East Penn Press

Monday, November 19, 2018

Movie Review: ‘Jurassic’ sequel World’

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Focus

A more forthright title for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” would have been “Jurassic World: Franchise Builder.”

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” sequel to “Jurassic World” (2015), is second in a trilogy, with “Jurassic World 3” set for 2021 release. Universal Pictures distributes the “Jurassic Park” (1993, 1997, 2001) movies, including “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

“Jurassic” World” Fallen Kingdom” repositions the franchise as a variation on Godzilla films where beasts are on the loose across the landscape and in cities. There have been 32 Godzilla movies produced from Japan beginning in 1954 and continuing through 2018, plus three American adaptations. Hollywood productions were released in 1998 and 2014, with two more set for release in 2019 and 2020.

There’s clearly a market for creature features. In this, Universal Pictures returns to its roots as a monster movie house (“The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” 1923; “The Phantom of the Opera,” 1925; “Dracula,” 1931; “Frankenstein,” 1931; “The Mummy,” 1932; “The Invisible Man,” 1936; “The Wolf Man,” 1941, and “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” 1954.) And who could forget 1955’s “Abbott And Costello Meet The Mummy”?

While “Jurassic Park” had lots of human drama, interaction and peril, “Jurassic World” has the peril, but lacks the human element. It’s a long way from the original Michael Crichton screenplay.

Director J. A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls,” 2016; “The Impossible,” 2012) moves the action along solidly, working from a screenplay by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World” director).

The dinosaurs are hauled away on a ship to a California estate (They’re not going there to stomp grapes at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.), following a volcanic eruption that destroys Jurassic Park on the fictional Isla Nublar, off the Pacific Ocean coast of Costa Rica. The ostensible goal is to save the cloned ancient beasts. The secret plan is to auction them off to the highest bidder.

Chris Pratt (flat as Owen Grady until he kicks into action), Bryce Dallas Howard (wonderfully adept in providing the movie’s emotional core as Claire Dearing), B. D. Wong (Dr.Wu), and Jeff Goldblum (Ian Malcolm, in what amounts to a cameo) reprise their roles.

Joining the “Kingdom” in supporting roles are Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Isabella Sermon, and Geraldine Chaplin.

There’s at least one great jump scare in “Fallen Kingdom” that made me jump in my movie theater seat. The depiction of the dinosaurs attacking, maiming and eating humans gets more violent, grisly and graphic as the film unreels. The Indoraptor, cloned as a battle beast, is particularly gruesome. The battle between the Indoraptor and Blue the Velociraptor evokes the Godzilla milieu.

The computer-generated imagery, animatronics and puppets that depict the dinosaurs is superb. The dinos seem so life-like. The movie is massive in scope and has several good set pieces, notably, the eruption of the volcano, the dinosaur auction, a scene at a diorama and dinosaur skeleton display that recalls the “Night At The Museum” movies (2006, 2009, 2014), and a sequence inside and on the rooftop of a castle-like Gothic mansion that recalls Universal Studios’ monster thriller-chillers.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” lacks the originality of the original released 25 years ago. And it doesn’t equal “Jurassic World.” It’s a good, not great, sequel that sets us up for the next, hopefully, even better sequel.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril; Genre: Science-Fiction, Adventure; Run time: 2 hrs., eight mins. Distributed by Universal Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: Stay to the very end of the “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” credits (Only two others in addition to Michael “Movie Maven” Gontkosky and myself did so at the sold-out 3D screening) to see pteranodons circling the Eiffel Tower replica on the Las Vegas Strip. Here’s hoping “Jurassic Park 3” includes Elvis Presley’s original version of the “Viva Las Vegas” theme song. Dancing dinosaurs in a chorus kick line. Now that would be peril.

Box Office, June 29: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” continued at No. 1 two weeks in a row with a stellar $60.9 million, $265.6 million, two weeks, keeping “Incredibles 2” at No. 2 with a still-strong $46.4 million, $440.6 million, three weeks, and holding off “Sicario: Day Of The Soldado,” opening at No. 3, with $19 million, and “Uncle Drew,” opening at No. 4 with $15.2 million.

5. “Ocean’s Eight” sank two spots with $8.3 million, $115 million, four weeks. 6. “Tag” was it for a two-spot drop, $5.8 million, $41.1 million, three weeks. 7. “Deadpool 2” slipped two spots, $3.5 million, $310.4 million, seven weeks. 8. “Sanju,” $2.7 million, opening. 9. “A Star Wars Story” zoomed down another one slot, $2.6 million, $207.6 million, five weeks. 10. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” $2.4 million, $7.6 million, four weeks.

According to Box Office Mojo, 2018 has posted the second-largest first quarter and a record second quarter, paced by a record April and June, with the latter month posting $1.2 billion in domestic box office grosses.

Unreel, July 6:

“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” PG-13: Peyton Reed directs Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, and Walton Goggins in the Science-Fiction Action film. Ant-Man and The Wasp team up for a new mission.

“The First Purge,” R: Gerard McMurray directs Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, and Steve Harris in the Scence-Fiction Thriller. The sequel is a prequel, explaining what led to the first Purge.

“Whitney,” R: Kevin Macdonald directs the Documentary about pop singer Whitney Houston that includes her, Bobby Brown, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and Cissy Houston.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes