Saturday, July 21, 2018

It Came From The Cineplex: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was written by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow, and directed by J.A. Bayona.

Connolly previously wrote Safety Not Guaranteed, Monster Trucks (which wasn't as bad as everyone said it was) and Kong: Skull Island (which I enjoyed quite a bit). Trevorrow previously wrote Making Revolution, whatever that is. Connolly and Trevorrow co-wrote the previous installment, Jurassic World (which Trevorrow also directed).

Bayona previously directed The Orphanage, The Impossible, Night Work, Seance and A Monster Calls. Can't say as I've ever heard of any of those.

The subtitle of this film— Fallen Kingdom— seems particularly apt. Jesus, has there ever been a franchise that's experienced such a consistent drop in quality? Jurassic Park was a bona fide classic of course, and one of the best blockbusters ever made. Unfortunately the franchise immediately went south with The Lost World: Jurassic Park, a film I absolutely hate and still don't own to this day. Then there was a slight glimmer of hope with the release of Jurassic Park III. I know it's an unpopular opinion, but I actually liked that film, as it felt closer to Michael Cricton's original novel than the first film did.

And then we had 2015's Jurassic World, which was advertised as a "soft reboot" of the series, but was in reality nothing more than a bland remake of the original film.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom follows the same formula, as it's pretty much a remake of The Lost World. Both films feel like two different movies awkwardly mashed into one. In both cases, the first half features an expedition that captures dinosaurs from the island for the purpose of exploiting them. The second half is then all about the dinos escaping and running amok in the U.S. They're literally the same goddamned movie.

I can't wait for the third film (Jurassic World: Jurassic World?), so I can see an updated and subpar remake of Jurassic Park III.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is without a doubt one of the dumbest movies I've seen in quite a while. 
The entire film feels like a series of setpieces and trailer moments, connected by the thinnest of vague plot threads. Nothing makes any sense, as scenes are edited together in no particular order, and characters somehow know important plot points only because the script says they do.

Say what you will about inept filmmakers like Ed Wood or Tommy Wiseau, but at least their terrible movies had a charm about them and were genuinely entertaining. Fallen Kingdom doesn't even have that going for it. It's stupid and inept with zero personality or charisma.

If you told me the screenwriters got the idea for this film by watching a little kid playing with a box of plastic dinosaurs, and dutifully copied down everything he did and said, I'd nod knowingly and say, "Yep, that checks out." It's like a Siffy Channel movie, but with a $170 million dollar budget.

But Bob, I hear you say, it's just a summer popcorn movie! You're not supposed to think, you're just supposed to turn off your brain and watch the pretty CGI. Don't give me popcorn movie. The original Jurassic World was a smart, well-written story with a clever scientific premise that still managed to feature plenty of action. There was nothing dumb about it. It's entirely possible to write an intelligent, competent summer movie. It just takes a little bit of effort on the part of the filmmakers.

On the other hand, why the hell should they bother? Films like this automatically gross MILLIONS, despite the fact they're idiotic and make absolutely no sense. Why knock yourself out sweating over a good script when you can sh*t out a subpar one that'll be just as successful?

Jeff Goldblum perfectly summed up my feelings about this movie back in Jurassic World.

In the end, it doesn't matter what I think of the film, or how much I mock it. Against all logic and reason, this piece of dreck has grossed over ONE BILLION dollars worldwide, with no signs of slowing down. In fact it premiered overseas two weeks early, so by the time it finally made its way to the States, it'd already earned a whopping $151 million. Jesus Christ, is their ANYTHING the general public won't sit through?


The Plot:
Three years after the first film, a group of mercenaries sneak into the remains of the Jurassic World theme park on the island of Isla Nublar. One of the mercs hacks into the grid and opens a pair of gigantic doors that lead from the ocean directly into the park's lagoon (What the hell? More on this later). A submersible pod putters into the lagoon, searching the bottom for the remains of the Indominus Rex— the genetically engineered dinosaur last seen in Jurassic World.

They locate its bones,and use the submersible's arms to saw off a rib. They attach a balloon to the rib and it floats to the surface, where it's recovered by a chopper. Even though it seems like this artifact will play a huge part in the film, it's barely glimpsed again. Suddenly a gigantic Mosasaurus attacks the submersible, swallowing it whole.

The tech merc tries to close the doors, but is interrupted by the appearance of a T-Rex (the same one seen in all the previous films, of course). He runs for his life and grabs a rope ladder dangling from the chopper. He barely escapes as the chopper lifts him away from the T-Rex's snapping jaws.

Just as he thinks he's in the clear, the Mosasaurus leaps out of the water and eats the tech merc. It then swims through the park's doors, into the open ocean. Uh-oh! Again, the amount of time devoted to this scene makes it seem like this is going to be a big part of the film, but the Mosasaurus isn't seen again until the final five seconds of the movie.

Smash cut to Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum playing himself), in a riveting scene in which he testifies before a Senate hearing. It seems that Isla Nublar's long-dormant volcano (which we've never heard about until now) has awakened, threatening the dinosaurs on the island. Malcolm reminds the senators that dinosaurs like to eat people, and strongly suggest letting the creatures die.

Meanwhile, Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), the former operations manager of Jurassic World, is heading the Dinosaur Protection Group in Washington. For some reason, she and her wide-eyed group of diverse millennials are fighting to save the dinosaurs on the island, with little success. So... how long has this volcano been threatening to erupt, anyway? Apparently long enough to organize a committee to save the dinos, I guess.

Unfortunately Claire receives word that the Senate's decided to let the dinos die. The activists are crushed by the news. Right on cue, Claire gets a phone call from reclusive billionaire Benjamin Lockwood, asking to meet with her.

Cut to Claire arriving at Lockwood's spacious mansion. As she waits in his private museum, she sees a small girl dart past her in the shadows (PLOT POINT!). She then meets the elderly, wheelchair-bound Lockwood (lethargically played by James Cromwell). Despite the fact we've never seen or even heard about him in any of the previous films, Lockwood was supposedly Jurassic Park founder John Hammond's bestest friend, and co-creator of the cloning technology that brought the dinosaurs back to life.

