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
The Jurassic World theme park has closed after the chaos that occurred after a bunch of dinosaurs escaped their enclosures. The dinosaurs now 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, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is contacted by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall). Eli hopes to fund Claire and Owen (Chris Pratt) on an expedition to the island, where they will attempt 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 he once trained, is still alive somewhere on the island. Owen essentially raised Blue and he formed a strong friendship with the raptor due to Blue’s unique 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.
The Pros & Cons
|The Pros||The Cons|
Chris Pratt (+8pts)
The Plot (-8pts)
The Dinosaurs (+8pts)
Eli Mills & Ken Wheatley (-6pts)
The Island (+3pts)
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 worked here. He was funny, witty, had the action-star vibe, and he just had a strong on-screen charisma. He did not bring anything new to this role, but the movie did not need him to.
Owen was also able to add some heart to this character when it came to his feelings toward Blue. He really cared for the raptor, but he was 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 they may think he has been over-saturated lately, but for the most part, he did his job in this movie, and he did it well.
Con: The Plot (-8pts)
Unfortunately, this plot felt very generic. The movie started off strong with the island—which I will get into later—and it had a popcorn-popping finish, but everything in between was a bit of a snore-fest. 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 showed dinosaurs a lot, but they rarely showed them doing anything noteworthy, outside of the beginning and the end of the movie.
Instead of getting dinosaur action, we got a random, poorly developed plot of an old man and his granddaughter. Instead of getting dinosaur action, we got the poorly developed moral dilemma of men making money off of these prehistoric creatures. Instead of getting dinosaur action, we got a poorly developed romantic relationship between Claire and Owen. Jurassic World worked, because it knew what it was. This was not a movie where audiences will want character stories. Audiences want to see dinosaurs doing dinosaur things, and maybe a couple humans running around in the middle of it. Having human characters in these movies is fine—I would even say it is crucial—but this movie had a bunch of poorly developed ones, and they took screen-time away from the dinosaurs in order to show more of them.
Pro: The Dinosaurs (+8pts)
Without a doubt, the biggest draw of this movie was the dinosaurs. On the island, the dinosaurs were extremely exciting. At the end of the movie, they were exciting once again. 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 dinosaur action.
There were a few scenes that had the classic, terrifying, helpless tone that fans will be wanting to see. There were some terrifying dinosaurs hunting nearly helpless characters. Whether it was the iconic tyrannosaurus, a raptor, a massive sea creature, or flying predators, this movie had a ton of lethal creatures and helpless victims. Most of it was crammed into either the beginning or the end of the movie, but when the dinosaurs were on the loose, they will have audiences on the edges of their seats.
Con: Eli Mills & Ken Wheatley (-6pts)
While the plot was fairly boring, Eli Mills and Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) were just as bad. Eli Mills was the man who reached out to Claire and he was funding the expedition to rescue several species of the dinosaurs trapped on the island. Ken Wheatley was the military-style leader of Eli’s hired forces. Both of these characters were one-dimensional and they made the boring plot even more uninteresting. Simple plots can be made interesting with well-developed and compelling characters. This was not the case with these two.
Ken Wheatley was the stereotypical leader of an antagonistic mercenary group. He did not respect the dinosaurs, and was only in it for the money. You have seen some version of this character in countless movies. Then we have Eli Mills who I will avoid discussing in much detail to avoid spoilers. What I can say is that his story will be far from surprising, far from interesting, and it ended 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 major problem, but the filmmakers sacrificed excitement and gave these two characters way too much focus, which was pretty disappointing.
Pro: The Island (+3pts)
I may have already touched on it a couple times, but the portion of this story 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 that I could have watched a whole movie where our protagonists were racing through the wild environment, trying to survive 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 was lava running down the mountain, there were fireballs raining down from the sky, there were massive herbivores that could trample the protagonists while trying to flee, and there were 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 that I wanted to see, and the filmmakers lost something when the took the story off the island. Nonetheless, this relatively short portion of the movie was a lot of fun, and it had me throwing handfuls of popcorn in my mouth due to the intensity.
Con: Predictable (-5pts)
This movie started strong, but it had a bunch of plot twists that fell 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 was going, and who the antagonists were. Despite this, the story had a reveal moment, regarding who the mastermind was, that was clearly intended to surprise movie goers, but audiences will see it coming miles away. Then there was another plot “twist” regarding the young Maisie (Isabella Sermon) and her story, which I saw coming a mile away as well. This was not a movie that needed plot twists, but the filmmakers felt the need to throw them in there anyway, and they did not spend the necessary time to flesh them out to the point that they would actually surprise anyone. This was made worse by the generic storyline, and the predictable moments where good dinosaurs saved the protagonists from bad dinosaurs. It was lazy writing if I have ever seen it before.
Grade: C+ (75pts)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom focused on the aftermath of the destruction at the popular dinosaur theme park and an imminent volcanic eruption on the island. With this, we got an adventure mission where our protagonists had to 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 brought very little excitement. This movie was all about the morality of captured dinosaurs, but the filmmakers never explored this moral issue with much depth. We got a movie that mostly consisted of captured dinosaurs and poorly developed characters. Fortunately, the end of the movie had the classic Jurassic Park excitement that audiences will be hoping for.
The ending was pretty predictable, but it was exciting nonetheless. While Chris Pratt and his witty humor will be enough to keep audiences watching, the characters and the predictable plot twists left a lot to be desired. Eli Mills and Ken Wheatley were two one-dimensional characters, and the plot twists are hinted at so blatantly that audiences will see them coming from miles away. The dinosaurs were pretty exciting when they were doing their thing, but most of this movie was spent showing uninteresting characters in poorly developed storylines.