’s in a little more. However, if you make a movie and Chris Pratt is the only good part, your movie probably sucks.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a mess from top to bottom. A small example is when Pratt saves the other main characters from drowning during the initial volcanic eruption. The group barely survives, ending up gasping for air on the beach. Then, the next shot has them on a high ledge with Pratt looking down at the military as they load up the dinos with binoculars he got somehow. You guys sure got up on that ledge quick? And, were those binoculars just hanging on a tree on the way up, or maybe they were conveniently in your pocket while you were submerged under water for the last five minutes? Basic concepts like transition and building tension don’t just go out the window while watching “Fallen Kingdom,” they are never used in the first place.
This is one of many instances where, if you actually think about what’s happening, you realize how silly this movie is. I don’t mind one or two ridiculous situations in an action movie, most good ones have them. “Fallen Kingdom” is a marathon of ridiculous situations.
The biggest flaw with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is making the dinosaurs into an animal humane issue. What happened to seeing the T-Rex and being terrified in the theater like the original? Why is the T-Rex now a hero? Imagine watching “Old Yeller”, but instead of the little boy crying while he has to shoot his beloved dog, he cries while shooting a synthetically produced dinosaur that would eat him alive. I hope the next installment includes an opening scene with the Supreme Court being pressured to hand out pardons to Jason Voorhes, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers because they deserve their human rights, despite all the blondes they have killed throughout the years.
If asked to pick between a “Jurassic Park” movie where dinosaurs scare you and your kids versus a “Jurassic World” movie with artificially produced creatures as heroes to root for, I would choose to stick with being scared.
Suck Factor: 6 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
The SUCK FACTOR, how it works. We have flipped the rating system upside down. If a film is classic, it gets a 0. Meaning that movie has 0 SUCKS. If a film is complete trash you must avoid at all costs, it gets a 7, meaning this movie really SUCKS!