Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

2018, Uncategorized

Dir. J.A. Bayona

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Rafe Spall, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, Toby Jones, BD Wong, and Isabella Sermon.

I have a huge amount of reverence for Jurassic Park. It was easily one of my favourite movies growing up. I had it recorded on VHS from a television broadcast, and I watched it constantly. I wore that tape out. That being said, when I saw the two sequels at the same age, I instantly forgot them. These were not movies that I had on repeat. When Jurassic World came out, I did really enjoy it. It played on the nostalgia I had for that first movie. Yes, it took me down a well trodden path, but one that I was happy to stroll down. Going into Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, I was worried that we would just get a re-tread of The Lost World, a film I have no reverence for. Smartly they’ve decided to take the franchise down a different path, but with all the possibilities available it’s surprising that this is the story they have chosen to tell.

We pick up six months down the road from Jurassic World. The dinosaurs are free, and have been left alone on Isla Nublar. Problems have arisen though when a dormant volcano on the island suddenly becomes active. Bryce Dallas Howard returns as Claire, who is heading a charity campaigning to save the dinosaurs from certain death. When government officials decide to leave the dinosaurs to their fate, Claire is approached by Benjamin Lockwood, John Hammond’s business partner who helped usher in the cloning technology. He has a plan to save the dinosaurs, and get them to a sanctuary. He needs Claire’s help to locate the creatures on the island. To rescue Blue, the last raptor, they will need to enlist the help of Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady.

The trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was perhaps the worst cut trailer I have seen all year. It seemed that it showed too much, but in fact it only showed footage from the first 50 minutes. It’s a shame though because this is defiantly a film of two halves, and for me the first half was more interesting, but I knew every beat before I went in. The second half of the film is baffling. It’s clear that they were keen not to repeat what has come before, and it’s commendable that they have laid the track for future entries, but I just can’t understand why they have chosen this particularly story to tell. The film changes tracks so abruptly from huge summer blockbuster to episode of Primeval, you’d think that the production had ran out of money. This all adds up to a soul crushingly dull cinematic experience.

I enjoyed the first half of the movie. It’s a logical extension, even if it’s the same plot as The Lost World. The set pieces are all excellently executed, the combination of animatronics and cgi are far superior from those in the first Jurassic World. There is some gorgeous imagery here, both awe inspiring and heart breaking. It’s all fun stuff, and Chris Pratt excels doing his best Indiana Jones routine. It’s a shame that all this, although enjoyable, felt so boring. If you had seen the trailers then there are no surprises for the first hour of the movie. The film pretty much climaxes at the end of this half. To the point that there is a clear moment for an intermission to be inserted. When the film resumes, the stakes have been reset. The scale is smaller. The tone of the film has changed, shifting from high octane action to small scale horror. It’s a bold move. It’s a move that doesn’t work. The elements of horror at the end of Jurassic Park worked because Spielberg had spent the whole movie teasing the raptors, but never showing them. Here we’ve already seen the raptors, we’ve already seen hundreds of dinosaurs, all with the ability to kill our protagonists. It’s all so predictable, even the film’s biggest twist is telegraphed from early on.

It’s by no means a poorly directed film. I think Bayona stages the set pieces well, and manages to draw tension from the settings. Where the film really fails is with its lead characters. Gamely played by Pratt and Howard, their return to the franchise largely feels unnecessary. There is no character development, and their scenes together are largely unforgettable. Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, and Ted Levine flesh out the cast, but they are caricatures of film villains. This is fine during the blockbuster spectacle, but when the film shifts to something more intimate the character work needed to be more nuanced. The repetitiveness of the beats of this film, and in fact, the entire franchise is starting to tire. There are too many scenes where our characters are faced with a snarling dinosaur, only for a bigger snarling dinosaur to save their lives by attacking it. The writers may have been trying to branch the story out in new directions, but they have created something which is both predictable and dull.

Fallen Kingdom is more like two separate episodes of the Jurassic World series stuck together. They are both so different in scale and scope. There are some well staged action sequences, and the film has to be admired on a visual level, it looks beautiful. They’ve looked to branch out in a new direction, but the surprise is that this is where they decided to go with it. The ending promises more to come, but it was a dull and predictable slog to get there.

4/10

The Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018 – Part One

2017, Uncategorized

2017 is drawing to an end, and so it’s the perfect time to look ahead at 2018, and see what movies will be filling our theatres next year. This article will be looking ahead at the most anticipated movies of next year. First of all, this blog is based in England, and whilst there are some movies coming out next year which I’m really looking forward to, they have already been released in the US. These films, such as Three Billboarda Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or Lady Bird, have been omitted from this list. They have already been received incredibly well, and this list is more about films where the anticipation is high, but we don’t know how they will turn out. This list might also be slightly heavy on the big blockbusters. Anticipation is a subjective thing, and it’s hard to predict how smaller, independent films will do. Get Out was one of my favourite films of 2017, but if you’d asked me in 2016 what I was looking forward to seeing, it wouldn’t have made my list. There are surprises every year, and I’m not trying to predict them.

