When I heard about another Jurassic Park movie, I rolled my eyes. It’s like…how many times can you open a theme park with dinosaurs and then be surprised when the T. Rex escapes and eats the mean manager of the place? Now, I’m not a movie critic who just hates sequels. I had a lot of fun with the last Ghostbusters movie. When it came to this film though, I was more interested in the behind the scenes stuff. Laura Dern had been talking about how the relationship she had in the first movie with Sam Neill was inappropriate because of the age difference (in real life she’s 55 and he’s 74). A weird thing to complain about when they were colleagues and appreciated/loved each other for what they had upstairs. It’s not like a movie where a 75-year-old actor is with some gorgeous 20-year-old model on screen. After watching this, and seeing Dern and Neill become a couple again, I’m wondering if she has less of a problem with it because she looks old for her age, and he looks young for his. But enough about that, let’s get to the movie. You may have come for the dinosaurs, but stay for the flaming mutant locusts (which would totally be the name of my punk band, if I had one).
I was happy that they also brought Jeff Goldblum back, although not a single line he uttered worked, or was the least bit funny. I was also happy to see an actor I love – Campbell Scott (son of George C.) – as the brilliant/mad scientist.
Director Colin Trevorrow’s first feature film was the incredible Safety Not Guaranteed (seek out that indie flick and thank me later). Then he disappointed me with The Book of Henry, as well as Jurassic World. Now he’s behind the camera of another Jurassic movie, and who could blame him? It’s a big payday.
The opening sequence, which nicely sets up the premise, is fascinating. It made me think of the end of 12 Monkeys when all the animals were walking around the big city. Since dinosaurs have escaped their island enclosures, they’re out living with all the other animals (and people). So we start out being intrigued by a huge dinosaur walking by a logging company, or a little girl playing with a baby dinosaur, with a mama dino that wants to go all mama bear on her.
The whole black market for exotic prehistoric reptiles and dinosaurs didn’t work as part of this story, but I was really intrigued by the big evil Biosyn company, who we quickly learn have released these huge, mutant locusts to wreak havoc on crops that don’t use the Biosyn seeds (warning: I’m going to try to work in “mutant locusts” at least one more time in this review).
The other story that didn’t quite work is the fact that a mercenary group is looking for the teenage clone, Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). Her DNA holds many secrets that can make a lab like Biosyn a lot of money. She’s being raised by Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), and they’ll also have a few scenes where they go all mama bear to protect her.
Ellie Sadler (Laura Dern) flies to one of Alan Grant’s (Sam Neill) digs, so he can help her prove that the grotesque, mutant locusts are the result of Biosyn. Since her buddy Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) works there, they have an in. They’ll just waltz in, get a DNA sample, and head back home. Easy peasy, right?
There’s a scene in Malta that is action-packed, and feels better suited for a James Bond movie, but it was fun. There’s a pilot (DeWanda Wise) that is one of those tropes I hate on screen. It only worked with Harrison Ford in Star Wars. It’s that character that is (often a pilot) working for bad guys, making lots of money, but has a change of heart to help somebody and becomes an over-the-top hero. Yet watching Wise’s bad-ass demeanor on screen, made me wish we could instead watch an entire movie about her character.
In the third act, everyone is at the Biosyn facility, with nasty dinosaurs everywhere in scenes that bored me to tears but audiences will probably love. Perhaps because of all these movies, the sense of awe and wonderment watching these big creatures walk around tiny humans, just doesn’t pack the same punch.
I was pleasantly surprised with the adventure in Uncharted earlier in the year, and I thought of the scene in that movie where a Mercedes Gullwing flies out the back of a cargo plane while the bad guys hang on for dear life. There’s a scene in this movie that tops that, where Pratt is fleeing two angry dinosaurs on a motorcycle, jumps into the back of an airplane taking off, and the falling bike knocks one of the creatures into the ocean. It was incredible (although I couldn’t figure out how the dinosaurs didn’t get tired chasing a motorcycle, at about 50 mph, for about 3 miles through winding roads).
If you see the trailers for this movie and you want to see it, you probably won’t be disappointed. For those cynics who have grown tired of the franchise, your fears will only be realized if you go see it.
The movie is way too long at almost two and a half hours.
2 stars out of 5.