Sunday, July 8, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki

The Jurassic Park franchise has become progressively worse with every film that is released. The only good film in the franchise is Jurassic Park, which is a masterpiece. However, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (don't understand why it was titled like that) was mediocre; Jurassic Park III was bad; & Jurassic World was awful. It just feels like this franchise is now nothing more than a dumb cash grab.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, while not absolute cinematic torture, is very close to it. The fifth film in the franchise, & set three years after the events of Jurassic World, the film once again follows Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt), the former Velociraptor trainer at Jurassic World. He has been asked by the former operations manager at Jurassic World, Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), to help relocate the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar to a new island sanctuary, due to an imminent volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar. This plan has been set in motion by Dr. John Hammond's former partner, Benjamin Lockwood (played by James Cromwell), & his assistant, Eli Mills (played by Rafe Spall). However, this plan has been met with controversy, as Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) believes that the dinosaurs should be allowed to become extinct again in order to correct the mistake of cloning them in the first place.

Owen & Claire fly to Isla Nublar along with IT tech Franklin Webb (played by Justice Smith), former Marine Zia Rodriguez (played by Daniella Pineda), & a mercenary team led by Ken Wheatley (played by Ted Levine). Back in California, behind Lockwood's back, Mills & auctioneer Gunnar Eversol (played by Toby Jones) plan something diabolical with the dinosaurs. It's up to Owen & Claire to save the dinosaurs from extinction & Mills & Eversol's diabolical plans.

The cast is a mixed bag. Pratt & Howard do relatively solid work. Goldblum, Jones, & Cromwell are almost completely wasted. But Smith gives a terrible performance, & Spall isn't that much better.

J.A. Bayona's direction is terrible. It's a shame becuase Bayona has proven himself to be a great director. But Bayona can't keep a solid hand when it comes to the tone or what the characters are supposed to do. And there's no sense of wonder to the film at all. Then again, none of these films have had any sort of wonder since the first film.

The screenplay by Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly is a disaster. My complete disdain for Trevorrow has been widely noted. And this film shows that he, in any position for a film, whether it be directing, writing, or producing, should never be allowed anywhere near a film set for the rest of his life. And Connolly has only co-wrote one good film, & that's it. They have devised a screenplay where the plot is tedious, the characters are nothing more than one-dimensional stereotypes, & the dialogue is half-baked. Furthermore, there is a plot twist in the film that is one of the worst I've seen, counting 2 films in a row that Colin Trevorrow has been involved in (the other being 2017's The Book of Henry) where there has been an absolutely terrible plot twist.

Bernat Vilaplana's editing is awful. The editing is plagued by the same problem that plagues the editing of so many recent action films: TOO MANY CUTS. Would it hurt to actually have a shot last for more than 1 second? This can be done right (see any film by Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino or Paul Thomas Anderson), but those are done in moderation, not for the entire film. Also, the pacing is dreadful, & makes this even more of a barbaric film experience.

Michael Giacchino's score is one of only a couple things I liked about this film at all. His brash orchestral style is at full play here, & it plays wonderfully, even if the score did deserve a better film.

And the visual effects are nothing short of horrifically bad. How is it that the visual effects from Jurassic Park, which came out 25 YEARS AGO, look better than the visual effects here? They should have improved, not regressed. The CGI is awful, & looks like it was merely a bad pasting from Adobe Photoshop.

This is a very bad film. Although there were a couple moderately good things about the film that kept me from giving it a ½★, nothing else about this film was good. This is a huge disappointment, considering the people that are involved, but it's not a big surprise, either.

Also, the park is gone.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was seen by me at the MJR Troy Grand Digital Cinema 16 in Troy, MI on Thursday, June 21, 2018. It is in theaters everywhere. Its runtime is 128 minutes, & it is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence & peril.

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