Claire's then introduced to Lockwood's aide Eli Mills (played by Rafe Spall), who we can immediately tell is evil and will end up betraying everyone. She asks him about the mysterious figure she saw earlier, and Mills says it must have been Maisie, Lockwood's granddaughter. He explains that Lockwood's daughter died in a tragic car accident a few years back, so he's raising her daughter as his own (BIG PLOT POINT!).

Mills says they're planning an expedition to rescue eleven species (why specifically eleven?) of dinosaurs from Isla Nublar before the volcano erupts. They'll then transport them to a secret island sanctuary, where they can live out their lives free from human interference.

Mills says there's a snag though. Blue, the Velociraptor from the previous movie, is the last of her kind and must be saved at all costs. Unfortunately due to her high level of intelligence, it'll be next to impossible to capture her. In order to do so, they'll need raptor expert Owen Grady. This explains why they've contacted Claire, as she was romantically involved with Owen.

Claire hunts down Owen (played by Chris Pratt), who's building himself a house in the wilderness. He refuses her generous offer to travel to an island full of dinosaurs and risk his life trying to save them, but after some "witty" banter between the two, he eventually agrees, giving him a reason to be in the movie.

The next day Owen joins Claire and her conspicuously diverse assistants, Zia Rodriguez and Franklin Webb. Zia's a "paleo-veterinarian," which is apparently a thing, even though she's never seen a living dinosaur before (???). Franklin's a typical computer hacker, who's ill-equipped to be on a jungle expedition.

The group flies to Isla Nublar, which is just minutes from undergoing a full-blown, violent eruption. They're met by Ken Wheatley (played by Ted Levine), the leader of a group of burly mercenaries (the same ones from the beginning of the movie?) who're there to oversee the capture of the dinosaurs. Amazingly, neither Claire or Owen are alarmed by the fact that Mills hired such an unsavory crew for a rescue mission.

Franklin uses his computer smarts to break into the park's control center, which needs Claire's hand print to start it all up (thus justifying her presence on the mission). Franklin locates Blue by detecting the chip implanted in her neck, which is apparently still functioning. Owen, Zia and the mercs head out to capture her.

They find Blue, and Owen uses his raptor-whisperer powers to calm her down, even managing to pet her. Suddenly one of the mercs shoots her with a tranq dart, and all hell breaks loose. Blue attacks a soldier, who shoots her with real bullets, wounding her. This enrages Owen, who attacks Wheatley. He shoots Owen several times with a tranq gun, causing him to collapse.

Zia grabs the dead merc's gun and points it at Wheatley and the others respond in kind, generating a Mexican standoff (Oh, sorry. Is that racist?). Zia reminds him that she's a dino vet, and if he kills her, Blue will die. Wheatley, whose orders are to bring the priceless Blue back alive at all costs, tells his men to lower their guns. He orders Zia to do everything in her power to save Blue's life. They return to the base, leaving the paralyzed Owen lying on the jungle floor for no good reason (???).

Just then the volcano erupts, and lava begins pouring into the control center. For some reason this shorts out the doors, trapping Claire and Franklin inside. They try to escape through a convenient tunnel that's in the room for absolutely no reason, but it's blocked by a Baryonyx (a smaller T-Rex-like dinosaur with an elongated snout). It runs through the tunnel and into the control room, but is separated from the humans by a curtain of lava falling from the ceiling.

Claire finds a ladder leading to the surface, and she and Franklin climb out into the jungle. The dinosaur tries to get through the hatch as well, but they manage to close it, trapping it inside so it can be burned alive by molten lava. So I guess Claire wants to save the dinosaurs, but only when they're not trying to eat her.

Meanwhile, Owen wakes up when a Triceratops (or something like it) begins licking his face. It runs off as a sea of molten lava approaches. Owen, who's still partially paralyzed from the tranq darts, rolls across the ground in a desperate attempt to escape from the lava. Even though he's literally inches away from it, somehow he doesn't burst into flame.

Eventually the tranquilizer wears off, and Owen bumps into with Claire and Franklin. Suddenly the volcano erupts for real, as huge chunks of molten rock rain down on them. They make a run for it, and are soon surrounded by a stampede of panicking dinosaurs.

They find one of the abandoned gyrospheres from the previous film, and Claire and Franklin climb in. Just as Owen's about to jump in too, an Allosaurus appears. Apparently it's decided to ignore the oncoming cloud of volcanic ash long enough to eat him.

It chases him around the sphere a couple of times, and finally corners him. Just as the Allosaurus is about to strike, it's attacked by the T-Rex, which is apparently also more hungry than scared. Sigh...

Franklin starts up the gyrosphere, which miraculously still runs (even though it's likely battery powered). It takes off across the plain as Owen runs after it, desperately trying to stay ahead of the volcano's rapidly approaching pyroclastic flow. Dozens of dinosaurs run alongside him as well.

Suddenly Owen's engulfed by the cloud of superheated gas and ash. He dies a horrible, agonizing death as the flesh is literally melted from his bones by the intense heat. Just kidding! He's perfectly fine, and actually manages to emerge safely from the cloud and outrun it.

Just then the sphere runs out of plain, and flies off the edge of a tall cliff. It plunges into the ocean far below, along with many of the dinosaurs. As the sphere floats merrily like a cork, Claire and Franklin can't believe they survived the fall. Suddenly water begins pouring into the sphere, threatening to drown them. They try to open the hatch, but of course it's stuck for dramatic purposes. Owen dives in and manages to shatter the glass, allowing them to escape in the nick of time.

The trio swims to shore, and Owen tells Claire that the "rescue mission" is a lie, and Wheatley double-crossed them. They spot Wheatley's men loading the dinosaurs onto a nearby ship. But... wasn't that the point of the alleged "rescue mission" they were on? How is loading the dinos onto a ship a betrayal?

We then see Wheatley approach a helpless dinosaur that's tied up on the ship. He takes out a pair of pliers, reaches into its mouth and yanks out one of its teeth as a trophy. This scene exists to hammer home the idea that he's not a nice man, and also to set up some extreme stupidity for later.

