Main cast: Chris Pratt (Owen Grady), Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing), Rafe Spall (Eli Mills), Justice Smith (Franklin Webb), Daniella Pineda (Dr Zia Rodriguez), James Cromwell (Sir Benjamin Lockwood), Toby Jones (Gunnar Eversoll), Ted Levine (Ken Wheatley), Isabella Sermon (Maisie Lockwood), BD Wong (Dr Henry Wu), Geraldine Chaplin (Iris), and Jeff Goldblum (Dr Ian Malcolm)
Director: JA Bayona
Watching Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, I get this feeling of being stuck in some kind of time warp. Even more than the Terminator series and reboots, this franchise seems content on just recycling the same things over and over. Unlike that other franchise, this franchise is pretty successful, so I guess the recycling is due to laziness or brain vacuum.
Just like The Lost World: Jurassic Park, this one features idiot people (Americans, of course) who think that it is humane to save dinosaurs and, in the process, unleash sheer and complete carnage on the rest of the world. This time around, a volcano is threatening to explode and kill all the dinosaurs on Isla Nubar, the location of the previous movie. Naturally, despite having seen dinosaurs munch on people with glee in that movie, Claire Dearing is now leading a movement to convince the government to spend taxpayers’ money on rescuing these dinosaurs. You know what they say about tree-hugging activists: they are very good at coming up with ways to spend other people’s money.
When the US government understandably says that they will not be spending money on what is essentially the matters of a private entity, plus it is not a good idea to unleash dinosaurs into the world, Claire is stymied… unless she is invited to the usual rich billionaire with no brain archetype always present in this franchise. This time it’s Sir Benjamin Lockwood, the former business partner of John Hammond, that idiot who started the whole mess in Jurassic Park. While initially Hammond was an idiot who naïvely assumed that dinosaurs would make the world cute again, this time around he is posthumously retconned into a bleeding soul who only wanted dinosaurs to roam free. Yes, by caging them all in a big zoo. Still, one can argue that this retcon is just a narrative spun by Lockwood’s man of affairs Eli Mills as he convinces Claire to join Lockwood’s private efforts to evacuate several dinosaurs for relocation in some private island. Naturally, that idiot woman agrees, taking along the one-note unbearable “talk sassy in any situation” vet Zia and another stereotype, the perpetually whiny and complaining techie dude Franklin. Oh, and she also drags Owen Grady, as Lockwood wants to rescue Blue, the smartest dinosaur on that island, and Owen had a bond with that raptor.
Surprise, Claire is duped! Eli needs her as the old security systems are wired to recognize her hand print, and once they are all in, the mercenary leader Ken basically abandons them all to die while he and his men run off with the dinosaurs and Zia (they need her to tend to the wounded Blue). You see, Eli is secretly running a research lab with Dr Henry Wu (that guy will never die, I tell you) and they need Blue to train their newest creation, another even bigger and more nasty dinosaur that, in my untrained eye, looks exactly like that thing in the last movie. Maybe with a bit more spines and teeth? Whatever. This movie basically rehashes all the elements in every previous movie in this franchise that it could very well be some by-the-numbers assembled-by-AI thing cranked out just to make box-office.
It in this tedious air of “God, I’ve seen all of this so many times already!” familiarity that makes watching this movie a slog. Worse, the script is so lazy that I swear, co-writer Colin Trevorrow must be on a quest to make people stop feeling sorry for his firing from the upcoming third Star Wars movie. The characters feel like they have been sedated and then parachuted in from those previous movies. The evil corporate lackey, the warmongering Russian, the annoying child that just keeps screaming and screaming and screaming, the idiot lead female character, the poor male lead character who runs all over the place as he scrambles to save everyone again and again… oh god. Poor Chris Pratt, he certainly brings enough charm to his poorly written character, but his Owen is here solely to save the idiots from themselves, especially Claire, whose brainpower nosedives in inverse proportion to the amount of “set to whore” make-up they smack onto poor Bryce Dallas Howard’s face with a trowel, and that irritating Maisie girl (half her lines are just screaming at the top of her voice, I swear), even when he has nearly been killed just seconds prior.
The last half hour or so of this movie is just an overlong, boring chase scene of that big bad dinosaur wanting to eat that annoying brat even as Claire keeps getting in the way as Owen desperately tries to save everyone. I have never seen a movie that is so obvious in treating female characters as liabilities like this one in quite a while.
And, of course, Jeff Goldblum’s cameo appearance sees him blaming the entire mess on greedy politicians, even when it is idiot scientists, stupid female characters, obnoxious children, and insufferable PETA-ish zealots that end up getting so many people get chomped and will continue to be chomped by dinosaurs. Owen can live, as he’s the smartest and most useful character of the lot, but god, I hope everyone else in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom meets a slow and painful death, preferably being eaten slowly by tiny raptors as I get to watch and cheer the beasts on.