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TAC Reviews..."An Adventure 65 Millions Years in the Making" - The Jurassic Park Films

 

Think about the wonders of science…now when I say “wonders of science” I mean by human standards, you live in a world in which things like time and space travel are just theoretical possibilities...but as your science develops it is opening the minds of the masses to greater and greater possibilities.

 

The Jurassic Park Films

 

Consider what would happen if your smartest minds focused their attentions on bringing back an extinct animal…could a mammoth be returned to life?? Or a dodo?? Or even a dinosaur??

 

This was the theme of the Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park in which scientists were able to resurrect extinct animals and establish a theme park in which tourists can come and see real life dinosaurs. The ideas of the novel were so interesting that apparently even before the book was finished the rights to the story had already been bought in order to make a big screen adaptation.

 

In this section I am going to take a look at all the movies up to date which include:

 

Jurassic Park

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park III

Jurassic World

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic Park

 

Based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park was released in 1993 and directed by Steven Spielberg. It features Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough as well as Samuel Jackson and B.D. Wong.

 

Jurassic Park Poster

 

Cast your minds back to 1993 when cinema was going through the transition from animetronic animals to CGI. Jurassic Park was one of the last films I know of that featured fully fictional animatronics animals that relied on puppeteers to manipulate them and give them life. It was also one of the first to use CGI creations so features a blend of physical and computer generated dinosaurs for the human characters to interact with.

 

If you aren’t familiar with the story I’m assuming you have been living in a cave for the last twenty odd years, so if this is the first time you are being introduced to this world then take hold of one of my clawed appendages in your hand and allow me to guide you through what is going on…

 

We start with a large container being loaded into a holding pen on an island off the coast of Costa Rica, things seem to be going smoothly until something inside the container manages to break away from the side of the pen. A worker is grabbed by whatever is inside and as his co-workers desperately try to save him he is killed.

 

A few cuts later and we find ourselves at a dig site with Dr Alan Grant (Neill) and his girlfriend/assistant/intern Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) digging up various focalised remains of velociraptors. They are approached by John Hammond (Attenborough) who wants them to come and visit a wildlife preserve he has set up and get their opinions. The agree after he offers to fund their dig and jet off to Costa Rica to the island glimpsed in the opening sequence. We also see Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) meeting with a sinister man who wants Nedry to steal embryos from the island in a specially designed container.

 

Once on the island Grant and Sattler meet Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) and discover that scientists have managed to do the impossible and cloned dinosaurs. The main scientist responsible is Henry Wu (Wong). Hammond has created a theme park complete with a tyrannosaurs rex, velociraptors and numerous other species of dinosaurs that are in different enclosures being kept in by electrified fences. The earlier accident in which the worker was killed has raised safety questions about the park and Hammond is hoping to get the endorsement of the experts so that the park can open to the general public.

 

Initially it seems that Grant and co might be bowled over by Jurassic Park but as Nedry sets his plan in motion to steal dinosaur embryos the park’s power shuts down, the electrified fences cut out, and the dinosaurs break loose…

 

In its day this film was completely mind-blowing the special effects combined with the animatronics were breathtaking. Spielberg was the perfect director to bring this to the big screen and to this day it remains one of the highest grossing films of all time.

 

The plot is basically the same as another Michael Crichton story Westworld in which guests would visit a futuristic theme park where they could interact with various robots of different villains both actual and fictional. The robots malfunctioned and started hunting down and killing the guests. In the case of Jurassic Park whilst the plot is very similar the idea of bringing dinosaurs back to life was truly inspired. The science is plausible so it does give a certain loose basis of fact to the proceedings and at the time lead to millions of film goers wondering if bringing back a dinosaur would actually be possible.

 

The cast are all on fine form and whilst I am not exactly sure if Grant and Sattler are together or not, the chemistry of the group of survivors alone and struggling to survive does create a lot of tension. This is not a bloodbath though, there are obviously characters that are killed by the dinosaurs but the deaths are generally played down in terms of their violence. Bushes tend to conceal attacks or the camera will cut away just after someone is devoured so whilst this film is not scary young children might be frightened by it.

 

I think that one of the biggest achievements of this film is the blending of animatronic with CGI, because although CGI has truly come on leaps and bounds in the last few decades there is something far more impressive about a practical effect. The scene in which the raptor is hatching in this film is made so much better because there is a puppeteer somewhere under the table making it move. It makes it seem far more real than if this scene had been done using CGI and that is the beauty of the effects in this film.