Owen sees Zia and Blue loaded onto the ship, and says they need to sneak aboard somehow— both to rescue their friends and escape the still-erupting volcano.

Claire spots a truck, and the three climb in. She guns the engine and somehow jumps the heavy truck off the dock and into the fleeing ship, all without any of Wheatley's men noticing (!). They watch in horror as a lone Brachiosaurus stands forlornly on the dock, bleating mournfully as it watches the ship pull away. It's then engulfed in flames, even though it could have simply walked ten more feet and stood in the water.

And with that the first movie ends and the second film starts. You think I'm kidding, but I'm being deadly serious here. Fallen Kingdom is two completely different movies mashed together.

We open on the Lockwood estate, where Mills meets with black marketeer Gunnar Eversol (played by Toby Jones). Eversol's there to auction off the rescued dinosaurs to interested parties, and is upset that the merchandise is late. He threatens to leave, but Mills says he has something incredible to show him. Maisie eavesdrops on the two from the shadows.

Mills takes Eversol to a secret genetics lab located deep beneath Lockwood's mansion. It's run by Dr. Henry Wu, who's somehow gone from bit player in the first film to main villain here. Wu's attempting to perfect yet ANOTHER new hybrid dinosaur, just like he did in Jurassic World. This time it's the Indoraptor. As it's name implies, it'll combine the strength and speed of the Indominous Rex from the previous film, with the intelligence of a raptor. Wait a minute... didn't the I-Rex already contain raptor DNA? Whatever.

Mills says the I-Raptor will be the ultimate military weapon, as we're apparently dredging up that plot again. Eversol's so impressed that he decides to go through with the auction after all.

Maisie sneaks into the underground lab and sees the dinosaurs for herself. She runs back upstairs and tells her Grampa Lockwood what Mills is planning, but of course he doesn't believe her and blows off her concerns. Is he secretly working with Mills?

Back on the boat, Owen, Claire and Franklin are reunited with Zia, who's trying to keep Blue alive. She says Blue won't survive unless she operates, and to do so she'll need dino blood for a transfusion. Since there are not other raptors onboard, Zia tells Owen he needs to collect blood from some other type of dinosaur— preferably a carnivore with no more than three fingers. WHAT!?

Owen and Claire hunt around the ship, and of course the only suitable dinosaur they can find is a sedated T-Rex. Wait... is this THE T-Rex from all the movies? Didn't it just save Owen a few minutes ago? How the hell did it get captured and processed so quickly? Did Wheatley's men grab it in the middle of the eruption, as giant chunks of molten rock rained down around them? Ughhhh, this goddamned movie's making me stupider just by watching it.

Anyway, they enter the dozing T-Rex's cage— which is completely unguarded, of course— and Claire draws its blood. This causes it to wake up, and it nearly crushes Owen before he miraculously leaps from the cage. They return with the blood, and with it Zia's able to save Blue's life. Hooray, I guess.

The next morning, Lockwood summons Mills to his room and accuses him of betraying his trust. So I guess he believed Maisie after all? Or did he somehow investigate Mills from his comfy bed during the night? Either way, why the hell did he wait till morning to confront Mills? Did he need a good night's sleep first? In an effort to keep the movie's stupidity level steady, Lockwood doesn't phone the authorities. Instead he orders Mills to "call the police on himself." Mills says he has a better idea, and smothers the frail, elderly man with a pillow. Damn, that's harsh.

The ship lands at what appears to be Lockwood's private dock, and the dinosaurs are loaded up and driven through a forest. The convoy enters a huge door in the rear of Lockwood's mansion (?), where the dinos are stored in a vast underground complex.

Jesus, how long did it take Mills to secretly construct all that? He must have been prepping for this action for years! And how'd he keep it a secret from Lockwood? Did he kill everyone who worked on it, like an Egyptian pharaoh?

Mills tells Wu he finally has his precious Blue, and to get busy cloning an Indoraptor. But we see that Wu's apparently already made a "prototype" Indoraptor. So... why the hell has does he need Blue, OR the I-Rex rib bone? Sigh... Anyway, Wu tells Mills that he's creating "art," and it can't be rushed.

Owen and Claire jump off the ship and sneak into the mansion. Unfortunately they're discovered by the mercs and locked in a holding cell. Mills appears and for some reason doesn't just shoot the two meddling dogooders. Instead he starts monologuing, explaining that he plans to sell off the dinos and become a millionaire (really, just a millionaire?). He excuses himself, saying he has an auction to attend.

Meanwhile, Zia and Franklin manage to sneak off the ship unseen, so they can return at a dramatically appropriate moment.

Maisie runs to Lockwood's bedroom and finds him dead. Mills enters, and stifles and evil laugh as he says he's her legal guardian now. She jumps in a dumbwaiter and gets away from the creepy bad man.

Mills and Eversol then welcome their wealthy guests to the auction. They're ushered into a room, where the dinosaurs are literally rolled out in cages like fashion models on a goddamned runway. Holy. Crap. The auction begins, and the guests start bidding.

Oddly enough, most of the dinosaurs sell for just $10 million dollars or less. Seriously? These things likely took BILLIONS to develop! And they're selling them that cheaply? Nevertheless, Mills chortles gleefully as he watches his Swiss bank account fill up.

Owen discovers there's a Stygimoloch (a medium-sized dinosaur with an armored skull) in the next cell, and gets an idea. He taunts the creature, forcing it to bash its plated head against the wall. Eventually it breaks through and knocks down the door of Owen and Claire's cage. It then conveniently runs off without attacking them. Sure, at this point, why not?

Owen and Claire run into Maisie, who's hiding down in the warehouse. At first she's afraid of them, thinking they work for Mills. Claire says, "It's OK, we're the good guys" or something, and apparently that's all it takes to win he trust.

At the auction, Mills gets caught up in the moment and wants to bring out the Indoraptor. Wu protests, saying it's only a prototype and isn't for sale. Mills ignores him, and rolls it out on the conveyor belt anyway. So how'd he simply push a button and instantly bring it out if it hadn't been planned? Jesus wept.

