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Movie Review: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Theatrical Release: 6/22/2018

Theatrical Release: 6/22/2018

Synopsis

The Jurassic World theme park has closed after the chaos in Jurassic World. Now the dinosaurs rule the island where the popular theme park was located, but the island’s once dormant volcano has become active. While governments struggle with whether or not to save the dinosaurs, as well as the morality of their decision, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is contacted by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall). Eli Mills hopes to fund Claire and Owen (Chris Pratt) on an expedition to the island, where they will attenpt to capture and prevent the extinction of several species by relocating them to another island.

Owen and Claire, along with a well prepared team, go to the island but the volcano grows more active by the second. Once on the island, Owen learns that Blue, one of the raptors Owen trained, is still alive somewhere on the island. Owen essentially raised Blue and formed a strong friendship with the raptor due to Blue’s empathy and compassion. Now that they have learned that Blue has survived, the team must rescue several species while trying to find Blue, survive the various dangerous species, and get off of the island before the volcano explodes.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The ProsThe Cons

Chris Pratt (+8pts)

The Plot (-8pts)

The Dinosaurs (+8pts)

Eli Mills & Ken Wheatley (-6pts)

The Island (+3pts)

Predictable (-5pts)

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Pro: Chris Pratt (+8pts)

Most of the movie’s entertainment comes from Chris Pratt and his charisma. If you saw the last movie, or have seen Chris Pratt in almost any role, than you will know what to expect with this movie. That being said, it works. He is funny, whitty, has the action-star vibe, and just has a good charisma. He does not bring anything new to this role, but the movie did not need him too.

He has good chemistry with his co-stars, hits the comedy, but is also able to add subtle heart to this character when it comes to his feelings about Blue. Owen really cares for this raptor, but is reluctant to show it. I liked this element of the character, but I would be lying if I said it was “compelling”. It was interesting at times, but Chris Pratt was really here to keep audiences laughing and entertained. Some may not like him or may think he has been oversaturated lately but, for the most part, he does his job in this movie. If you are entertained by Chris Pratt, like I am, then you will (at the very least) enjoy something about this movie.

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Con: The Plot (-8pts)

Unfortunately, this plot felt very generic. The movie starts off strong with the island (which I will get into later) and has a popcorn-popping finish, but everything in between was a bit of a snorefest. It was like the filmmakers knew where they wanted to end, then chose the least exciting way to get there. Without avoiding spoilers, this movie shows dinosaurs a lot, but rarely shows them doing anything noteworthy, outside the beginning and the end.

Instead of getting dinosaur action, we get a random, poorly developed plot of an old man and his grandaughter. Instead of getting dinosaur action, we get the poorly developed moral dilemma of men making money off of these prehistoric creatures. Instead of getting dinosaur action, we get a poorly developed romantic relationship between Claire and Owen. Jurassic World worked because, I felt, it knew what it was. This is not a movie where audiences want character stories. Audiences want to see dinosaurs doing dinosaur things. The filmmakers clearly wanted depth, but they did not give these story elements proper development and sacrificed excitement to squeeze them in there. The beginning and end were exciting but the entire middle of the movie felt bland.

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Pro: The Dinosaurs (+8pts)

Without a doubt, the biggest draw of this movie were the dinosaurs. On the island, the dinosaurs were extremely exciting. At the end of the movie, they were captivating and very entertaining. Even through the middle of the story, while the plot was boring and uneventful, the dinosaurs provided unique flavor that will keep audiences watching in anticipation of the inevitable dino-action.

There were a few scenes that had the classic, terrifying, helpless tone that fans will be wanting to see. There are some terrifying dinosaurs hunting near helpless characters. Whether it is the iconic tyrannosaurus, a raptor, a massive sea creature, or flying predators, this movie has a ton of lethal creatures and helpless victims. Most of it is crammed into either the beginning or the end of the movie, but when the dinosaurs are loose, this movie will definitely have audiences on the edge of their seats.

