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Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom Review (2018) | Running Out Of Stories?

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is an unserious take on dinosaurs, and more so interested in creating monsters and then lining up actors to play as baits. It has an impoverished storyline that will leave you unsatisfied with its dozens of plotholes having pointless motives that branch out ending up being daft. This part, in particular, is interested more in its horror bit than in telling a proper story. With that, it’s clear that we are not going to get a dinosaur movie we deserve. Unless, someone decides to reboot it completely, and paint it from scratch of course.

I don’t know what has happened to this franchise. Since when did dinosaurs become uninteresting? Nowadays dino movies have been reduced to mere cheap thrills. What about the magnificent vision, that mojo Steven Spielberg had so magnificently hit home when he had depicted a dinosaur on the big screen for the first time? Where did that gasp of being dumbstruck go? Where did that element of intrigue about a particular species disappear? Did we all, I don’t know, evolve? Is it really evolution when we are steering towards dumb?

The vision Michael Crichton held for the badass reptiles is gradually becoming extinct and you know it. People aren’t serious about it anymore. Hey! we are talking about our reptilian ancestors here. Don’t they deserve a calmer, dramatic and much powerful direction and storytelling? I think they do. Sadly Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is missing out on everything.

The Theme of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (Spoilers)

In terms of storytelling, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is everything that The Lost World was. So are we once again revisiting the age-old tale? Really? Are we out of stories to tell?

jurassic world fallen kingdom volcano wallpaper

There is that recreation of that trio from the second part. The same plot where all the dinosaurs are locked up and then the trio sets them free. The dinosaurs make it to the city which was basically what The Lost World’s ending pressed on. Except we are simply carrying Blue – the velociraptor, as the protagonist of the story here keeping the badass T-Rex as the big daddy in the backdrop.

Then there are many events taken directly from Jurassic Park. Like the scene of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) ending up paralyzed and then running alongside the herd of dinosaurs running from a herd here (calamity). Feels familiar Grant? The unoriginality of this movie compels you to shake your head.

Screenplay

Absurd as it might have appeared when we saw the trailers of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom with dinosaurs being put in the backdrop of volcanoes, it was clear the movie wasn’t really serious about narrating a grim storyline. That we were not going to get a movie that deserved a standing ovation.

The character Ian Malcolm played by Jeff Goldblum is a sidelined orator which was clearly in the movie just to draw eyes.

“Life finds a way.”

The screenplay for most of its part simply catapults what we had been listening over the years. Sometimes it tries to be funny, sometimes it is just pointless.

To get such a colossal platform to perform on, I think the writers should feel privileged and write something out of the ordinary. But with the flick’s writing, I felt they were more concerned about keeping things trendy.  So there is nothing profound lurking in any of it. Somehow I feel the prequel had much better writing in dialogues revolving around Masrani. It had a solid build up at least all of which is simply missing in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.

Action and Drama

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is all about fast-paced action. It does not stop to even breathe for a while. Things keep on happening one after the other. Volcanoes explode, dangerous dinosaurs show up within seconds, there is one bump after another and you just sit there watching people make close escapes. So for the most part of the flick, you are thinking:

“Phew! That was close!”

Baryonyx Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

But if you put on your thinking brain, it baffles you. Like what are the odds of a certain catastrophic event happening any second? The number of times things go awry feels just impossible.

Then you talk about its drama and it feels like a deliberate and fabricated attempt to create pang. There is no emotional touchup given to the characters of Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady. They are once again distant even though they are always running together.

The only good part in melodrama lies at the moment where we see a Brachiosaurus succumbing to a gradual death. It’s poignant and almost tries to paint a picture of what the dinosaurs might have encountered when struck by an asteroid. Its merciful crooning on being left behind will bring tears to your eyes. That bit is powerful!

The Antagonist

The latter part of the movie introduces its antagonist in the form of a hybrid creation of a hybrid we saw in the prequel – Indoraptor. With the creation of this new breed, you can’t help but wonder someone will come up with a hybrid of a hybrid of a hybrid, in the next part. Such lazy writing!

indoraptor in jurassic world fallen kingdom

The abomination is dangerous to look at as it combines features of both the Indominus Rex and a Raptor. Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom focuses more on how this newly created monster is smart as hell like a raptor and deadly at the same time when it comes to attacking someone.

The movie steps into the horror genre to give kids nightmares about a monster who they have always dreamt about. Yes, it moves slowly to terrify its preys before attacking it. Like really? Does it have a sense of horror? Do they let them watch TV in their cells? Why it’s not nimble when it comes to killing its prey?

What makes matter worse is the presence of a dinosaur trophy hunter named Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine). His decisions will make you go,

Why would anyone do that? How can one be so profoundly stupid?

There’s no real connection as to why he is shown in a badass light first and then taken away just like that. That’s another example of poor writing.

The Good Bits

It goes without saying a lot of work goes into making a dinosaur movie. That the dinosaurs are created from scratch and brimmed alive using VFX in such a beautiful manner that they appear akin to reality. There’s an insane amount of work that goes into it and every drop of sweat should be appreciated.