Mills brags that the Indorapter will replace clunky old human soldiers, as it's far deadlier and absolutely will not stop until it kills it's prey. He demonstrates this by pointing a laser-sighted gun at a man in the audience(?). When the I-Raptor sees the red dot on its victim, it practically tears its cage apart trying to get to him.

Wheatley and his men shoot the creature with tranq darts, and it finally collapses. Wait, back in the other movie, didn't Zia make a big deal about tranquilizer dosages, and how too much could kill a dinosaur? Ah well. Ignore all that for now. The movie has a stupid scene to set up!

The audience goes crazy over the Indoraptor, instantly bidding on the deadly animal. It's sold to a Russian agent for the ridiculously low price of $28 million. Suddenly the Stygimoloch bursts into the auction room, and begins comically butting members of the audience into the air like a cartoon billy goat. The guests flee the mansion in a panic.

OK, brace yourself. During the commotion, Wheatley unlocks the unconscious Indoraptor's cage and enters it. intent on pulling one of its teeth— just like he did earlier in the prior movie. He bends down and just as he's about to pull its tooth, the Indoraptor opens one eye and I'll be goddamned if it doesn't wink at the audience. This actually happens in the film, folks.

The Indoraptor strikes, bloodlessly biting off Wheatley's arm as it corners him in the cage. It then rips him apart as the camera chastely looks away. This movie's PG-13 after all, so we can't have any gore! Once that's done, it shrewdly nudges its cage door open and starts chasing after Eversol. Fortunately he manages to leap into an elevator and escapes.

Eh, not so fast there! The highly intelligent dino actually figures out how to press the elevator buttons and open the door! Yeah, you read right. It leans in and chomps on the shrieking Eversol's head, because greedy people are irredeemably evil and must all be punished by death.

Owen, Claire and Maisie dash through the basement, and literally run into Mills. He demands Maisie come with him, still claiming he's now her guardian. She says she'd rather stay with Owen and Claire, thanks. Mills twirls an invisible mustache as he starts monologuing again. For no good reason, he tells them that Maisie isn't Lockwood's grandchild, as everyone thinks. Lockwood was so distraught over the death of his daughter that he decided to replace her— with a clone. What the hell? This event is apparently what caused the rift between Lockwood and Hammond (more on that later too).

Obviously the revelation that Maisie's a clone is supposed to be a shocking, gasp-inducing plot twist, but it thuds to the floor like a sack of sour laundry and never comes up again. Seriously.

Just then the Indoraptor enters, and everyone scatters. It begins chasing Owen, Claire and Maisie through the mansion, in another drawn out setpiece that goes on for way too long. At one point Maisie's separated from the others, and runs to her room. In another example of extreme stupidity, she dives into her bed and under the covers. Because a thin piece of fabric ought to protect her from a ravening dinosaur.

The Indoraptor enters Maisie's room, senses her under the covers and slowly extends its claw toward her head, generating a trailer moment. Owen appears and distracts the dino long enough for Maisie to escape.

Meanwhile, Wu makes it back to the lab, where he orders his underlings to grab all the dino DNA they can and flee, so there can be a sixth movie. He also tells them to take the salvaged Indominous Rex rib to Mills for some reason. I still don't get why anyone needs this bone so badly when they've already made an Indoraptor, but I honestly don't care at this point. Zia tells Wu that Blue's useless to him, as she gave it a transfusion of T-Rex blood and it's DNA is now contaminated (?). She then lets Blue out of her cage, because the script says so.

Owen, Claire and Maisie climb up to the roof of the mansion to escape the Indoraptor. They carefully inch across the glass skylight above Lockwood's private museum. Unfortunately the I-Raptor appears and follows them. Just as it's about to strike— you guessed it— Blue appears and attacks. The two tussle for a few minutes, and eventually the Indoraptor falls through the skylight and is impaled on a Triceratops skull in Lockwood's private museum. I guess that's supposed to be ironic? Or something?

Just then there's a malfunction in the lab, causing a massive hydrogen cyanide leak.The deadly gas threatens to kill the dinosaurs still trapped in their cages. Franklin tries to override the ventilation system with his computer skills, but can't. Owen and the others watch helplessly as the dinosaurs begin choking to death.

Meanwhile, Mills tries to get away with his precious rib bone. He's stopped by a Carnotaurus in his path. He tries to edge away from the massive dino, but is then attacked by the T-Rex. The two dinosaurs gleefully pull him apart, because once again, greed is evil and must be severely punished.

Down in the lab, Claire can't stand to watch the dinosaurs die, so she hits a button that opens all their cages. The panicked animals then crowd into a narrow hallway, with a large door at the end— one that leads out of the mansion and into the world beyond. Claire reaches out to press the button that'll open the final door. Owen ominously reminds her they're no longer on an island, and if she presses that button, she'll change the world forever.

Claire realizes he's right, and leaves the door shut. She tearfully watches as the dinosaurs choke on the poisonous gas. I guess it's supposed to be sad, even though we all know Wu can simply make more if these die.

Suddenly the door opens, and the dinosaurs all file out. Everyone turns to see who just pushed the button, and of course it's Maisie. When Owen asks why, she says she had to do it, because the dinos are clones just like her.

What. The. Hell.

So thanks to the actions of one stupid-ass little girl, dozens of dinosaurs have just been loosed on civilization, and the world's changed forever. Who knows how many innocent victims will die because of her bone-headed decision. Thanks a lot, kid!

And believe it or not, that's pretty much the end of the movie! We then cut back to the Senate Hearing, where Ian Malcolm's still droning on. We see a montage of dinosaurs sneaking around in populated areas (including the Mososaurus chomping on surfers), as Malcolm gravely says the world's changed, and humanity has to evolve with it. He concludes by saying, "Welcome... to Jurassic World." Sigh...

