Hey, that really cool Disneyland/Sea World hybrid for dinosaurs, Jurassic World, seemed like a good idea… right up to the point where the animals starting attacking the guests. It’s been three years shut down, and now the island is about to go KABOOM because of an active volcano. The government, along with Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, making an extended cameo), decide to let the dino’s die off–again–as nature & God dictates. Ah, but super-millionaire (and former colleague to John Hammond) Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) has other plans. He wants to get those dinos off the island in secret and onto a private island for their safety and protection. Sound good, huh?
His right hand man in this endeavor is Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), who quickly gets Jurassic World activist Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and raptor-whisperer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to head up his team to Isla Nublar. Also along for the trip is overly intense paleo-veterinarian Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and nervous computer whiz-kid Franklin Webb (Justice Smith). But capturing these animals (shades of The Lost World: Jurassic Park) isn’t that easy, especially with icy-hearted trapper Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) in charge. Barely making it off the island alive (an intense escape sequence, I must say!), Owen & company make a startling discovery.
That whole planned “sanctuary for dinosaurs” was merely a smokescreen for something far more nefarious. Enter Gunnar Eversol (Toby Jones), a man who is in cahoots with Mills to sell the dino’s to the highest bidder. But once their plan is found out by Lockwood’s adorable little grand-daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon), it’s up to Owen, Claire, and the others to shut down the devious operations… without being eaten by the brand newest dino on the block: the super bio-engineered Indoraptor!
Written by the guys that brought us 2015’s Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly), this sequel has more deus ex machinas and plot holes than you stuff a T. Rex with. The plot actually follows two storylines: one on the island and one off, with a couple of nice nods to previous Jurassic movies thrown in. Gaping holes and unbelievable leaps in logic aside, we still have the same ol’ same ‘ol; people getting chased by dinosaurs. *Sigh* But with director J. A. Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls) it, at least, has a zing to its step, despite the worn-out and over-used plot. There’s some nice attention to detail, effective use of light & shadow, and an odd little sideways twist thrown in for no reason at all.
But seriously, it’s all wearing a bit too thin, isn’t it? I mean, how far can this one-trick pony go? You have living dinosaurs, okay, but what else can they do except chase you around for two hours and then make you a happy meal? Sure, you can DNA splice a T. Rex with a whale and come up with God-knows-what, but what else have you got? If all the plots are all going to be the same, there better be some fresh out-of-the-box ideas later on or the franchise will be over fast.
Anyway, the chemistry between Pratt and Howard is always good, but it’s Pineda & Smith that really have some fun here. Pineda as the badass doctor with an attitude and Smith with his jumpy scaredy-cat persona give the film its comedic vibe. Another treasure is nine-year-old Isabella Sermon making her film debut here. So expressive, so polished, so on-point as an actress, it’s a wonder she hasn’t been doing this for years. This movie also opens it up for a part three, so it doesn’t look like this franchise will be ending anytime soon. And, rest assure, it’ll feature MORE dinosaurs chasing people. Guaranteed. *Sigh*
Welcome to 2015 and Hollywood’s Golden Age of Remakes, Reboots, and Re-imaginings! Universal was NOT about to let their franchise die, not when it had a theme park and tons of merchandising to wrap around it! With a damn fine script (four writers!) and director Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic Park became Jurassic World, a brand new Disneyland/ SeaWorld hybrid for dinosaurs that, (surprise! surprise!) gets into serious trouble. Poster boy Chris Pratt is the wise-cracking hero, Bryce Dallas Howard is the savvy heroine, and the all-powerful and brand new Indominus Rex dinosaur kicks major butt. This movie single-handedly revitalized the dead series, breaking all box office records with ONE BILLION in no time. Pretty sweet. Now, the only question is, CAN it’s sequel escape from ‘sequelitis’?