PG-13, but they were trying to make it kind of family friendly. Like, the first movie has some real horror movie sequences. Like, remember when a raptor ate someone's face? Arms falling through cables? The same dino horror, but way tamer. Any time someone gets eaten, it is from a distance or a cut away. Okay, one of the big antagonists has a gross moment, but they added another kid for this one. This one...it's the teenage horror movie. It's got jumps, but nothing really authentically gross. I don't hate that, but I also feel like this feels too nice at times. Reminder: PG-13.
DIRECTOR: J.A. Bayona
I wrote a review of this for Catholic News Agency. It hasn't been published yet, but when it comes out, I'll put a link on the Film Index section. With that one, since it is a genuine opinion piece where I'm either encouraging or discouraging people to / from seeing the movie, I tried to keep it spoiler free. But there are so many gripes that I have about his move that are very specific, so I'm making this analysis SPOILER HEAVY! I just can't keep it in anymore, guys. I need to vent about a lot of moments in this movie. If you want a spoiler free version of this, keep an eye out for Catholic News Agency. Besides, my editor /good-friend-who-got-me-the-job likes clicks and full reads, so do that as well. I highly doubt I'll ever get a raise, but my self-esteem is completely based on how well my published stuff does.
The overall takeaway from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? It's super dumb. It's not unfun or anything like that. It's just remarkably stupid. So many levels of stupid in this movie. When you start tearing apart a dumb film, you sound like a nitpicky nerd. I'm going to get really nitpicky and nerdy. I'm sorry, but there's just a part of me that won't let it go. But these things kind of matter. There are times when I'm forgiving of really dumb moments in film. Heck, I'd probably say that I'm being pretty forgiving of Fallen Kingdom. After all, I still kind of enjoyed it. (Sorry, Lauren. I might even say that I enjoyed it enough to watch it every so often.) But there is something completely heartbreaking when watching a movie franchise that's known for its smarts being complete popcorn trash. I take it really personally. I love the original Jurassic Park. It might be my favorite blockbuster, summer tentpole movie. I mean, that original film I try to watch annually. I quote it way too much in real life, which I never advocate for us to do. I mean, I have a whole routine when going on the ride at Universal Studios that involves me just citing the original film. (That ride is dated and I hear that they are converting it to a Jurassic World ride. Is that going to work in the light of this movie? Won't that already be dated? Won't it be the most meta thing in the world? Yes to all those questions...maybe.) But this movie promised something special. I will say this: Colin Trevorrow made Jurassic World way cooler than it had any right to be. I know that a lot of people complained about that movie and there are some things that really irk me about that movie. Blue is stupid. (I'll try to come back to this idea later.) But it really is the second best Jurassic Park movie in the franchise. Sure, that's also because a lot of the sequels are straight up bad. But the first Jurassic World movie kind of has a little spunk to it. I genuinely enjoy it, despite the fact that it nerfed the raptor. Then Trevorrow teased that he was really making a Jurassic World trilogy and that we should expect real consequences from that title. Yeah, it went there.
