Movie Review: Jurassic World: Kingdom (2018)

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Plot: When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.

Jurassic World is a damn fine movie, even though it is technically a sequel and almost the 8th (under correction) of the entire franchise. It doesn’t suffer from repetitive writing and its success comes from the fact that the writers and directors knew that they shouldn’t spend too much time on Isla Nublar, and that they should move their cast as fast off the island as possible and continue elsewhere. There is also the considerable charm of Chris Pratt, as well as the beautiful and talented Bryce Dallas Howard, who returns as Claire, the previous operations manager at Jurassic World, and approver of the Indominus Rex.

It is three years after the destruction of Jurassic World, and the dinosaurs are facing extinction again. A volcano is set to erupt on Isla Nublar and take all the now de-extinct dinosaurs with it. Lobbyists are protesting the rights of the dinosaurs, and it is clear that the government does not feel that the dinosaurs deserve the same protection as other endangered animals. Some might say that you can’t really blame governments for adopting this stance. Dr. Iam Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is prepared to say that maybe the universe is sorting out this problem and correcting the mistake Jon Hammond made by making dinosaurs breathe again. Claire is leading a lobby group, and just when she thinks that the dinosaurs can be saved, the government says they are just not doing it.

She is given a lifeline when she’s contacted by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), Jon Hammond’s previous cloning and business partner. They had a falling out, and the reason is later revealed as a handy plot device which I won’t be telling you. Lockwood, aided by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) organizes a convoy to Isla Nublar to save some dinosaurs, and they enlist Claire’s help and that of Owen Grady (Pratt) to especially track the very intelligent Blue, the only remaining velociraptor on Isla Nublar. (They say Blue is the second most intelligent thing on the earth, and I disagree, he’s probably first and humans the fifth)

The convoy heads off to the beautiful and now smoking island, and ulterior motives from some are soon revealed. Double crossing and dangerous behavior is the game of the day and it is soon evident that the worst creature on Isla Nublar is in fact not any of the dinosaurs.

The support cast is fantastic. Justice Smith (as Franklin Webb) provided a number of hilarious moments with his complete freak out in any and every situation. It was a great decision to include this character and actor, and balances things nicely with the hyper-masculine Owen Grady on the other side.

Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez is a great addition and helpful to bring some female power to the group. She’s straight to the point and a genius and I really liked that she was so integral to the story while not getting some stupid love story to dumb her down.

Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood, granddaughter of Benjamin Lockwood, was adorable and managed to remain a big part of the story.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts a little choppy, and the hearings at government feels insincere, but it finds it feet fast as soon as the original duo take over the acting of the film. It is a much darker version of its predecessor, and much different than I expected. There are some moments where I really jumped and squealed and wanted to pack some dinosaurs in my backpack and run away. I don’t want to give too much away, but some of the villains are so creepy that they could have a spinoff and just be villains (well they could have had). There’s lovely footage in the film of Owen Grady bonding with Blue, showing the remarkable intelligence of the Velociraptor, and that was done beautifully. It is a strict reminder that animals aren’t cruel because they are malicious, their actions are nothing but instinct, whereas their human counterparts will eternally find ways to destroy and hurt anything “lesser” than them.

I still think Pratt and Dallas-Howard have zero chemistry, they seem terribly suited even in the film.  They just seem so incompatible and not really comfortable with each other. Big up to the producers who put Dallas-Howard in sensible shoes this time, and didn’t have her running around after dinosaurs in heels like in the first film, because the smack down they received for that took away from a really entertaining film.

The handy plot device is a clear move to keep our main characters morally clean in what happens towards the end of the film. Some might say it was poor writing and an easy out, and some may be right. However, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Fallen Kingdom is wildly entertaining, thrilling and a good way to keep the franchise alive.

Rating: 8.10

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Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

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Plot: Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.

Wheeew! Am I still alive? Yes. I just SO little drive right now to write blog posts. However, I am still here, still watching and reading things, and hopefully I will have some flexibility to write more often soon.

I liked Deadpool (2016). It was original, foul mouthed and different, and Ryan Reynolds obviously had such a blast with himself that it made for a super successful movie. The return of Deadpool was imminent, and while everyone flocked to the cinemas I didn’t see myself going – mostly because Johannesburg has become sub-arctic and I am either busy working or exercising these days (more on that in other posts).

Deadpool 2 was great. It kept the same politically-incorrectness, swearing, rude, offensive style as the first one, and improved in some ways.  The dialogue is sharp and witty and contains many gold moments from Thanos-lashing to Jared Kushner, and so sharp I think some jokes were missed by the crowd.

The new support cast is fantastic. Zazie Beetz as Domino is charming, strong willed and original enough. She’s a great female addition to the team and seems to have the strongest survival skills and street smarts. Her belief in herself and that she’s lucky is the perfect attitude and she proves herself very quickly.

Villain/Anti-hero/grumpy person Cable is played by Josh Brolin, who seems on a roll this year to traumatize superhero franchise everywhere. Cable is an excellent choice in this film, and he has a lot of depth as a man from the future who is arriving to sort out a problem. He is brutal, angry and has little time for Deadpool’s wisecracks. Also, let’s just face it – Josh Brolin looks incredible and is welcome to continue traumatizing franchises for as long as he sees fit. I’m not telling him otherwise.

Then naturally there is the addition of Ricky Baker Julian Dennison. Russel Collins/Firefist is a mutant who has suffered under institution and is ready for retribution to be meted out against those who have abused him for so long. Julian Dennison plays his role really well, and it even up until the very end you aren’t sure what will happen to this character.

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Returning cast members such as Morena Baccarin (Vanessa), T.J. Miller (Weasel), Karan Soni (hilarious cabdriver and would be assassin Dopinder) and Lesly Uggams (the blind and super sassy Blind Al) keep the movie intact as a Deadpool family affair. They are not as frequent in this film, with focus on some X-Men showing face (I have very little experience with that franchise), and the focus on Cable, Deadpool and Firefist.

Deadpool 2 is great. It sets up a network for a new bunch of films to make more money and is just different enough for the people who want a bit more bite to their superheroes. Ryan Reynolds remains a treat in this role, and he has enough of Wade Wilson in him to mock himself quite literally in some parts.

There seems to be some lazy writing juuuust at the end (if you are patient enough), but the film still works. I had a blast and my cinema seemingly too, and I can assure you, if there’s an X-Force film I will be there for it.

I’d never pass for 16, but kudos for the cinema for checking if we had anyone younger than 16 in our party (hilarious though), because it definitely isn’t something for children to watch.

Have you seen the film yet? Let me know!

Rating: 8.5/10