 

I honestly don’t think that there is much to dislike about this film, sending the one computer technician out alone to switch the power back on is a bit stupid considering moments later they say how hard it is to get the park back online alone. The main maintenance shed is on the far side of the compound when surely keeping everything together in the main building would have been far more sensible. The raptor pen is basically next door to the park’s main building when surely you’d want to keep the dangerous and intelligent raptors as far away as possible…still you humans have never been all that smart…

 

Honestly there are really only little niggles because Jurassic Park is one of the best films in recent years, it is flawlessly directed, the cast are all superb and of course the special effects are magnificent. Yes it has been widely acknowledged that the dinosaurs here are nothing life their true life counterparts but who cares??  If humans want to see a real dinosaur then do what I did, build a time machine, go back and check them out, but trust me stick with Jurassic Park because the dinosaurs here are way cooler than their real life counterparts.

 

It should come as absolutely no surprise that I am giving Jurassic Park a Thumbs Up mainly because I have been singing its praises for the entirety of this review but also because it is a truly amazing film that I think withstands the test of time.

 

 

9/10 – The idea of bringing dinosaurs back to life has been done a million times since this film, however, it was this film that started it all. It is a truly brilliant idea that was perfectly executed with great moments of tension and a very surprising rescue from an unlikely source.

 

TAC Reviews...The Lost World: Jurassic Park

 

With the success of Jurassic Park it was perhaps inevitable that a sequel would have to follow, and so in 1997 the second film Jurassic Park The Lost World hit the big screen with Steven Spielberg returning to direct with Richard Attenborough reprising his role as John Hammond and Jeff Goldblum returning as Dr Ian Malcolm. Vince Vaughan also joins the cast along with Julianne Moore and Pete Postelwaite. The first film followed the original book a little more closely whereas this film is much more loosely based on Crichton’s own sequel to Jurassic Park also called The Lost World

 

The Lost World Jurassic Park Poster

 

When leaping off a foundation as solid as Jurassic Park an attempt at a sequel would be a very difficult proposition, and director Steven Spielberg decided that he would be the one to direct a sequel after he hated what happened to the Jaws films after other directors took over the proceedings. Could the legendary director bring the same wonder to audiences as he managed to do in the original film??

 

In this film we learn that there was a second island that also had dinosaurs on it, it turns out that Jurassic Park was effectively the show room with all of the difficult genetic work done on Isla Sorna with the dinosaurs being raised for a few months before being moved into the park. A British family on a yacht cruise stumble across the island and it turns out that InGen, the company that built Jurassic Park, want to use the island’s dinosaurs to bail the company out of financial troubles.

 

Ian Malcolm is called to the home of John Hammond as it turns out Hammond has been trying to protect the island for the previous 4 years. The island was evacuated by the staff after the failure of the Park and the dinosaurs were simply released. The island now has its own ecosystem and the only way that Hammond can protect it is to gain a record of the animals alive in a human-free environment. Malcolm learns that his girlfriend Sarah Harding (Moore) has gone to the island alone and he sets off after her intending to bring her back safely.

 

Not long after Malcolm’s arrival on the island he finds Sarah, but a second InGen team arrives lead by game hunter Roland (Postelwaite) who start capturing dinosaurs intending to take them back to the mainland for a new dinosaur park.

 

Sarah and the others free the captured dinosaurs who destroy the InGen camp, shattering their communications equipment. Not long afterwards Malcolm’s trailers are attacked by a pair of Tyrannosaurus, destroying them both. The two teams are forced to band together because neither of them have a means of communicating with the mainland unless they travel inland to the old InGen facilities that should still have communications capability.

 

After managing to make it to the facility the InGen team return to the mainland with a star attraction for their new park, but history has a habit of repeating itself…

 

The idea of a second island and a team arriving to remove them back to the mainland was the focus of Michael Crichton’s second novel The Lost World and whilst that part of the story is intact we essentially get a retread of scenes that took place in the original. Of course there is now double trouble in the form of 2 T-Rexes, and the raptors are roaming the island. The mercenaries sent to the island are well armed but after the majority of their equipment is destroyed they are effectively lambs to the slaughter as the team fall victim to attacks from various dinosaurs.

 

With Jurassic Park there was a breakthrough in both practical effects combined with CGI, here the effects are more heavily CGI based than physical effects. It is easier to spot the computer dinosaurs than the animatronics ones and unfortunately as we have seen this effects before the dinosaurs don’t wonder as they once did.