That tease might have been the most hamfisted way to get dinosaurs into the world. I get it. Your title meant something beyond the name of the new park. Okay, whatever. I don't buy it. The minorly cool thing / potentially epically stupid thing that's going to happen in the third movie is a Rise of the Planet of the Apes thing. The third movie is going to be humans struggling to fight against hordes and hordes of dinosaurs, despite the fact that there didn't seem to be that many to begin with. But this is the awkward step that got us there. Fallen Kingdom needed to have so many people make so many dumb, unrealistic decisions to have dinosaurs escape into the wild. That's a problem that The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III had to do. People needed spectacularly dumb reasons to interact with this quarantined location. Anyone with a modicum of sense wouldn't be interested in this island. The technology exists to make new dinosaurs. Henry Wu has the ability to make dinosaurs on a whim...which leads me to my first major gripe with the story. The story surrounds a political climate where the U.S. has to decide whether or not to save the dinosaurs of Jurassic World from an active volcano. So many things I have wrong with it and it's a crime that Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm was wasted on this scene. 1) Even if the events of Jurassic World didn't happen, there would still be an active volcano. Did John Hammond simply assume that setting his park near a potentially active volcano would be a good idea? It's the fleas all over again! 2) The major debate is whether or not to let dinosaurs go extinct again. Mankind, as long as it is around, has eliminated the concept of extinction in the Jurassic Park universe. Why are we so concerned about extinction? Clone new ones. These animals were meant to be killed off due to lysine deficiency. It is a miracle that they have survived as is. If life can find a way, let it keep finding a way. If they all die out, just clone new ones. Extinction isn't a threat here. Claire's all uppity about saving the creatures, but she's only tasked with rescuing eleven species. There was never a scenario where she was going to evacuate the island of all of the dinosaurs. It even shows a map at one point of all the dinosaurs. That's a big ol' nope to getting them clear. If this was a small remote island where there was indigenous life, there wouldn't be a rescue plan (would there?). It's such a dumb premise to get the old characters to go back to the island. Also, Blue is a dumb idea. Blue really becomes this terrible get-out-of-jail free card / deus ex machina for every fight. Every time that Owen is backed into a corner, he's either saved by a raptor or a T-Rex. In the original movie, the T-Rex saves Grant and company from a raptor attack. It's cool because it is unexpected. We have now seen the T-Rex come to the rescue too many times. Stop it. It's not cool anymore and it made the T-Rex a good guy.
There's a throwaway line about why the computers on Jurassic World somehow still work. It's about a power resource. Did Jurassic World just solve the energy crisis because that's almost way more important than the ability to bring back dinosaurs for a zoo? I can kind of forgive a little mumbo-jumbo when it comes to the computers. I don't know why I can, but I just can. But the gyrosphere's batteries still working was a load of hogwash. You know them machines had to be plugged in every night before the next day's passengers went on their freewheeling tour. I call hogwash! There's a lot of these moments too. Owen just willing himself to outrun lava. It's a very inconsistent lava flow as well. The car ramp on the boat? Nope. It's just so much coincidence. But then there's something fundamentally cool that just doesn't deliver at all. The clone twist with the granddaughter. I really wanted to like it. (Also, was the kid actually British? That opening scene, it seemed like she wasn't British. Were they covering for a bad accent with the implication that she's been living in America too long? Also, how many Brits did they have playing Americans and how many Americans did they have playing Brits?) But that cloning thing had such potential. It is five movies into the series and they are only playing with cloning humans now? But there's this moral dilemma that the movie tries shoehorning into the story. The bad guy implies that the little girl should be treated as a thing because you don't know what she's made of.
Okay? Why? It seems like she's a little girl. Oh, that doesn't really express itself except for the fact that she empathizes with the captured dinosaurs? She's like them? So she's going to endanger all of humanity? That makes little sense. You know, normal little girls also empathize with captured dinosaurs. I mean, Claire almost let them go and I don't think she's a clone. Why did you go out of your way to weave this intricate story about the granddaughter only to have no payoff. Sure, this could play out in future movies. But this movie stressed this moment so much and had no actual payoff. I'm not saying that this couldn't be explored further in future movies, but no payoff? C'mon. I mean, the movie really is just "escape the dinosaurs in a fancy mansion." We haven't run away from dinosaurs in a mansion before. But then they also had to add another new dinosaur. C'mon, it was silly in the last movie. Going even deeper and making it less impressive is a dumb choice. I kind of like the Indominus Rex. I know. I defy logic. But the Indo-raptor is supremely stupid. There's just so many of these moments. The moral choice at the end was way too big for everyone to be just kind of okay with it. I'm just so frustrated. Finally, the movie played up my least favorite element that has been teased in every movie: dinosaurs can be used as weapons. It has been this thing that has been hovering around the franchise since the beginning, but now it's completely in the open and I could not be more bored.
I really ripped into this movie. It is more fun than I'm making it out, but it is sooper stupid. I had a good time, but I'm bummed that the movie isn't good. It really isn't. I mean, I still love the franchise and I'm going to watch every entry for the foreseen future, but this is a bad misstep. Sorry.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.