There's a post credits scene, which is a first for a Jurassic Park film. I'm gonna go ahead and spoil it for you, to save you the trouble of having to sit through literally ten minutes of credits. It consists of several pterodactyls seemingly swooping around the Eiffel Tower in Paris. When the camera pulls back though, it reveals it's actually the Eiffel Tower Experience in Las Vegas. That's it!

• Jesus, where do I start?

• The opening scene is an absolute goldmine of inconsistency and utter nonsense.

First of all, we see two mercenaries in what appears to be a deep sea submersible, searching the Jurassic World lagoon for the bones of the I-Rex. Jesus Christ, how deep is this theme park lagoon? Did they really need a vehicle that can dive down 2.8 miles?

One of the mercs is nervous, as he's afraid of what they might find down there. His pal specifically states, "Relax. Anything in here would be dead by now." Wha...???

Of course this isn't true, as seconds later the submersible is eaten by a Mososaurus. And back on the surface, a Hacker Merc is chased by a T-Rex. In both cases, the men seem completely blindsided by the fact that there are still living dinosaurs on the island.

If the Hacker Merc thought the dinosaurs were are dead, why did he risk his life trying to close the lagoon doors? Why didn't he just leave 'em open and get back on the chopper before the T-Rex appeared?

And how the holy hell could anyone in this world possibly think the dinosaurs are all long dead? In the very next scene, Ian Malcolm appears before the Senate, advising them not to save the dinosaurs on Isla Numblar and let the volcano kill them. We then see Claire's heading an organization that's trying to save them. And the "Should We Save The Dinosaurs?" story is plastered all over the news and social media!

Did anyone proofread this script before shooting it?

Others have already pointed this out, but it's still worth a mention. In Jurassic World, the Mososaurus was housed in an artificial lagoon in the middle of the park.

There's no question about its location, as several overhead shots establish that it's clearly smack dab in the center of the island.

In this film, the lagoon seems to have magically changed locations, as it's now placed on the extreme edge of the island. There's even a big door in the lagoon leading directly out into the open ocean. Whoops!

Obviously the filmmakers moved the lagoon so the Mososaurus could escape the park, and figured the audience would be too stupid to notice. Or maybe they forgot what they'd already established in the previous movie.

Either way, there was no reason for the move. The scene sets up the Mososaurus as a huge threat to mankind, but once it escapes it promptly disappears from the movie. In fact it doesn't reappear in the open ocean until the final thirty seconds of the film.

One last thing about the Mososaurus: What the hell has it been eating for the past three years? The park's deserted, so there're no handlers to feed it on regular basis. Even if there were other species living in the lagoon, it's a relatively small space, so a creature the size of the Mososaurus would have cleaned it out after the first week.

OK, I think I've torn the opening scene a sufficiently massive new asshole, so let's move on.

• Did you enjoy Jeff Goldblum in the first two films? Welp, Universal's hoping you did, because the trailers sell the hell out of his return in this movie.

Don't let them fool you. He shows up for a couple of minutes at the beginning, and for a few seconds at the very end. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if he shot all his scenes before lunchtime. Hell, the photo above's in the film more than he is.

• Why is Claire so gung-ho about saving the dinosaurs from the volcano? They destroyed the park she ran in the previous film, she watched in horror as they slaughtered hundreds of people (including her hapless assistant) and they even tried to kill her. Seems like she'd have at least a little bit of a grudge against them.

• Early in the film we're introduced to Zia, a member of the Dinosaur Protection Group. She describes herself as a "paleo-veterinarian." A couple things here.

First of all, I realize this is some extreme nitpicking, but the word paleo means "older or ancient, especially relating to the geological past." So she's a past doctor? Wouldn't it have made more infinitely sense to just call her a dinosaur vet?

Secondly, Zia herself freely admits she's never seen a living dinosaur before (I guess she couldn't afford the admission price back when the Jurassic World park was still open). How can a person specialize in a field of medicine without ever having seen their subject? Sigh...

• According to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, John Hammond and Benjamin Lockwood were not only best pals, but they co-developed the technology that made dinosaur cloning a reality.

Yet oddly enough we've never seen Lockwood in any of the previous four movies. In fact he's never even been mentioned before!

Gosh, it's almost like the screenwriters wanted John Hammond in the movie, but couldn't use him due to the death of actor Richard Attenborough. So they just retconned an identical elderly billionaire character and inserted him instead. Lockwood even carries around a cane, complete with an insect encased in amber on the top end!

Anyway, the film tries to explain why we've never heard of Lockwood before by saying he and Hammond had a falling out. See, in the third act we find out that Lockwood was so upset over the death of his daughter that he cloned a replacement for her. Apparently Hammond disagreed with his actions, and that's what caused the rift between the two men.

Maisie the clone looks to be about twelve years old (which is the age of actress Isabella Sermon, who plays her), so she was probably cloned sometime around 2004. That means Hammond and Lockwood were likely still pals during the events of the original Jurassic Park, which came out twenty five years ago in 1993. So there's no reason why we've never heard of Lockwood before now.

I don't get why they didn't just recast the part of Hammond and be done with it, instead of awkwardly shoehorning in a brand new character. The Harry Potter films recast Dumbledore after Richard Harris died and everything worked out just fine. Why does Hollywood seem to have such a phobia about recasting roles?
• Not a nitpick, but an observation: Lockwood's aide Eli Mills is played by Rafe Spall, who looks distractingly like Jason Sudeikis. In fact I thought he WAS Sudeikis until I saw the end credits.

• Lockwood tells Claire he wants to rescue the dinos from Isla Nublar and relocate them to another even better island sanctuary, where they can live out their lives in peace.

If a perfect, non-exploding sanctuary existed, then why the hell didn't Hammond & Lockwood build the park THERE to begin with? Granted, Isla Nublar's volcano was dormant when they set up shop there. But if I had a choice between two islands, one with and one without a volcano, I know which one I'd pick.

I'm kind of wondering if there even was a sanctuary island at all, and Mills just lied about it as part of his plan. After all, Lockwood was too old and infirm to check out the place for himself, and had to rely on Mills' assurances that it was real.