 

I can understand why Spielberg would want to direct the sequel himself especially considering how poor the later sequels to Jaws became. Unfortunately we basically are just repeating a lot of the sequences from the original film, the T-Rex attack takes place in the rain and they effectively destroy vehicles like the one in the original did. The raptors again come into the film a bit later on when the team approaches the facility that they hope can regain contact with the mainland. The majority of the other mercenaries meet their ends here but what I find puzzling in one of the mercenaries who is shouting at them not to go into the long grass but proceeds to go in with them himself. The over head shot of the raptors approaching them through the grass is pretty cool but there is not a lot of new stuff on display.

 

None of this means that the film is bad, it is still pretty entertaining but I guess it is trying to carry an environmental message, as the dinosaurs are being captured we cut to Malcolm’s team looking sad as the animals are ruthlessly caged.

 

Is this another “Man is the real Monster” bullshit message?? 

 

Plus if InGen is planning on pillaging the second island for dinosaurs to put in a new park they have built in San Diego then why is the only dinosaur they manage to bring back probably the worst choice they could have made. Roland says that he is on the island so that he can hunt the greatest predator that ever lived, the male T-Rex. The female T-Rex attacks their camp resulting in the majority of the mercenaries panicking, running and ending up as raptor food allowing Roland to hit the male with two darts that render it unconscious. So InGen decides to bring a T-REX back to the mainland to be the star attraction of their new park…this is the moment in which I think this film lost a lot of its audience because after the boat transporting the T-Rex arrives they find the crew all dead and the dinosaur escapes into the city. Think King Kong if Kong actually ate people, and that is precisely what happens, we have a sequence of the T-Rex chasing down hapless inhabitants of San Diego and eating them alive. This is a step too far in terms of realism and like I said takes us into the realms of a King Kong film, personally I didn’t think this ending was that bad but honestly this is a bit silly and whilst it gives us the whole “dinosaurs need to be left alone” ending it is rather stupid having a T-Rex running around downtown San Diego.

 

Releasing the dinosaurs in the InGen camp basically results in a dozen or so men losing their lives, and seriously what is the harm in bringing a few herbivores to the mainland?? I mean what is going to happen if they escape?? A few trees will lose their leaves…oh the humanity…not leaves

 

This isn’t the worst sequel ever made but it is rather an unnecessary sequel, ideas that worked in the novel don’t necessarily work on the big screen. There was no real reason why this needed to be made as Jurassic Park was a great, and groundbreaking film that should have remained a standalone film. In my opinion The Lost World had some interesting ideas but the environmental message that “Man is Evil” has been done to death.

 

The direction is flawless and the acting is pretty decent, when he was first in Jurassic Park Goldblum was not really known for his geeky stuttering scientist performance, but since that film he tends to play that character over and over so we are not seeing anything new in terms of character evolution. His experiences on Jurassic Park are central to his desire to get his girlfriend away from the island as quickly as possible yet he still doesn’t call the mainland even after Roland’s team arrive to abduct dinosaurs.

 

The film left me feeling rather indifferent, it was not a bad film but of course it had the problem of following on from Jurassic Park and whilst it could have worked the special effects are more CGI than practical effects which is a shame. Following on from the first film was going to be a very difficult undertaking and if there was a director that could have done it successfully it would have been Spielberg. Unfortunately there is not too much to work with considering how the story was dumbed down for the screenplay, honestly, if it had followed the book more closely it could have been miles better.

 

On the whole it is a serviceable sequel but like so many sequels it suffers from being compared to the original film and when you are following a monster hit like Jurassic Park a sequel is always going to fall short of the original…I am leaving my Thumb Horizontal because The Lost World is alright but it is nowhere near as good as Jurassic Park.

 

 

7/10 – Decent acting and direction but the fact remains that some films should remain as classics in their own right that do not need or require sequels. Jurassic Park was one such film and as a result The Lost World is a sequel that was unnecessary and did not give audiences anything they had not seen before.

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic Park III

 

After the first pretty unnecessary sequel to the excellent Jurassic Park audiences received another rather unnecessary sequel in 2001 creatively called Jurassic Park III. Unlike the previous two films this one was directed by Joe Johnston with Steven Spielberg as executive producer. The film stars Sam Neill reprising his role as Alan Grant with a cameo by Laura Dern as Ellie, joining the proceedings we have William H Macy and Téa Leoni.

