Sunday, June 24, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Movie Name: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Year of Release: 2018
Director: J.A. Bayona
Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldblum, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon, Robert Emms, Peter Jason
Genre: Drama, Horror
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
View Trailer

After the surprise success of "Jurassic World", a sequel was inevitable, and this one, while from a different director, hails from the writing duo of Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, both of them also responsible for the first installment of this new planned trilogy. The film picks up three years after the disastrous occurrences of Isla Nublar. The animals have been left there to their own devices, but are now facing a mortal threat in the shape of a volcano, that is erupting at any moment. A wealthy benefactor, by the name of Lockwood emerges, and we soon find out he had been one of the original proponents of the DNA sampling alongside the late John Hammond. Lockwood wants to save the dinosaurs and move them to an island he has specifically shepherded to maintain the species. He reaches out to Claire Dearing, so she can go to the island, and with her former employee credentials, access the database and track whatever animals are left, particularly the velociraptor. In order to do so, Claire reaches out to Owen, and successfully convinces him to return with her. They soon find out that their intentions while noble, hide unbeknownst to them, some very dark motivations from Lockwood's managerial team.
Juan Antonio Bayona is a very talented director, who has managed to excel in both gothic horror films but also natural disaster films, since he understands that while mayhem and destruction are eye catching, only when you have actual characters with dimension, do viewers actually appreciate what you're setting out to do. His films all focus on this sense of family, and particularly how dramatic events can test the bonds of what a family unit truly is all about. That was the case with his previous feature, "A Monster Calls", and there are some remnants of that focus here, with Lockwood's granddaughter, and the relationship she manages to create with Owen and Claire. Sadly the film is so poorly written that is difficult to engage with the nonsense that it depicts. The problem does not lie with the incredulous concepts of the film, but mostly with the predictable ploys and archetypes the script puts forth (the supporting comic relief character, the brainy and ethnically diverse supporting character, the evil corporate shill, it's very much like a checklist that goes on and on, and that the script chooses to include all the way). There are set pieces that are placed together to elicit a certain type of response from the audience, and though the director is competent to illustrate the story with a style and a sense of menace, it still can't hide the fact that this story is as pedestrian and poorly conceived as they come. Here's hoping the series can find a better writer and creative direction. As a film, this is a misstep for Juan Antonio Bayona. Avoid.