• Boy, the studio sure wanted the audience to know they were watching a Jurassic Park movie. The minute Owen and the others step foot on the island, they're overwhelmed by the majestic sight of an enormous Brachiosaurus tromping past them. Remember the Brachiosaurus from Jurassic Park? Do you? Do you remember it? Here it is again!

• Even the dimmest moviegoer had to realize that Jurassic World was nothing more than a thinly disguised remake of the original Jurassic Park. That strategy worked out so well for Universal that they decided to repeat it here. 

That's right, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is pretty much a beat for beat remake of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Which is an odd choice, as it was generally regarded as the weakest of the original trilogy. Seems odd to remake a movie everyone hates, but what do I know?

Don't believe me? Let's look at just a few of the blatant similarities, shall we?

In The Lost World, John Hammond's sneaky nephew Peter Ludlow wants to capture the dinosaurs on the island and bring them to the mainland, where he can charge admission and thereby save the InGen corporation.

In Fallen Kingdom, Benjamin Lockwood's sneaky assistant Eli Mills wants to rescue the dinosaurs from the island before it explodes and bring them to the mainland, where he can auction them off to the highest bidder and become a millionaire. Pretty similar.

In The Lost World, a team of hunters and mercenaries round up the dinosaurs and cage them in large compound, before shipping them off to the States.

In Fallen Kingdom, a team of hunters and mercenaries round up the dinosaurs and cage them in large compound, before shipping them off to the States.

In The Lost World, the expedition is headed by Roland Tembo, a big game hunter who's obsessed with capturing a live T-Rex.

In Fallen Kingdom, the expedition is led by Ken Wheatley, a mercenary and hunter who's obsessed with collecting a souvenir tooth from each animal he captures.

Although their personalities differ, their characters perform the exact same function in each film.

The Lost World prominently features a Stygimoloch in several memorable scenes.

Fallen Kingdom prominently features a Stygimoloch in several memorable scenes, and its actions actually affect the plot.

Lastly, The Lost World is actually two movies in one— the first involves rescuing the dinosaurs from the island, while the second is all about them getting loose in mainland America.

Fallen Kingdom is actually two movies in one— the first involves rescuing the dinosaurs from the island, while the second is all about them getting loose in mainland America.

Honestly if you've ever seen The Lost World, you can safely skip this film and go see Infinity War again instead.

• I already pointed this out a few years back in my Jurassic World review, but it deserves a repeat. 

Back in Jurassic Park, the animated Mr. DNA explains how scientists were able to clone extinct dinosaurs. See, millions of years ago prehistoric mosquitoes routinely sucked the blood of various dinos. Some of these mosquitoes then became encased in amber, where they were perfectly preserved until the present day.

Scientists then found these fossilized mosquitoes and were able to extract the dino blood from them. They then used this blood to clone real live dinosaurs. Unlikely, but so far so good.

My question is: How the hell did a mosquito ever manage to bite one of these?

• At one point Wheatley objects to Zia coming along on the mission to capture Blue. She cockily reminds him that proper tranquilizer dosage is vital, as too much of it could kill Blue. After all, she's a "paleo-veterinarian," she somehow knows the safe dosage for an adult Velociraptor.

A few minutes later Blue's shot with a real bullet, prompting Owen to attack Wheatley. He shoots Owen in the chest with at least two tranq darts, and possibly even three. Tranq darts, mind you, that are designed to take down a freakin' dinosaur. 

If too many of these darts could kill a raptor, then the same should apply to humans. Owen ought to have been instantly killed.

• By the way, I'm very puzzled by Zia's motivation. Blue attacks a merc who shoots her IN SELF DEFENSE. This prompts Owen to attack Wheatley, who tranqs him IN SELF DEFENSE. Zia then picks up a real gun and threatens to kill Wheatley with it, um... because he just defended himself against a crazy man? I guess?

She then says if Wheatley kills her, she won't be able to save Blue, and then he'll be in troubllllllllle. So he takes her and Blue with him, and leaves the unconscious and paralyzed Owen for dead on the jungle floor.


Since Zia was already barking out demands, why didn't she insist they bring Owen along too, as part of her little deal? I guess she cares more about Blue than a human being?

For some reason, Wheatley leaves the sedated Owen in the jungle and returns to his ship. Owen wakes up just in time to see a wave of lava approaching him. Unfortunately he's still paralyzed by all the tranq darts, so all he can do is slowly roll away from the lava. At one point it looks like the lava flows completely over his right hand, and he uses his left one to pull it out of the flow! Somehow his hand isn't burned off or even slightly scorched. 

I... I don't even know any more.

• We get another example of Claire's fickle dino-motivation in the command center. When the Baryonyx breaks into the room, Claire and Franklin climb a ladder and escape through a hatch to the surface. The Baryonyx tries to get through the hatch as well, but Claire slams the door shut, leaving the creature to be burned alive by molten lava.

Once again, this is a woman who organized a group devoted to saving dinosaurs, and is on a mission to rescue and relocate them. But she has absolutely no problem killing them or letting them die when the script calls for it.

• When the Baryonyx enters the control center, the jittery, easily-startled Franklin "comically" shrieks like a tiny girl. Apparently the filmmakers thought this trait was hilarious, because they make him do it all through the movie.

This leads to the film's one and only genuinely humorous part. As the Baryonyx looms over them, Franklin looks up and of course lets out one of his high-pitched screams. Claire goes from staring up at the dinosaur to glancing over at the screeching Franklin, with a mixture of shock and disgust on her face. It's pretty funny.

• Remember "Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear?" Do you? Do you remember it?

• So the volcano erupts for real, and the panicked dinosaurs begin a chaotic stampede as they try to get away from the rapidly approaching ash cloud.

Every time I see the stampede scene, it reminds me of Devil May Hare, the very first Tasmanian Devil cartoon. You know, the one in which a big herd of animals are all running from Taz, and Bugs Bunny's trying to ask them what's going on and why they're running.

• Claire and Franklin find an abandoned gyrosphere and get in. Unfortunately Owen can't join them, as there's a gigantic Allosaurus in his way. It moves in to strike, and right on cue the T-Rex pops up out of nowhere and kills it.