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Con: Eli Mills & Ken Wheatley (-6pts)

While the plot was fairly boring, the Eli Mills and Ken Wheatley were just as bad. Eli Mills is the man who reached out to Claire and is funding the expedition to rescue several species of the dinosaurs trapped on the island. Ken Wheatley is the military-style leader of Eli’s hired forces. Both of these characters were one-dimensional and made the boring plot even more uninteresting.

Simple, plots can be made interesting with good (well-developed and compelling) characters. This was not the case. Ken Wheatley was the stereotypical leader of an antagonistic mercenary group. He does not respect the dinosaurs, collects their teeth by pulling them out of defenseless dinosaurs, and is only in it for the money. You have seen some version of this character in a countless movies and he is no different in this one. Then we have Eli Mills who I will avoid discussing in much detail to avoid spoilers. What I can say is his story will be far from surprising, far from interesting, and ends up being a second character that you have seen some version of in many movies before. Having two one-dimensional characters in a movie like this is not always a bad thing, but the filmmakers sacrificed excitement during so much of this movie and gave us these two characters, which ended up being pretty disappointing.

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Pro: The Island (+3pts)

I may have already touched on it a couple times, but the portion that took place on the island was easily the most exciting part of this movie. So much so, that I could have watched a whole movie that took place on the island. I know what you may be thinking: Jurassic World was the movie that took place entirely on the island. I know, but what I mean is, I could have watched a whole movie where our protagonists were racing through the wild environment, trying to survive amongst some of the deadliest creatures to have ever walked the earth, all while trying to rescue some of those creatures from an imminent volcanic eruption.

Trying to survive the volcanic eruption while also trying to survive the dinosaurs provided some really cool scenes. There is lava running down the mountain, there are fireballs raining down from the sky, massive herbivores that could trample the protagonists while trying to flee, and massive predators looking for a quick snack on the go. Then there were the added goals of trying to find Owen’s buddy, Blue, and trying to save a few species from re-extinction. This was the movie I wanted to see and the filmmakers lost something when the took the story off the island, but this relatively short portion of the movie was a lot of fun and pretty much had me throwing handfuls of popcorn in my mouth due to the intensity and unpredictability.

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Con: Predictable (-5pts)

This movie starts strong, but has a bunch of plot “twists” that fall pretty flat due to how predictable they were. From the first tranquilizer shot, audiences will have a pretty good idea as to where this story is going, and who the antagonists are. Despite this, the story has a reveal moment (regarding who the mastermind is) that was clearly intended to surprise movie goers, but audiences will see it coming a mile away.

Then there is another plot “twist” regarding the young girl, Maisie, and her origin. I cannot speak for everyone, but I saw this coming a mile away as well. This is not a movie that needed plot twists but the filmmakers felt the need to throw them in there, but they did not spend the necessary time to flesh them out to a point that would actually surprise audiences. This is made worse by a generic storyline, and predictable moments where “good” dinosaurs save the protagonists from “bad” dinosaurs. It was lazy writing if I have ever seen it before, and the movie suffered for it.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-69

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C+ (75pts)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom focuses on the aftermath of the destruction at the popular dinosaur theme park and an imminent volcanic eruption on the island. With this, we get an adventure mission where our protagonists must journey to the island to save as many species as possible. The island portion of the movie was awesome but the filmmakers seemed to rush through it and delivered a separate plot that saw very little excitement. This movie is all about the morality of captured dinosaurs but the filmmakers never explore this moral issue with much depth. We get a movie that is mostly captured dinosaurs and shallow development. Fortunately, the end of the movie has the classic Jurassic Park excitement that audiences will be hoping for.

The ending is pretty predictable, but it is exciting nonetheless. While Chris Pratt and his whitty humor will be enough to keep audiences watching, the characters and plot twists were pretty poorly developed. Eli Mills and Ken Wheatley are two one-dimensional characters that we have seen in many movies before, and the plot “twists” are hinted at so obviously that audiences will see them coming from a mile away. The filmmakers decided to sacrifice excitement (by having the dinosaurs captured), but they did not use the screentime to develop anything. They temporarily took the dinosaurs out of the equation, then gave boring and uninteresting characters in a bland story. The dinosaurs were pretty exciting when they were doing their dinosaur thing, but most of this movie was dull and poorly developed.