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REVIEW: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a Stinkpile Wrapped in Great Effects

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” was directed by J.A. Bayona and stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall and Justice Smith. The film is the fifth in the “Jurassic Park” franchise and is about Owen and Claire returning to the island in an effort to save the dinosaurs from an erupting volcano, and how that effort turns into people wanting to buy the dinosaurs remaining.

While “Jurassic Park” is a solidified classic, “Jurassic World” was more of a solid, strictly entertaining film that I did enjoy. So, a sequel didn’t really appeal to me, and the trailers for this one appealed to me even less. But, I came in hoping for something fun, while still keeping my expectations low.

The Good

Much like every film in this franchise before it, “Fallen Kingdom” has some of the best visual effects you will see in a movie this year. All of the dinosaurs are seamlessly added to the movie around its human counterparts, and it makes for some truly spectacular moments of action. The diversity of the dinosaurs was awesome to see, and the visuals never ceased to amaze me from start to finish.

There are certainly some cool action scenes, especially in the first half of the film. The first act really kicks off the movie on a blistering pace, and the first real action scene was very well done.

Pratt is as charming and charismatic as he was in the first movie, and he was always the highlight of every scene he was in. There are a few cool ideas you can feel Bayona working on, even if they never fully are realized. A small scene with a brontosaurus early on stuck as a true emotional high point, and there are interesting ideas with a certain character that gave some new, groundbreaking ideas to the franchise.

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The Bad

Unfortunately, all the Pratt and all the amazing effects in the world can’t save this movie from being a total disaster for most of its runtime. This plot, if you can even call it that, is so messy, so convoluted and so annoyingly stupid that it is hard to even focus on the effects or the action. Bayona, who is coming off a great film in “A Monster Calls,” completely phones in his direction, using cliches and conveniences in the way of actual storytelling.

Let’s start with someone who annoyed me early, and that is Smith as Franklin Webb. Boy oh boy, this dude is painfully unfunny, to the point of pure pain every time he thinks he is making a joke. This movie mistakes being annoying and a total pansy for being funny, and it comes back to bite the film every time he delivers a putrid line.

The villain, who I guess I won’t spoil, though you’ll probably see it coming within their first 10 seconds on screen, is awful, and so brutally cliche that it is so obvious every move he is going to make. Pair that with the group of cliched bad guys he gets grouped up with later, and it is just a totally generic mess of bad dudes by the third act.

Back to the storyline, because it sucks, there are an absurd around of holes and convenient moments that just made me ache in my seat. Apparently dinosaurs can just feel Pratt’s charm a mile away, because man they hate attacking him. Also, apparently bad guys just talk about all the exposition in the world specifically when someone is listening. It’s crazy and wacky how they just spilled every important detail without checking to see if they were alone! What a bunch of wacky guys!!!

More about this stupid plot, because I felt insulted, this movie just bites off previous entries for some of its coolest scenes. Remember that T-Rex roaring in the first movie? Or or when those velociraptors are looking for those kids in the kitchen? Or or the end of the first “Jurassic World”? I hope not, because then half the intense scenes are ruined for you and will feel stale on delivery.

I just don’t understand a world where no one ever learns from previous movies. I get that bad dudes are stupid and all, but I wish this movie took the chance to go somewhere new following the events of the last movie. But instead, it feels like the exact same themes and that “Jurassic World” never happened, which makes everyone seem stupid, and that makes me really mad.

For a fun, light-hearted action film with some slight horror, 128 minutes is a slugfest of a runtime. This thing feels every bit too long, and could have truly benefited from shaving 20 minutes off somewhere. Also, for some quick hits, the ending is anti-climactic as hell, and somehow, some way, this movie wasted Jeff Goldblum. I mean, how do you waste a natural treasure like Jeff Goldblum? Insulting to say the least.

Conclusion

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” benefits from having amazing effects to backup everything, but it isn’t enough for a storyline this crummy, and for side characters this bad. Bayona, you can do better than this, and it hurt to watch this movie take its audience for morons the majority of the time. I was bored, I was annoyed, and I was thoroughly disappointed by this movie. “Jurassic World” is dumb fun, yes, but it held itself together well enough so that I could enjoy the action. This turd doesn’t do that, and the action isn’t mind-blowingly amazing enough to make up for much.

Wyatt Crosher

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