 

Jurassic Park III Poster

 

After the success of the first two films it was perhaps inevitable that the Jurassic Park films had not left our screen permanently. As we all know there is almost nothing that cannot be milked by Hollywood for a few extra pounds from its loyal fans. The Jurassic Park film series fell into this category and so in 2001 a new film hit the big screen simply called Jurassic Park III

 

So following the events of The Lost World everyone knows that there is an island off Coast Rica that contains dinosaurs, and naturally the island is restricted by the Costa Rican Government. However, this doesn’t stop people trying to use the island to make a few bucks out of the tourists. The film opens with a young boy named Eric (Trevor Morgan) and Ben Hildebrand  parasailing near the island when the boat beneath them is attacked by an unseen dinosaur and the two cut themselves loose landing on the island.

 

Since the events of Jurassic Park Dr Grant has become a celebrity and continues his work excavating dinosaurs. He maintains that the dinosaurs created on Jurassic Park are not real dinosaurs and that the real evidence of how dinosaurs truly lived is to be found in the fossils and not on the restricted island. He is approached by a wealthy couple Paul (Macy) and Amanda Kirby (Leoni) who inform him that they have received permission to fly low over the island and want him to act as their tour guide, after offering him lots of money, Grant agrees to go along with his assistant Billy.

 

After reaching the island the plane lands and Grant learns that the Kirbys are not wealthy and have come to the island to find their son. Joining them are three mercenaries, unfortunately the moment that they land one of the mercenaries Cooper is attacked by a huge dinosaur, a Spinosaurus, that also wreaks the plane and kills the mercenary with their satellite phone leaving the group stranded.

 

The group escape the dinosaur but are trapped on the island with no means of communicating with the mainland, they find Eric who has survive on his own after Ben was killed and to make matters worse the Spinosaurus seems determined to make them its next meal.

 

Like I said The Lost World was essentially an unnecessary sequel to Jurassic Park however it did have some original moments and the theme of using the dinosaurs to bail out the company was based on an idea that came from the Michael Crichton novel. This film is an even more unnecessary sequel and whilst it does have elements seen in the original Jurassic Park novel it is just another cash-in on the success of the previous films.

 

Acting wise the cast are not terrible, well with the exception of Leoni who does nothing but scream or speak in the same disinterested monotone throughout the film. Neill reprising his role as Dr Grant does firmly anchor this film in the canon of the previous films, however, he and Ellie are not together in this film. I wasn’t 100% sure if they were together in the first film but it was quite likely, the ending implied that now Grant has gotten over his dislike of children the two might be starting a family together. Here Ellie is married with a child of her own and whilst she and Grant are still close friends this seems a huge slap in the face to fans who wanted to see these two having a family.

 

The main dinosaur this time is the Spinosaurus takes over the role of the main antagonist from the raptors and T-Rex from the previous films. Once more this is a massive slap in the face to fans of the T-Rex because at one point the Spinosaurus and the T-Rex clash and the king of all dinosaurs is defeated. Now I am not entirely sure if this is one of the two Rexes that we saw in the second film or if perhaps it is supposed to be the baby Rex now a bit more grown up but who the hell wants to root for a Spinosaurus when we have spent two films watching the T-Rex?? Need I remind you that it was the T-Rex that saved Grant and the kids from the surviving two raptors in the climax of Jurassic Park so why has the Rex been supplanted for this wannabe??

 

The raptors also play a part here and track the group after Billy steals some of their eggs from a nest...which was a smart move on his part. This does lead to some interesting ideas that the raptors are not simply mindless killers and do not just kill for the sake of killing. A couple of them also have feathers and crests on their heads making them look a little more like their true life counterparts.

 

Again the film uses a mix of CGI and practical effects but as before the emphasis is more on the computer generated than the props which audiences are pretty used to by now.

 

The ending is also very, very abrupt.

 

That is the end of the review...thanks for reading...goodbye

 

 

See what I did there??

 

That was a red herring that I creatively used just to demonstrate how  Jurassic Park III’s ending just comes out of nowhere…and now here’s the rest of the review…

 

The group decide that the best place they can go to is the coast as the dinosaurs won’t be there…not sure why they decide that. I mean surely there were dinosaurs that lived by the sea Dr Grant so is going to the coast going to be the best course of action over say finding a facility so you can call for help?? Anyway they travel towards the ocean, at one point journeying downriver and travelling through the aviary in a sequence lifted straight out of the Jurassic Park novel. So they get closer and closer to the coast with the audience wondering what they are going to do once they get there, in the second film the survivors had to travel to an InGen facility to contact the mainland, so what are Grant and co going to do once they arrive?? Build a signal fire large enough to be seen from the mainland?? But that speculation was for nothing because they manage to get their satellite phone back again and it even still works after it has travelled through a dinosaur’s digestive system which is mighty convenient.

