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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest box office hits like Incredibles 2, Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom! To see all showtimes and to purchase tickets, you can click right HERE!

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Though I am a pretty big fan of the original Jurassic Park movie, I can’t say that I was too excited to see this. While I think that there are good aspects of the first Jurassic World, I wouldn’t say that I liked it, and I’ve only seen it once since its days in the theaters. Honestly, there hasn’t been a movie in this franchise I’ve liked since 1997, so I’m losing a little bit of interest. Nevertheless, I’m a big fan of both J.A. Bayona and Chris Pratt, so I held out a little bit of hope. Maybe J.A. Bayona could plug some emotion into a franchise that has been severely lacking the heart and feeling of wonder of the original.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is directed by J.A. Bayona and stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, and Isabella Sermon. The island that used to be Jurassic World is now facing its biggest threat when an enormous volcano at its center becomes active once again. To save the dinosaurs from their second extinction, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing team up to escort them off the island and bring them to a brand new volcano-free sanctuary. They have a much more difficult time than they expected when evil dinosaur traffickers abduct the creatures for personal gain and even use Owen’s beloved raptor Blue to create a new super-dino killing machine.

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Last year it was the Alien franchise, and now it’s this one. There are officially more bad Jurassic Park movies than good ones, and I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed. I’m also a little bit heart-broken and sympathetic when I think about what J.A. Bayona probably endured making this movie. I’m not saying that he is completely absolved from blame because I wasn’t there when the movie was made, but I at least see his efforts to inject some sort of spark and ignite heart or a reason to care into this story, but it just doesn’t work. He’s constantly kicked in the face by the mountainous obstacle of atrocious writing. I’m not even singling out the dialogue of the film, which is on par with the first Jurassic Park movie which could be a major problem all by itself. The story, the characters, the decisions, the pacing, the logic, and almost every other aspect that goes into screenwriting has been horrifyingly mishandled.

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Why are there stars in this industry? Well, it might be better to ask why it’s so difficult to become a Hollywood star. Major studio tent pole productions like this are one of the main reasons. If Chris Pratt, and to a certain extent Bryce Dallas Howard, weren’t the leads of this film, I wouldn’t care one single bit about anyone. None of the characters have any depth or an arc for me to latch onto, so there’s really no reason to fear for their lives or climb on-board with their adventures. More character building is done in a thirty-second sequence with a dinosaur than with any of the human characters in the rest of the film. We don’t even learn about them or attach ourselves to them through their decisions in life or death situations because their decisions are actually laughable or turn into repeated predictable deus ex machina moments. I get that this is a franchise based around the T-Rex showing up at the perfect time, but there is no logic or humanity in any situation in this film, save for a few sequences in which dinosaurs have more humanity than the actual humans.

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On top of the characters, the story is an absolute mess. It feels like the audience is a person spinning on a wheel and the story is throwing knives at us, but instead of the story being a pro at throwing knives, it’s just your buddy who is enough beers deep to decide that he should give it a shot. It bites off way more than it can chew with completely unnecessary twists and turns, and it never feels like one cohesive whole. It doesn’t feel as though the events are connected. Instead of building to certain sequences and earning the right to have high stakes in tension-filled scenes, it just gives us intensity without any context. It’s trying so hard to be an effects-driven thriller that it forgets about what really creates tension, which is great characters I care about and compelling motive.

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Speaking of the characters I care about, this movie brought back Dr. Ian Malcolm. After seeing the movie, I’m convinced that the only reason Jeff Goldblum came back was for marketing and nostalgia. He was a heavy part of the trailer, but that’s the only time he’s in the movie. He might have a single minute of screen-time, so what is the point of bringing him back from a narrative perspective? While we’re on the topic of this movie’s trailers, don’t watch them. In fact, stay away from every piece of marketing you can possibly avoid. I’d guess that six of the last ten shots in the film are in the trailer. In fact, forget about being surprised by how any sequence ends because everything is in the final trailer. If you’re not going to see the movie, which is an option I’d heavily suggest considering, have at it, but if you’ve already seen the trailers the guessing game is over, and the tension is gone. The villains of the film also bring nothing to the table. For the second movie in a row, the villains are trying to use raptors and other dinosaurs as weapons or tools in war. It doesn’t feel fresh, and they’re only evil for the sake of being evil. There is nothing to any of the villains outside of their desire to make money, and they’re completely stripped of anything that would give them humanity. The film tries to introduce so much and pull the rug out from under our feet with unnecessary plot reveals, but it all feels wasted. There is nothing memorable, and it feels like Universal saw what Fox was able to do with the new Planet of the Apes trilogy and decided to set its course for something similar.

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I usually have the positives lead into the negatives, but I thought it would be fun to be negative today, so let’s talk about the positives second. I realize that I’m probably making this sound like it’s the worst movie of the year, and it’s not. It has a shot at making the top ten, but as of right now Truth or Dare somehow has it beat by a mile. I mentioned earlier that I’m a huge fan of J.A. Bayona, and this movie does nothing to change that. I’m still a big fan, and I think his presence was the reason this movie didn’t completely drown. There are a few shots and sequences that have his watermark all over them, and I loved seeing that. His visuals are beautiful, and I’d say the movie is as well-assembled as the messy script could have allowed. I’m left to assume that he was strong-armed into most of what this movie turned out to be. I’ll also almost always say that Chris Pratt is a positive. He’s one of the most enjoyable presences in Hollywood, and he can create chemistry with any of his costars. I’d also be lying if I said that I didn’t get any enjoyment out of the thrilling dinosaur sequences. Again, most of that credit goes to Bayona, and if anyone owned this film it was the dinosaurs.

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Overall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a huge letdown. I didn’t even have high expectations because I didn’t want this movie. If I had liked either of the two previous Jurassic Park movies I may have been excited to see Fallen Kingdom, but just like Alien, I’m going to need to see another good movie to believe there will be another good movie. It suffers from a lot of the same issues the first one does with horrible dialogue, laughable cartoon villains, absence of logic, and sequences that feel out-of-place or make no sense in context. The narrative is so unclear and without any motivating factors or drive that it feels like it’s just pushing to the next spectacle. It doesn’t care about causality or depth. It just wants to put together dinosaur scenes without any depth or reason for existing. I don’t know how else to explain that it’s completely lacking logic better than telling you that the most innovative and scientifically advanced theme park in history was built on an island with a massive volcano. They brought back creatures that have been extinct for 65 million years only to place them on an island with a ticking time bomb. They even built the park that way knowing that at least two other perfectly suitable places existed. I have lots of spoiler-filled complaints, mostly surrounding the young girl in the film, but I’ll probably get a chance to get into that towards the end of the year. J.A. Bayona has a few redeeming moments, but it feels like he’s been pinned down and force to accept the screenplay and the story that makes approximately zero logical sense. Somehow a movie with Chris Pratt is almost completely devoid of any emotional effect whatsoever. I actually really liked the first eight or so minutes of the film. It does exactly what an opening should do in giving us a visually compelling hook that left me wanting more and proposing interesting ethical questions, but then the movie forgets about all of that and goes for an empty thriller. I’m going to give Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a 2.5/10.

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THE CHARACTER ON THE RIGHT SHOULD NOT BE IN THIS MOVIE.

Will you be seeing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm




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