Movie Review: Jurassic World: Kingdom (2018)

JW

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: One Day (2011)

One day

Plot: After spending the night together on the night of their college graduation Dexter and Em are shown each year on the same date to see where they are in their lives. They are sometimes together, sometimes not, on that day.

Mind-numbing, soul-crushing, depressingly dreary, the undeniable stupidity of the human – in particular female – race.

This quote from Perks of Being a Wallflower “We accept the love we think we deserve”. That powerful, terrifying and thought-provoking phrase surely indicates that Emma (Anne Hathaway) does not think she deserves a good man.  Emma meets Dexter on the night of graduation. It’s the typical – she crushed on him hard, he’s ignorant to it. He’s had everything given to him in life and is as a result more open to adventures than Emma. Jim Sturgess’ considerable charm is not enough to make rooting for Dexter plausible.

Dexter is beautiful, charming, affluent and a B-grade celebrity in One Day. He’s a jerk, he can’t keep his pants up, and he mistreats his dying mother and concerned father. The only thing good about Dexter is Emma, who for whichever reason remains his friend after rejections and indifference and an unhealthy dose of selfishness from his part. They remain friends for years. She struggles to bloom but eventually reaches her dream of becoming a writer. Dexter, in contrast, loses his B-grade celebrity status because everyone thinks he’s annoying and falls into pit after pit of despair. But no – Emma never realizes that she deserves more. She’s still caught in that University fantasy about the gorgeous man falling for her. No relationship ever works out for her because remains attracted to Dexter. His shitty personality is marginally better when he’s with her, but he only becomes fully saved towards the end of the film, and by that time I just couldn’t care anymore about him.

The script of this film is largely the cause of its’ failure. There is a constant lack of information. Dexter’s mother wants to tell him something, we actually never hear what it was. Is this the cancer she later develops? Is it to tell him she thinks he’s a piece of shit? We aren’t privy to that information and we don’t get to see how it alters Dexter. Dexter’s father is an unsuccessful attempt to be a stoic-but-good man. He’s grouchy and has some moments where he ekes out wisdom, but for the most part he’s an empty character that does nothing for the story. Emma has no family apparently. I didn’t even reach a well of sympathy or gushiness for these characters – the script doesn’t allow you to get there.

Dexter is completely insufferable. Have I mentioned this?! He is the typical and often seen privileged private school kid without morals. I can’t root for him on principle. Not all privileged kids are jerks, but this one certainly is.

Anne Hathaway does her best with Emma, she truly does, but Emma remains a bland, boring and pathetic character without self-esteem and an unhealthy dose of masochism. Anne Hathway can’t pass as a Brit. That accent is off, she rounds her words way too much, and she’s just so American.

I felt like I spent a decade of my life watching this film. It is barely more than one hour and thirty minutes, but so insufferable I’d rather have spent my time watching paint dry.

This film is a drawn out mess about a woman who believes she can save a jerk from himself. The truth is here and that is what irritated me about this film so much – no person can change another person. A person can only change him/herself.

The thing is, I also get platonic relationships that are borderline romantic or full of tension. We all do. There will always be a friend that has the potential for more but there is something holding either of you back at various times. It happens. I just can’t understand why Emma remains friends with such an unredeemable man.

I’m done with this review now. I really hated this film. There are some things that worked – the washed out tones look gorgeous particularly. Other things didn’t work – and most particularly those ugly damn boots Emma insisted on wearing all the damn time.

If you’ve seen this movie, let me know if there is a support group of traumatized watchers helping each other cope with the damage. If you liked it, please do tell me what you liked. I would be VERY curious.

Rating: 4/10