 

This film is yet another contender for my: Tried trinity syndrome stamp.

 

The film is simply going through the motions and does not do anything to add to the previous films, dumps us back on the island we saw in The Lost World and features a small story about parents trying to get their child back. A noble thing to do certainly but surely the authorities should have done something in the first place to stop the parasailing tour company from taking innocent tourists to an island where they might end up as lunch for dinosaurs. This company is not exactly subtle so why has no one done anything to stop innocent tourists being taken to a restricted island. Isn’t that the same as someone giving guided tours of the desert around Area 51 and the military doing nothing about it??

 

We learn that Eric has been surviving on the island for weeks and when his parents went to the authorities no one was bothered so they had to take matters into their own hands. Yet when it becomes known that Dr Grant is on the island suddenly the US military is dispatched to retrieve him. So a scientist is more important to the military than a child?? Plus once the group arrive at the coast there is helpfully a bloke standing right there waiting for them to take them off the island…did this film run out of money or something?? Or was everyone just eager to see this film come to an end after realising that is wasn’t going to be the box office smash that Jurassic Park was or even entertaining enough like The Lost World. Most films build up to a satisfying climax but here the ending comes out of nowhere and is more surprising than anything else in the film.

 

This is the unnecessary sequel to the unnecessary sequel but whilst The Lost World had a clear story focus Jurassic Park III just seems to be about dumping a bunch of people on an island and having various dinosaurs chase after them. Anyone that doesn’t get characterised is just dino-chow and there is a massive dinosaur that has a hard-on for the hapless group for no real reason.

 

Which direction do you think my Thumb is this time…if you guessed anything other than Down then clearly you don’t know me at all.

 

 

6/10 – This is a slightly above average film, there are some nice effects and there are a few different dinosaurs on display but on the whole this is just a pointless film. If you spread out elements of the two novels then you get the three films but Jurassic Park III is a lazy sequel to an unnecessary sequel to a great original.

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic World

 

Released in 2015 Jurassic World continues the series and is set back on the original island off Costa Rica and features a fully functional dinosaur theme park. The film was directed by Colin Trevorrow, and stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard with production being handled by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. D.B Wong returns to reprise his role as Henry Wu, the man who was primarily responsible for recreating the extinct animals of Jurassic Park. D.B Wong is not the only one from the original film to return, the T-Rex seen in this film is the same one that we saw in the first film.

 

Jurassic World Poster

 

Right so this series has basically gone the way of the Jaws films in the sense that the original was great, and the sequels declined in quality until they finally became truly awful by the end. It has to be said that there are very few film series that are still good or have anything fresh or original to offer an audience by the time it has been milked for sequel after sequel after tedious sequel.

 

Does Jurassic World break the mould??

 

Let’s find out…

 

We start off with an egg hatching (and in this opening sequence one of the big problems with the film is obvious but I’ll get on to that in a bit) and an eye peering out. We cut to two brothers that are going off to meet their aunt Claire (Howard) who works at Jurassic World, a fully functioning dinosaur theme park that has been operating on Isla Nublar (the island from the first film) for around a decade. The boys’ parents are going through a divorce so the kids are shipped off so the parents can see lawyers and such.

 

On the island we see that raptor trainer Owen (Pratt) seems to have established a rapport with the four raptors the island has bred as they view him as the alpha of their park. They are able to follow his commands and when a fellow employee falls into the pen Owen races in and is able to keep the raptors from attacking him and the other worker until both are able to get out of the cage. Owen is under pressure because Head of Park Security Vic Hoskins wants to use the raptors as military weapons but Owen believes this is a really bad idea.

 

Meanwhile we learn that the dinosaur we saw in the opening sequence is a new genetically engineered hybrid called the Indominus Rex. It was created because interest in the park is declining and every time a new dinosaur is revealed interest picks up again. Henry Wu (Wong) has created this new dinosaur but things take a turn for the worst when the Indominus Rex escapes it’s enclosure and Owen is forced to use the raptors to try and hunt it down and kill it…naturally things do not go to plan…

 

I think the hype for this film was centred around these two images…

 

 

But more so this one…

 

 

In the previous films the raptors were established as intelligent and cunning. In the first film they were the main antagonists, and whilst the focus did shift away from them in later films Jurassic Park III demonstrated that they wouldn’t necessarily just kill for the sake or enjoyment of killing. So in the trailers and images we have glimpsed a guy on a motor bike racing through the jungle with the raptors running alongside him and of course this set all of our minds racing about how a guy is riding with four raptors running with him. In Jurassic World the idea of intelligent and trainable raptors has been developed with Owen as the Alpha of the raptor pack, but he still has a healthy respect and fear of the dinosaurs. When the shit hits the fan and the Indominus Rex slaughters every human that is sent after it, wrecks the aviary allowing the pterosaurs to escape, the park employees are left with no choice other than to use the raptors to hunt down and kill it, hoping that Owen’s bond with them will keep them from turning on the humans.