Sigh... How many freakin' times is this franchise gonna use this "Character's About To Be Attacked By A Dinosaur, But Is Saved At The Last Second By The Appearance Of The T-Rex" trope? They've used it in EVERY movie so far, and amazingly it happens TWICE in this film! Three times if you count Blue saving Owen and the others from the I-Raptor!

• Claire and Franklin speed away in the gyrosphere, as Owen runs along behind them. He's desperately trying to keep ahead of the rapidly approaching cloud of volcanic ash, but is eventually engulfed. A few seconds later he somehow sprints out of the cloud to safety.

That cloud of ash is called pyroclastic flow, and it's composed of superheated gases and other volcanic matter. Pyroclastic flows typically travel at around 700 mph, and the gas inside can reach temperatures of about 1,800 degrees.

I'll let you decide whether Owen could both outrun or survive any of that.

• Owen, Claire and Franklin manage to sneak onto the ship, where they're reunited with Zia, who's still trying to keep Blue alive. She tells them she needs dinosaur blood so she can operate on Blue and save her. This little scene is yet another goldmine of stupidity and what the hell-ery.

First of all, Zia picks Owen and Claire to collect the blood. As a "paleo-veterinarian," one would think she'd be the better choice to find a vein and draw blood from a living creature, but whatever. 

Claire assures Zia she can handle the mission because she "did a blood drive once for the Red Cross."


Does the Red Cross really let volunteers with absolutely no medical experience stick needles in donors? I'm gonna guess no. No they do not.

Lastly, Zia tells them to get blood from a carnivorous dinosaur, one with "no more than two or three fingers." Eh, two, three, what's the diff?

Naturally, the only dinosaur they can find that fits the bill is the T-Rex. Um... need I point out that Tyrannosauruses and Veliciraptors lived about TEN MILLION YEARS apart? Physically they'd be about as similar as a duck-billed platypus and a sea cucumber. There's no way in hell their blood could possibly be compatible!

• Once the ship arrives in America, the dinosaurs are loaded up and transported to a huge warehouse under Lockwood's mansion. WHY? WHY WOULD MILLS DO THAT? Why would he bring dozens of incredibly dangerous animals into the place where he lives and works?

Why not just take the dinos to the sanctuary island (if it actually exists) and hold the auction there? That way when the dinosaurs inevitably get loose, they'd still be contained on an isolated land mass.

The reason for all this of course is that the script needed a way for the dinos to get loose on American soil, and the only way that could happen is if Mills brought them to the mansion. It's Lazy Writing 101.

• Amazingly, there's one clever and well-written scene in the entire movie. At one point Maisie watches videos of Owen filmed sometime before Jurassic World, in which he trains Blue and her pack of raptors.

His training methods are realistic, and the way Blue bonds with him seems totally believable. In fact this scene retroactively legitimizes Jurassic World, and makes me understand how a human could possibly command a vicious beast like a raptor. Well done!

If only the rest of the movie had been as good as this one scene...

• I pointed this out in the plot synopsis, but it's worth a repeat. In addition to constructing a vast holding facility under Lockwood's house, Mills also ordered up a conveyor system so the dinosaurs could be paraded in front of the buyers. 

This stage looks and operates EXACTLY like the runway at a fashion show. So much so that I couldn't help but laugh out loud in the theater. "Paging Dame Fashion! Next up on the runway we have a stylish Stegosaurus, wearing the latest in prehistoric armored plating. This sassy little dino puts the 'ass' in 'Jurassic!"

Also, does it seem odd that Mills would schedule the auction on the same day the dinosaurs were being lifted off the island? In fact it appears it starts just a few minutes after they're all unloaded from the ship. What would he have done if there'd been a storm or something to delay them? Would it have killed him to hold the auction a day or two later?

• So let's take a closer look at Mills' plan, shall we? He wants to combine the Indominous Rex from the first film with a Velociraptor, which will result in the deadliest creature the world's ever seen. He'll then sell this Indoraptor to foreign governments to use as a weapon.

Sigh... Again, I don't even know where to start.

First of all, in the previous film, the I-Rex was a hybrid, containing genetic material from many different dinosaurs, along with that of a few modern animals. And in a shocking third act plot twist, we learn it also contains Veliciraptor DNA!

So... he wants to take an animal that already contains raptor DNA, and add MORE? Why, exactly? Is he hoping that upping the ratio of raptor DNA will create an even meaner animal?

Secondly, in order to create the Indoraptor, Mills needs to obtain some very specific DNA. To that end, he sends the mercs to the island to recover an I-Rex rib bone, and Owen & Claire to bring back Blue.

But why? During the auction, we find out that Dr. Wu's already created a prototype I-Raptor! Mills even sells it at the auction! If Wu was able to cook one up, that means he already had a supply of I-Rex and raptor DNA on hand. That means there was LITERALLY no reason to send ANYONE back to the island. Of course if  he didn't, then the entire first half of the movie couldn't happen, so...

The writers seem to realize there was no reason to bring back Blue, so they offer up a lukewarm justification. Wu tells Mills he desperately needs Blue because, "To get the next iteration under control, it needs to form a familial bond with a closely related genetic link. It needs a mother! Blue's DNA will be part of the next Indoraptor's make up. So it will be genetically coded to recognize her authority and assume her traits. Empathy. Obedience. Everything the prototype you have now is missing."

In other words, inserting Blue's genes into the Indoraptor will make it as smart as her. Yeah, that's not how it works. Skills and intelligence aren't stored in your DNA. Wu could add Blue's genetic material to the Indoraptor from now till St. Swithin's day, and it wouldn't make her a bit smarter.

Thirdly, when Mills is showing Eversol around the lab, we see that Wu CLEARLY has a large supply of dinosaur DNA already on hand. So why would Mills send a team of mercenaries to an island that's about to explode, so they could capture dangerous dinosaurs and bring them back? Wu could have simply cloned as many as needed in the safety of his lab. 

Seriously, was there even a shooting script here? Or did they just make up the story as they went along.

