Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Rant

I went into Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom expecting an entertaining, brainless, B-movie romp with decent special effects. What I didn’t expect was how much the movie would piss me off in the end.

Allow me to explain. Spoilers ahead.

Oh sorry. Wrong picture.

Anyway, the plot is ripped straight from The Lost World of Jurassic Park.“Let’s save some dinosaurs in a preserve!” cry the tree-huggers who clearly haven’t witnessed these creatures trample and eat people. Or if they have, they somehow ignore that little fact. But some evil guys want to trap the dinosaurs and sell them to the highest bidder, which totally makes our heroes better people when they decide to set them loose. A little girl joins the two mains, and after a bunch of stuff on the island, the killer dinos then end up in the United States.

…Oh, and Ian Malcolm is back too, albeit in two cameos. That’s another glaring similarity.

The characters are generally less annoying than in Lost World, but one guy in the new cast makes up for that. Franklin, the shrill, screaming, constantly-moaning-about-who-talked-him-into-this twenty-something activist who hogs every scene he’s in with over-the-top reactions and whining. I think that he is meant to be comedic, but for all that I am willing to accept from fearful characters in danger, this gent is supremely annoying.

Pro tip: you can have an annoying character without thoroughly annoying your audience. It’s something of an art, but it’s not impossible, given a little thought.

The villain and plot are, as usual, predictable. I’d give the movie points for trying to hide it better than some of the Jurassic Park sequels, but basically it comes down to this: the rich guy is evil. It’s always the rich guy or the military guy, if not both of them. They don’t even have to do anything suspicious at first; you just know. Jurassic World has this in common with the Alien series, and quite a few other sci-fi movies, actually. We could use a shake-up in the formula.

Also, when did B.D. Wong scientist become such a jerk? He seemed nice in the original movie, but since Jurassic World, he’s officially on Team Evil. I guess you shouldn’t trust the scientists either…

The effects are okay. They’re about as good as its predecessor’s, and those were fine. Not Jurassic Park good, because the use of CG is too frequent and noticeable, but passable.

There are a few scenes reminiscent of the first Jurassic Park, which I admit I enjoyed a lot.

The acting is fine. Again, it doesn’t measure up to the classic Spielberg actors and their charisma, but it’s fine. I don’t want them to die at least, which is essential for drama and tension in any good story. There’s more “will-they-won’t-they” from Claire and Owen, but I can’t tell you how little I care about their relationship. It’s so low that it might be hovering near the center of the Earth by now.

A problem I have with the story is that it raises a few interesting ideas and then completely ignores them, opting instead for the answer you’d expect out of one of those really out-of-touch, militant vegans.  The film certainly knows that the dinosaurs are dangerous; it reminds you of this almost every five minutes once the characters reach the island. And yet it constantly also tries to make you feel sad for them, which accounts for the very few poignant, emotional moments in the story. The tone is all over the place, which is confusing, and much like in Lost World, the preaching about animal welfare from the characters often comes across as ignorant or whiny, as the dinosaurs trample, bite, and tear apart numerous people, some of whom I assume were just doing their job.

I can get behind putting some dinosaurs on a preserve island where humans can’t bother them and they can’t harm humans.  Now that they exist again, they might as well be left alone, supposing that they can be successfully contained. But once the dinosaurs are in California, and it’s a choice between letting them go extinct again or setting them loose in vastly human-populated land, the main characters allow them to go free and terrorize the night away… Well, Claire and Owen almost allow them to go extinct before the clone child they picked up makes the decision for them, claiming she “had to” for some unclear reason.

Yes, by the way, the movie brings up human cloning, and it sounds like it should be a big deal, but the characters barely react to it. It’s almost as though it was a pointless addition that served no purpose at all.

You can’t have it both ways, movies! You can’t keep preaching at me about playing God when you make thoughtless, blockbuster action thrillers entirely reliant on that premise and expect me to keep taking those preachings seriously! You’re clearly not going to stop anytime soon! And now you’re trying to push animal rights and welfare on us too, with the characters doing something utterly loathsome and reprehensible for the sake of these animals? I hope they get sued for every man, woman, and child that is harmed because they thought “dinosaurs are cool” was a good enough reason to commit mass murder.

I was astounded when they opened up the cages and gates to the holding facility. I love animals and believe in caring for and preserving them, but there is a limit to my compassion. There is a limit because, as far as scientists and behavioral psychologists can guess, animals don’t possess the same level of awareness and thought that we do. We don’t debate much about their potential souls or the nature of their existence. If this were to change, then maybe my limit would change, but at the moment, I value human life higher than that of animals, and so too, I think, do most sane people.

You might be able to cheer when “comeuppance” happens to the bad guys, but it’s a a lot harder to ignore when it’s heavily implied that hundreds of innocent people will die from this.

The movie doesn’t even bother to tie it into the clone girl Maisie’s existence or feelings in any way. She commits the heinous act, but we get no insight as to why or what this might mean for her or the dinosaurs up to or after what she does. About halfway through, the film does try to say that Blue the Raptor has amazing capacity for empathy and thought for her species, but that’s about it. Barely any set-up and no concrete payoff.

Basically I’m mad because I wasn’t here to think, God damn it! I was here to see dinosaurs chase people and destroy things; exactly what you promised me, movie! Why are you trying to make me think? And moreover, why are the attempts so half-assed?

4/10

*The images used in this post do not belong to me. Also, #NotAllVegans

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