 

It has to be said that the idea that a human could have bonded and imprinted with four raptors is insanely cool, and the ending is undeniably kick-ass, however, the film does have its share of issues too.

 

Remember when I said that the main problem with the film was seen in the first sequence when the egg hatches?? You’ve probably noticed that I have something of a consistent theme of the practical effects being replaced with CGI in these film reviews, and by Jurassic World there are next to zero practical effects. The moment the clawed hand reaches out of the egg in the opening sequence you know you are looking at something created by a computer. Just look at the two images below and tell me, which do you think looks like a real hatchling??

 

 

If you said the Jurassic World image then you are wrong...and an idiot.

 

The point is that in the first film the effort was there to make what you were seeing look as real as possible and because there were skilled craftsmen and women working behind the scenes the dinosaurs looked far more real than they do now. Creating something using a computer takes away any personality from the creature on screen, there are numerous examples that I could show you to demonstrate the point. As far as I am concerned it is always the eyes with computer generated creations, there is no soul behind a computer, so the creatures on screen reflect this. If there is a human being operating a practical effect then there is thought, and personality carried through to that creation making it seem far more lifelike. Really the only scene in which the dinosaurs look truly real is when a dinosaur is dying with Owen holding it, and that is because the dinosaur in question is a practical effect.

 

I’m going to stop banging on about that point now and talk about some of the pointless things seen here. Okay, now in all of the previous films there were children. I didn’t mention them in my reviews of Jurassic Park or The Lost World because basically they are there so the adults have something to protect aside from themselves. Adults can get killed left, right and centre and no one will bat an eye, but children…oh no…the children…nothing bad is supposed to happen to children…like an alien invasion and a fiery death…

 

Anyway the rescue of a child was basically the only plot that Jurassic World III had going for it, here the fact that the boys have been shipped off to the island whilst their parents get divorced is a subplot that is glazed over and really out of place. One of the boys is a dinosaur nut, his older brother is a bit of a dick who is more interested in smiling at girls than comforting his little brother during a difficult time. They are basically just there for the sake of it and are indirectly responsible for Claire’s assistant getting eaten alive. The divorce subplot is just pointless and has nothing to do with the rest of the film, it is basically just jammed in there to give the kids a reason to be on the island.

 

Plus the way that the Indominus Rex escapes from its pen is absolutely retarded. The pens themselves are very low-tech, unlike the pens and paddocks from the first park, there are no electrified fences that can lose power just thick walls, and overhead viewing areas. Claire asks Owen to check out the Indominus Rex’s habitat because they are worried it might not be secure enough, once they arrive they see claw marks on the walls which suggest the Rex might have climbed out. The thermal cameras do not pick up anything inside, so Claire races back to the control room to get them to check the Rex’s tracking chip which they do and it turns out the Rex is still in its pen. However by this time Owen and two dino-treats have already entered the enclosure. In the ensuing panic a worker dies and another opens up the pen’s door to escape thus allowing the Rex to escape. Claire is on her phone to the control room when they tell her that it is still inside its pen, so why the hell did Owen and the future dino-turds enter the paddock before checking to see if it was still inside the pen or not??

 

Now I’m on the complaints train, there is also some mystery regarding what DNA has been used to create the Indominus, as it was able to camouflage to fool thermal cameras and the naked eye. Also when the raptors are released to track it down, they confront it, communicate with it, and turn on Owen. The reveal that it has raptor DNA in it too is supposed to be a shocking twist, but it looks like a raptor, seriously did no one think that the genetically engineered dinosaur that looks like a really big raptor might have raptor DNA in it?? They also keep going on about how intelligent it is, but what are they basing that assumption on?? I mean how does it know that it can fool a thermal camera, how did it know to fake the humans out by making it look like it had climbed out of the pen?? The raptors turn on Owen so we basically just have a rehashing of scenes from Jurassic Park and The Lost World in which they hunt people down, but they very quickly switch their allegiance back to Owen for the final battle against the Indominus. Personally I think it would have been far more interesting if they had remained loyal to Owen the whole time because we were expecting them to turn on him and if they hadn’t it would have really cemented the bond that he has forged with them through mutual respect and trust.

