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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - 5 Reasons to Check It Out

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This weekend the long awaited sequel to one of the most profitable films of all time arrives in theaters. It’s a little movie called Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and it’s likely to take a big chomp out of the box office this weekend. Here are a few reasons to check it out on the big screen:

Jeff Goldblum makes everything better

Alright so there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that they brought back series favorite and all around rockstar Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Malcolm Lee. The bad news is that he essentially bookends the film in a glorified cameo.  Facing a council, he warns the world is facing of an impending apocalypse as a result of humans playing god with science. It’s a short but needed blast of nostalgia, and although his screen time is limited, I wouldn’t say his role is without substance. Photo: indianexpress.com

It’s Scary AF

Within the first few minutes of Fallen Kingdom, the audience is catapulted into a deep dark ocean where an expedition crew is on the hunt for dinosaur bones. The search is taking place beneath the original theme park on Isla Nublar, which is now partially flooded. As a storm rages, above the scene is intermittently lit with flashes of lightning from the surface—flashes that suggest something much bigger is down there with them. This ominous scene is a clear indication of what’s to come.

Director J.A. Bayona is an expert at shadow and light, a tactic that provides numerous shocks throughout. This is coupled with a very gothic element that tilts the film towards the horror spectrum. Though largely bloodless, there are a few grotesque attack sequences that rival even the darkest moments of Spielberg’s entries. Finally, the extensive cat and mouse game that spans most of the second half includes numerous hair raising set pieces, the most effective involving a monster playing a nasty game of hide and seek with a young girl.

It’s the Unintentional Sequel to The Haunted Mansion

Apparently, director Bayona prefers caging both his dinosaurs and his protagonists. Fallen Kingdom is a claustrophobic experience, often confining the actors and beasts in tiny spaces that require elaborate magic tricks to escape from. That said, it seems logical that the entire second half of the film takes place solely in a secluded mansion.  The large eerie structure is meant to house dinosaurs before they are sold off to the black market. Yes, it has a fairly large basement (in case you were wondering). Watching a mutated dinosaur tear through the hallways of an estate while chasing around Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt proves to be a very odd viewing experience.  Admittedly, the filmmakers get a lot of mileage out of all the secret passageways and dark corners, but repetition fatigue becomes a real issue after a while.  

Carnivores, Herbivores, Genetically Modified-vores Oh My!  

At this point in the franchise, it’s hard to believe there are any dinosaurs we haven’t seen yet—but that proves to be untrue. The ‘nice’ velociraptor Blue from the previous film returns as a central focal point to the story. There are also a few making their big screen debut for the first time. The first noteworthy addition is the nasty Baryonyx, which makes its grand entrance on the island while our heroes attempt to outrun corrupt military men and a steady stream of lava. Really a smaller leaner version of the T-Rex, the Baryonyx proves just as scary. Additionally, the film decides to rehash its genetically modified plot thread from the prior film and introduces a monster known as the Indoraptor. Fallen Kingdom builds off the concept that the world is not interested in regular dinosaurs as they’re far too boring. The IndoRaptor is the new benchmark of excess—a velociraptor on steroids. Engineered as a killing machine that responds to human command, it makes up for its lack of originality with a whole lot of teeth.

That Volcano Scene Though

The trailers for Fallen Kingdom have touted a scene in which a volcano erupts on Isla Nublar, the original home of the now dilapidated theme park. This set piece essentially sets up the film, as the first quarter of the action is devoted to the characters flying to the island to save the endangered dinosaurs before they are killed off once again. The entire sequence, which runs a good half-hour, is simply breathtaking. There’s spewing lava, roaring explosions of ash, dinosaur stampedes and much more. It’s a match made in IMAX heaven and worth the price of admission. You also get to watch Pratt outrun an exploding volcano (mic drop).  The special effects are top notch, the action is flawlessly executed and there’s an overarching intensity permeating every frame. This is the stuff of early Spielberg.

While Fallen Kingdom is noticeably inferior to its counterpart, it still provides some adequate summer thrills.

 

 

Contact Jim Teti at jteti@philly2philly.com

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Photo: indianexpress.com