• Speaking of Dr. Wu, the movie wants to make sure even the dimmest audience members realize he's now... well, if not evil, then at least morally ambiguous. 

In the original Jurassic Park, he was a good guy who combed his hair forward and wore a white lab coat. Now that he's become sort of a Bond villain, he slicks back his hair and consistently wears black. Thanks, movie! I would never have picked up on the change in his personality without your visual cues!

• This movie trots out the old "Lets Weaponize Dinosaurs" trope, that was touched on briefly in the previous film. Mills tells Eversol that it's not a new idea, as "We've been using animals in combat for centuries. Horses, elephants. The Soviets used disease-bearing rats against the Germans in Stalingrad."


This is a ridiculously bizarre comparison. Yes, horses were used in warfare, but as transportation only. They're domesticated animals that've been trained to follow commands. They don't go after enemies and murder them!

Elephants were used as transportation and trained to follow orders as well. They can be dangerous due to their sheer size, but nowhere near as deadly as a carnivorous dinosaur.

Comparing diseased rats to a crazed Velociraptor is just plain preposterous. 

• So let's talk about the Indoraptor. We're told it's been "trained," so that it responds to lasers. See, when you spot someone you want to kill, you pull out your laser-sighted rifle and aim the beam at your victim. The Indoraptor will see the tiny red dot on your victim's forehead, and tear across the room to attack it. Just like a cat.

But... but... WHY? If you've already got a rifle and you're pointing it at someone's head... why not just go ahead and pull the f*cking trigger? Why do you need a goddamned trained attack dinosaur at that point? Seriously, I'm getting another one of my sick headaches. I need to go lie down in a dark room for an hour.

• Once the foreign parties see the dinosaurs up close, they start frantically bidding on them. Unfortunately we're never given a clear reason why to why they want them so badly. Mills mentions using them as weapons of course, and I think it's stated that one of the interested parties is from a pharmaceutical company, but it's all pretty vague. 

I don't get why a drug company would want a dinosaur. Do they have unusually hardy immune systems? Is their blood some kind of miracle cure for various diseases? Your guess is as good as mine. Apparently the screenwriters didn't know either and just sort of glossed over the matter.

• My favorite part of the entire film is when the auction starts, and the various buyers begin bidding hilariously low amounts for these priceless, genetically recreated dinosaurs. I actually burst out laughing in the theater! Most of the dinos sold for $10 MILLION or less, even though they likely cost BILLIONS to develop!

Despite this, Mills seems delighted with the bids, rubbing his hands together and cackling with glee as he sees his bank account rise.

Jesus, a Mercedes-Benz Maybach Exelero will run you a cool $8 million. A genuine Stradivarius violin sells for around $16 million. And last month retired boxer Floyd Mayweather spend $18 million on a goddamned jewel-encrusted watch!

Hell, a couple years ago fans of MST3K raised over $6 million in a Kickstarter campaign to bring the show back for another season!

See the problem here? $10 million dollars just isn't that much anymore. Especially for an extinct creature that was brought back via the miracle of expensive genetic research. Realistically (!), the bids should have been closer to a BILLION, if not more!

• By the way, if these dinosaurs are so rare and valuable, why hasn't any foreign power or terrorist organization sneaked onto Isla Nublar and stolen them? We saw at the beginning of the movie that the place is completely deserted and totally unguarded. Anyone could just sail up to the island and take as many samples as they wanted.

• And then we come to the absolute stupidest part of this, or any film I've seen in many a year. While everyone else at the auction is running for their very lives, Wheatley decides he HAS to have one of the Indoraptor's teeth to add to his grisly collection.

To that end, he opens the door of the sedated I-raptor's cage and actually walks into it. He bends down to pull one of its teeth, and of course we see it's actually just playing dead, and attacks him. It then waltzes out of its now open cage, and terrorizes the cast for the rest of the film.

I don't even have the energy to sigh anymore.

Jesus Christ, this is worse than something you'd see in an Ed Wood movie. I audibly groaned during this scene, along with most of the audience.

As stupid as it is though, this scene is absolutely vital. It's the only way the third act can proceed. Without it, the movie would sputter and coast to a stop right here.

Hey writers, when the climax of your movie depends on a character doing something so laughably stupid that it makes the audience groan in disbelief, then maybe it's time to reassess your script.

• Late in the film we find out that Maisie isn't Lockwood's granddaughter at all. She's actually a clone of his daughter. This means that Lockwood perfected the technology to clone humans. 

This also means that Mills had access to this world-changing breakthrough. He could have used this technology to revolutionize the medical industry, replicating faulty organs and replacing lost limbs. Mills could have used this tech to rake in BILLIONS of dollars for himself, all from the safety of his office.

Instead he ignored the vast implications of human cloning and decided instead to airlift dangerous dinosaurs from an exploding island and sell them for millions. Smart!

• So Maisie takes it upon herself to open Pandora's box by unleashing the dinosaurs into the wild, radically changing our world forever. This is a big deal, one with massive implications. Unfortunately the filmmakers couldn't possibly care less about the issue, as it's immediately swept aside.

• I have to wonder if the filmmakers will have the guts (and the skill) to explore the ramifications of a world with carnivorous dinosaurs on the loose in the next film, or if they'll handwave away that concept in the first five minutes.

• Michael Giacchino scored the film, as he did the previous one. Oddly enough he doesn't use the Jurassic Park theme, until the end credits.

• For some reason, Guillermo del Toro receives special thanks in the end credits. Why, I have absolutely no idea. Del Toro produced The Orphanage, which was directed by J.A. Bayona, so that's the only possible connection I can think of.

Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom is a terrible, terrible movie, and one of the absolute dumbest I may have ever seen. In fact it's so dumb you will literally become stupider just by watching it. The script makes no sense whatsoever, as it's literally just a bunch of trailer moments strung together by the thinnest of idiotic narratives. It's inexplicably made over a billion dollars worldwide, so please don't contribute any more to it. Stay home and rewatch the original instead. I give it a C-, even though it probably deserves a D+.

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