 

Also how many times does some fucking idiot try to use something for a military application?? Weyland-Yutani has tried it numerous times with the xenomorphs and that has always ended well so why do people keep trying to turn animals into weapons in films?? It is never a good idea and not surprisingly Hoskins meets his end at the hands of one of the very animals he was hoping to use for the military.

 

However, I do think that bringing B.D Wong back as Henry Wu works really well, because experts have always criticised the dinosaurs portrayed in the Jurassic Park films saying that they are nothing like their fossilised remains. In this film they directly deal with this criticism when Wu says that none of the dinosaurs are true recreations, they are effectively all genetically engineered hybrids, because right from the beginning the scientists were splicing together DNA strands to create them.

 

There is also a very weird comic relief guy who works in the control room and seems to be trying to lighten the situation, when the situation is pretty dire so really it shouldn’t be lightened. I mean the park is being terrorised by the Indominus Rex, the pterosaurs have escaped and started attacking the innocent tourists, the raptors are out and have teamed up with the Rex…so yes, with all that going on, why do they throw in an awkward moment when he tries to kiss a female colleague when she is evacuated after he decides to remain behind?? It is just so out of place and is ultimately like the divorce subplot, it is there for the sake of being there rather than anything else.

 

The simple fact of the matter is though that like I said before the ending kicks ass…I won’t tell you what happens but it is so over the top, so stupid and so amazingly cool that it really makes me forget about everything bad in the film. This film is not as good as the groundbreaking Jurassic Park but fundamentally it is tremendous fun, the ideas are basically the same old same old, dinosaurs chasing people on an island blah, blah, blah, but that ending will leave you with a great big smile on your face. That is why despite the issues I have with the film it is getting a Thumbs Up because it has the balls to give us that amazing ending.

 

 

8/10 – There are plenty of flaws with this film but generally it manages to deliver the goods and serves to remind us why the Jurassic Park film was one of the highest grossing films of all time. It also helps to wash away the bad taste left in our mouths following the substandard Jurassic Park III

 

TAC Reviews...Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

 

The sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing respectively. D.B Wong also reprises his role as Dr Henry Wu. The director of the previous film Colin Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg are both executive producers with J.A Bayona sitting in the director’s chair.

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Poster

 

With so many reboots and reimaginings coming out it was a breath of fresh air to have a series of films coming out that are actually sequels to the original film series. Jurassic World was such a film and saw a fully functional dinosaur theme park in operation on Isla Nublar (the sight of the original Jurassic Park) which had been in existence for around twenty years, before it was overrun and destroyed by a highly aggressive and advanced hybrid.

 

Soon afterwards Jurassic World lies abandoned and in ruins. Once more dinosaurs have free reign of the island. A team of mercenaries sneak back to recover a piece of the Indominus Rex from the bottom of the lagoon and after recovering a fragment of bone they are attacked by the T-Rex and the Mosasaurus. Three members of the team do not survive but the others are able to return to the mainland with the bone sample, however, the door to the lagoon leading to ocean is not sealed allowing the mosasaurus to escape into the ocean.

 

Three years later the Isla Nublar volcano has awoken and is poised to erupt, the US Senate is conducting a hearing in Washington DC trying to determine if the dinosaurs on the island should be saved. The volcano will wipe them all out, or they could be moved somewhere else to ensure that they survive. Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum reprising his role from Jurassic Park and The Lost World) is testifying that the dinosaurs should be allowed to die. He believes that they should never have been cloned in the first place and the volcano erupting will correct John Hammond’s original mistake of bringing them back to life.

 

Meanwhile Claire Dearing has established the Dinosaur Protection Group in order to try and save the animals. She is approached by the former business partner of John Hammond, Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) who wants to move all the dinosaurs to a new island sanctuary where they can be left alone to thrive in peace away from human interference. In order to capture as many as possible before the volcano erupts Lockwood needs Claire to activate Jurassic World’s dinosaur tracking system and if they are going to capture Blue (the island’s last velociraptor) then they’ll need Owen Grady’s help. He and Claire are estranged but she is able to convince him to join the expedition to the island to rescue as many dinosaurs as possible.

 

Once they arrive they activate the tracking system and Owen is able to track down Blue, unfortunately the team that has gone with them has a far more sinister agenda than rescuing the animals. Lockwood’s aid Eli Mills has made arrangement to sell the dinosaurs to the highest bidders for use as weapons.

