Bryce Howard and Chris Pratt outrun a volcano in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. (Universal Pictures image)

Reel Reviews: Of man and dinosaur

The Conclusion: “The Fallen Kingdom seeds a series of sequels.”

The destroyed, decrepit and defunct dinosaur park of Isla Nublar, (off Costa Rica) formerly known as Jurassic World, is not only overrun with clones of giant beast both ancient and modern, but a volcanic eruption threatens to do them all in.

When the descendants of the parks’ founder puts forward the funds to attempt a rescue operation, transporting dinosaurs to a new island, his team includes an army of crunchy, delicious humans led by former park manager Claire (Bryce Howard) and dinowrangler Owen (Chris Pratt).

While greedy business interests sell DNA to the highest bidder, an island explodes and tranquilized dinosaurs set sail. Welcome to the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The Conclusion: “The Fallen Kingdom seeds a series of sequels.”

Or so I figure, anyway. As the apparent narrator of our story Jeff Goldblum testifies to some grand hearing or other, “We were too arrogant. We thought we could control it. We can’t and now it’s out.” I think they threw Jeff in on the last day. “Is the courtroom set still up on stage seven?” All Goldblum does is paraphrase the obvious, thrice. He was not enough to save this movie.

My reference to delicious, crunchy humans points to my desire to have these films be true monster movies and there is quite a bit of chaos in this film, but Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom falls when it asks us to be sympathetic to the monsters. Lava flowing, red hot boulders flying, explosions of fire and earth, while perilous and scary, elicits a different kind of fear. Where the first film in the recent reboot gave chasing, hunting and eating a lot of screen time, this film is all about rescue, evolution, natural disaster and finally, most interestingly, cohabitation. This was not enough to save this movie.

Directing our fifth installment in the Jurassic series is J.A. Boyana (The Impossible) and it seems his desire was to pay homage to the Stephen Spielberg original, which he does, but he hits the notes too hard. Forget about awe, audiences have lost all comprehension of that which is cinematically possible. All Boyana’s dinosaurs can muster is forced majesty, swelling musical strains decades old memories. Nostalgia is not enough to save this movie.

After seeing all of these films, I can’t help but feel like the story won’t be completed until everyone is eaten and dinosaurs use buildings at back-scratchers. My wishing was not enough to save this movie.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gets 2 Trump metaphors out of 5.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon.


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