Movie review: Dinosaurs face uncertain future in ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

Although bringing dinosaurs back from extinction sounds really cool, in reality this would probably be a terrible idea. It would be an especially bad idea to create an amusement park filled with these dinosaurs and open it to the public.

However, that didn’t exactly stop the creators of the original Jurassic Park, OR the creators of the even more dangerous Jurassic World. In the new movie “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” people seemed to have finally learned the lesson that making a dinosaur theme park with real dinosaurs is a bad plan; however, dinosaurs still exist in this new world and now we have to deal with the aftermath.

“Jurassic World” was a surprise mega-hit in the summer of 2015, bringing the Jurassic Park franchise roaring back to the box office and earning $1.7 billion worldwide. Although not *quite* as critically beloved as the original “Jurassic Park,” the financial success of “Jurassic World” ensured that we’d be getting a sequel.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is sitting at 50 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and while some of the criticisms are fair, I personally enjoyed the heck out of this movie. Although the trailers for this one initially didn’t grab me as much as the trailers for “Jurassic World,” I had a blast watching this (well, at least the parts where I wasn’t terrified; the Jurassic Park series has never been the most relaxing franchise). ?

The basic story involves former Jurassic World operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) trying to save the dinosaurs left on the island, which is in danger of being destroyed by a volcano. Raptor wrangler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) reluctantly agrees to help her, and they join a rescue mission financed by Benjamin Lockwood, the former partner of Jurassic Park mastermind John Hammond. Of course, there are other forces working behind the scenes, and the rescue op turns into something more sinister.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” actually feels like two different movies. The first part feels a lot like “Jurassic World,” with an adventure on the island and the famous scene from the trailers of all the dinosaurs running from the exploding volcano. The second half of the film plays surprisingly more like a horror flick. Without giving away too many spoilers, most of the action takes place in a mansion, utilizing the sense of claustrophobic terror to great effect.

I will never complain about seeing Chris Pratt in a dinosaur movie, and his raptor from the previous film, Blue, is definitely a scene-stealer (baby raptor flashbacks = adorable). While Claire gets more to do in this film, her character still doesn’t have as much depth as I would have liked, and the character feels a little inconsistent between films. It also might have been nice to have some more nuance in the villain characters.

Portions of the plot do stretch plausibility, and I’m sure other reviewers/bloggers have already covered that in depth. Again, many of those criticisms are valid. However, sometimes I just like going to the theater and enjoying a fun summer blockbuster with a big bucket of popcorn, and that’s what this movie did for me. I just had fun watching the dinosaurs and returning to this world. And no matter how many times it happens, it’s always great to see the T-Rex arrive to save the day (I think the T-Rex is actually my favorite character in the franchise at this point). ?

I also appreciated that they touched on some deeper issues (though I wish they would have spent more time delving into these — and included more of Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm). Was it ever ethical to bring back dinosaurs in the first place? What should we do with dinosaurs now that they are here? Do they pose a threat to the survival of modern life? Should we let them go extinct again, or is it now our responsibility to treat them as a regular endangered species?

It seems like it’s a dangerous idea to just let the dinosaurs roam free, but neither does it feel right to let the creatures suffer and die. I didn’t expect to cry during this movie, but there’s a shot *minor spoiler alert!* of the characters having to leave a dinosaur behind on the island, when it’s clearly terrified and trying frantically to escape. That scene really got to me.

With “Jurassic World” opening to $150 million, it’s almost guaranteed we’re getting a sequel. I would like them to take a different approach and have the next (and possibly final?) “Jurassic Park” film go for more of a post-apocalyptic “Planet of the Apes” feel, like now these dinosaurs are back in the wild and our planet has changed forever. I’m placing my bets on the title being “Jurassic World: Extinction,” and it could be a great way to wrap up the franchise.

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