 

Owen and Co are betrayed and left for dead on the island, they manage to make it out alive but learn that the prize of Mills’ auction is a new hybrid dinosaur far more deadly and intelligent than the Indominus Rex ever was...

 

There is one point that really doesn’t have much to do with anything which I am going to mention first. Why have Claire and Owen split up?? It is established during the film that they separated at some point but they have feelings for one another, so why couldn’t they have gotten married in the mean time and be working for the Dinosaur Protection Group together?? I fail to see how the story would have been affected in any way if they had still been an item, it really bugs me that couples who get together in films are almost never together in the sequel, yet inevitably they get back together in the sequel, and if there is a third film have generally split up between movies two and three only to get together again in the third. The relationship between the two of them is so irrelevant to the story that you wonder why it was even mentioned, they could have parted amicably or decided to just be friends, but nope, we have to establish that they separated on bad terms and are now being forced to work together again.

 

This film takes the rather bold step of removing the dinosaurs from the island and whilst some do perish when the volcano erupts, naturally the dangerous ones are rescued with the herbivores perishing. One thing that I don’t understand though is why the pterosaurs haven’t left the island yet; I mean they can fly, so why do they hang around an island when there is nothing to stop them going anywhere they want?? It was established at the end of The Lost World that the pterosaurs are free so why do they wait until other dinosaurs have left the island before making their move and escaping?? The mosasaur escapes in the first few minutes of the film but is not seen again until the end making its presence pretty pointless, and considering it could potentially kill whales why doesn’t it have more of an impact?? I get that they have to change the formula of dinosaurs on an island but again in a rather puzzling move everyone seems to have forgotten that Isla Sorna is still populated by dinosaurs so why are they fighting so hard to protect the ones on Isla Nublar??

 

Taking dinosaurs off the island didn’t exactly work out when the T-Rex ended up running around downtown San Diego, moving them to another sanctuary is fair enough, but selling them as weapons...yeah, that is where you are taking a step into ludicrous territory. Not only do we have regular dinosaurs being bought by warlords, but we also have a new hybrid that has been programmed to hunt anything that is tagged with a laser. Remember when the Jurassic Park movies were about dinosaurs escaping and chasing people around on an island?? Those days are far behind us now people as we have dinosaurs roaming around on the mainland after they escape their confinement.

 

The bond between Owen and Blue is still present and we see how the two developed this bond in various flashbacks. Blue was always different to the other raptors, and smarter than they were. It really just heightens the reasons why the raptors shouldn’t have turned against him in the previous film. Anyway, Owen is able to find Blue and she is accidently shot by another mercenary resulting her needing a transfusion from the T-Rex...yeah don’t question it just go with it. Blue doesn’t really appear again until later on when the new hybrid, the Indoraptor is poised to kill Owen, and she appears to do battle with it. What pissed me off about this scene was that when Blue is fighting the Indoraptor, Owen uses the distraction to attempt to escape. Blue is risking her life to protect him and he is quite happy to leave her behind to die, it reminded me of the last film in which the Indominus Rex is fighting the three raptors and once again Owen leaves them to die (two of which are killed). During my life I have forged bonds with animals and if one of them was leaping into the fray to protect me I would be right there alongside it trying to protect it as it protected me.

 

There are other concepts explored in the film especially with regards to the technology used to clone the dinosaurs could also be used to clone humans.

 

The franchise has taken a turn into loopy town and I honestly have no idea where they are planning on taking things in the future. Keeping dinosaurs on the island is one thing but having them roaming around on the mainland is quite another. There is talk of a new world existing in which dinosaurs and mankind are going to have to learn how to live together, however, there is only one T-Rex, only one Raptor, and so there is going to be nothing for them to breed with meaning that sooner or later they will die off.

 

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is not necessarily as bad film but it takes the franchise into very uncertain waters, I am curious to see where they go in the future, so maybe this is just the weaker second instalment in the Jurassic World trilogy and the third one will wrap things up nicely. I don’t think I can give the film a Thumbs Up, but nor will I give it a Thumbs Down because it isn’t terrible, so I’ll leave my Thumb Horizontal.

 

6/10 – An alright edition to the new Jurassic World trilogy, however, it leaves a hell of a lot of hanging threads that may or may not be wrapped up in a future film. Jurassic World was still a better film, and unfortunately Fallen Kingdom just doesn’t have an ending as kick-ass as the previous film did.

 

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