Any way, 2018, there’s a lot of good stuff to look forward to. We have Marvel movies, Star Wars Movies, video game adaptations, auteur returns, and some original properties, all vying for the blockbuster crown. Here are our most anticipated movies of 2018…

 

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Black Panther

The first Marvel movie out this year, and the first Marvel movie in our list. Black Panther sees Chadwick Bosman reprise his role as King T’Chala, last seen in Captain America: Civil War. With Creed writer/director Ryan Coogler behind the camera, the trailer for this movie looks fantastic. It also serves as a lead in for Avengers: Infinity War, but more of that later.

Anticipation level: 9/10

 

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World was a huge hit. Whether you liked it it or not, there’s no denying it was a box office phenomenon. Whilst many felt it was the perfect mix of new and old, some felt it cleaved to close to the original, but with the world now reastbalished, Fallen Kingdom can now venture into uncharted territory. Yes, the trailer was awful, but apparently it only contained footage from the first act. So there are still plenty of surprises left in store.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Tomb Raider

Lara Croft Tomb Raider looks the perfect video game for a big screen adaptation, but, as we all know, it’s not that simple. Whilst some enjoyed Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of the titular heroine, those films were largely awful. Can Alicia Vikander break the video game to film curse? The trailer looks promising, and focusing on the grittier origin story of the most recent games seems to be a smart move. We’ve got our fingers crossed.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

 

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Isle Of Dogs

The first original property on this list. Isle Of Dogs is the new stop motion animation from indie auteur Wes Anderson. The story is set in Japan, and follows the tale of a boy as he goes in search of his new dog. The trailer showcases all of the style and charm that we are used to from Anderson, along with a fantastic voice cast. It’s also his first stop motion since Fantastic Mr Fox, which was great. So we can expect this to be another instant classic.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Any other Star Wars movie would instantly be a must see, but Solo comes with baggage. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired off the project only to be replaced by veteran film maker Ron Howard. Tracing the origin of charming rogue Han Solo, this could turn out to be great. We just wish we could see the Lord and Miller version, as we love their left field vision. We’re excited for this, but apprehensive too.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Aquaman

The next movie up on DC’s slate is Aquaman. It’s the first movie to be released after Justic League, and a reshuffle behind the scenes at Warner Bros. but that shouldn’t effect it much as it’s too late to change much now. It’s still got a lot going for it. James Wan is in the directors chair after showing he can do big budget with Fast and Furious 7, Jason Mamoa’s take on the character has been well received, and it’s stand alone, with the makers even saying that the under water dynamics which didn’t work in Justice League will be different in this one. Here’s hoping for the next Wonder Woman.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Mute

Set 40 years from now, and about a mute bartender in Berlin going up against gangsters to find his missing partner. Mute could be the sleeper hit of 2018. It’s Duncan Jones’ return to more personal film making after the disappointment of Warcraft. Starring Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd and Paul Rudd, it’s an idea which Jones has been teasing since Moon came out. We can’t wait.

Anticipation Levels: 8/10

 

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Ready Player One

Who isn’t excited to see a new Steven Spielberg movie. We can’t wait. Adapted from Ernest Cline novel, the film see’s a future where people escape the day to day by entering the Oasis. A virtual reality world. The creator of this world dies, but leaves behind an Easter egg which will grant the finder access to his fortune, and control of the Oasis. Mixing together a whole bunch of pop culture, including Freddy Krueger and a DeLorean, it’ll be great to see Spielberg play around with the pop culture he helped to create.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

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The New Mutants

Set within the same universe as X-Men, and directed by The Fault In Our Stars’ Josh Boone, The New Mutants follows the Fox playbook of experimenting with their properties, as seen with Logan and Deadpool. The film follow a group of teenagers struggling to come to terms with their mutant powers. So far, so generic, but The New Mutants is positioned as a straight up horror movie. The trailer teases the scares, but most exciting is how little we do know about it.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2

Following on from where they left us in 2004, 2018 sees the return of our favourite super hero family. Not much is known about the plot, but the teaser trailer shows that Pixar haven’t lost their touch when it comes to physical comedy. Pixar sequels have been hit and miss, but their reluctance to bring out a sequel to Incredibles makes me think they must have had a prettt good story to bring them back.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

So that concludes Part One of our Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018, tell us what you think in the comments below and keep your eyes peeled for Part Two.