Monday, June 25, 2018

Jurassic World 2

This past weekend's Movie That Everyone Is Going to See was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to the spinoff to the trilogy that started with a book by Michael Crichton and a movie by Steven Spielberg. Though philosopher Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) makes a couple brief appearances unconnected to any of the other principal characters, the franchise continues to move on pretty much without the original cast. The exception is the mad scientist played by B.D. Wong, who has been part of the series since Movie 1. Notable additions to the cast include James Cromwell as the terminally-ill ex-partner of the original tycoon behind Jurassic Park (played in the original movie by Richard Attenborough); Geraldine Chaplin as his housekeeper; Rafe Spall as his secretly wicked man of business; Toby Jones as the evil auctioneer who plans a sale of dinosaurs as weapons; and Ted Levine as the leader of the mercenaries sent to "rescue" the dinos from an island that is about to blow up. Returning as the sexy hero couple are Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Synopsis-wise, the film is pretty simple. Pratt and Howard, along with a couple of younger characters, get hoodwinked into helping the bad guys save selected dinosaur species from a volcanic cataclysm. Unfortunately, the real motive for the rescue is not to create a dino sanctuary, but to sell one-of-a-kind monsters to whoever is willing to put up enough millions to buy them. The four good guys, joined by a little girl, fight back. All hell breaks loose in a castle-like mansion somewhere in the U.S. People get stomped and chomped. Other people get chased for all that they're worth, then have to face the ethical dilemma whether to let the surviving dinos live or die. And the nicest velociraptor fights that indominus rex thingy, which makes the tyrannosaurus look like a lap pet. A good time is had by all.

In scenic grandeur, tooth-and-claw action, and good guys vs. bad guys drama, this movie is not at all left behind by the four that went before it. Moreover, it leaves the world more Jurassic than ever. Three Scenes That Made It For Me: (1) After spending a night caged with a sedated velociraptor, Pratt wakes up and finds Howard sleeping with her cheek on his shoulder and her hand tucked inside his shirt. He slowly grins, then immediately fakes being asleep as she wakes up. (2) Everything that happens after the head-butting dinosaur gets loose at the auction. It's scary, thrilling and darkly funny all at the same time. (3) The little girl hides in her bedroom while something with huge claws stalks her: classic suspense.

The dinosaur effects in this series keep getting better. The chemistry between Pratt and Howard is priceless. And now they've got a cute little girl trailing after them. This series could become dangerous.

EDIT: My dad said the scene that moved him the most was the one where the brontosaur is standing at the end of the pier, trumpeting for help while the world burns around him, and the survivors watch helplessly from the departing ship. Yeah, I would have included that on my list, but the second half of the movie swept everything away.

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