The movie presents a lot of unseen dinosaurs in a light we had failed to notice:

  • Stygimoloch “Stiggy” presents its headbutt power bringing a heroic angle to a dinosaur we had never heard about. Remember it’s different from a pachycephalosaur that we had seen in The Lost World.
  • Similarly, we see a Baryonyx here trying to sneak up on Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) and Claire
  • A Carnotaurus tries to attack the volcanic eruption escaping peeps, which is then later killed by a T-Rex. Rest of the dinosaurs have been reprised from the prequels and they all look pretty fantastic too.

There are some shots that are really good. Like that one shot of the silhouette of Mosasaurus that instills fear right away. Of a T-Rex in the shadows in the beginning, and the one that rams in the end from nowhere. The victorious Blue who is the only real hero this franchise has.

The Decisive End

Everything boils down to one decision in the end to whether or not give dinosaurs a chance to survive in our world. It would be the survival of the fittest and there’s no contradicting Darwin here.

One of the characters Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) is created out of scratch from Lockwood’s deceased daughter’s DNA just to press the button in order to justify the ending.

The movie leaves it at that leaving us speculating as to what is to come when dinosaurs and humans are compelled to co-exist. With that plenty of suspense has been left out before the curtain drops.

You can order Jurassic World Forbidden Kingdom here:

The Final Verdict

Acclaimed director J. A. Bayona has great movies like A Monster Calls and The Impossible under his belt. I don’t know what went wrong with him when trying to depict both monsters and a natural calamity. He somehow managed to screw both up.

Now that I think of it, it all used to be so good growing up. Now that we are all grown up we have become over-perceptive about things maybe. That could have made all the difference, I surmise. Or maybe these millennial movies genuinely suck. But we will never be tired of dinosaurs, will we be?

I hope the third installment rectifies all the mistakes, ropes in a more serious director to continue this badly presented tale.

Pete’s Dragon Review (2016) | A Beautiful Retelling of Petes Dragon 1977

Pete’s Dragon is a beautifully revived and embellished idea that had gone lost in humdrums of life. Disney digs up a lost tale, primps, preens and touches it and lo! It turns green. Green’s a pun-wink of course.

DIRECTION OF PETE’S DRAGON

Enchanting direction! The depth of David Lowery’s direction is simply mind-boggling. His images speak of a winsome quiet, a rare calmness that allows you to feel the warmth of every scene that he tries to show. It is not rushed and retains plentiful focus. It allows you to feast on the magnificence of his settings.

He manages to whisk it beautifully with Elliott‘s, the Dragon’s puppy like demenaour. His ideas can be read through his frames, those that canter on the strides of “What would be the next possible course of action?” He does a fine blend of what is plausible and whimsical and manages to elicit a stunning feat that looks good both in imagination and theory.

PETES DRAGON CAST

Pete’s Dragon brings in the vanguard Oakes Fegley of the Fort Bliss fame, cashes in on his forever seeking eyes. He makes his character quite endearing to watch with that sad comportment he carries. We see him in that mood often throughout the movie, and the yen in his eyes to be home, the longing in his eyes as he looks up searching for Elliott, will have you feel sorry for him on numerous occasions.

still of Oakes Fegley in Petes Dragon movie

Bryce Dallas Howard’s gargantuan affairs continue as she finds herself wrapped in the totem of another reptilian movie right after she did Jurassic World last year. She plays Grace, the lady who tries to help the lost boy in the woods. Her’s is quite a relatable character something you would love to do any day – care for a child who has no whereabouts of his family or, for that to matter, life itself.

Karl Urban as Gavin brings home that nefarious element to the Dragon tale, claiming his pointless right over what he finds and captures. His is a comprehensible role, that you can put a pin to, and get along with, given the circumstances.

Wes Bentley could be found so much engaged in his acting, that you don’t find him doing much in the movie. Robert Redford as Meacham has Dragon glories to share, and his thoughtful comportment will have you listening to him just as kids listened to him in rapt attention. Oona Laurence plays Natalie quite convincingly too, and supports Pete right from the moment she finds him.

THE GREEN FRIENDLY DRAGON ELLIOTT

still of Elliott and Pete in Petes Dragon movie

Last but not the least: The Dragon Elliott. If you have a thing for dogs, you are going to fall for it instantly. Elliot’s acts are just like a dog’s, with its postural manners, playful acts, seeking eyes; everything is going to put it into a contour of an adorable puppy. Its disappearing act comes straight from the 1977 movie, which Disney decided to go with. There are sporadic moments of tranquility when the green dragon flies to show nature at its true flair to Pete. Those images leave you with a sense of contentment. Love Elliott has is unconditional. But it becomes ungainly thoughtful too.

PIECES TO WATCH OUT FOR (SPOILERS FLYING AHEAD)

If you are in the right rhythm of the movie, there are some instances there that you cannot certainly miss. Like the time Pete ends up in town only to storm away in his rare window of opportunity. You can read him well in those fleeting instances where he is cornered by a pacifying Grace, as he howls, nay, wails in pain. That yelp is meant for Elliott but gets lost in thin air. It is so impactful that it will definitely hurl you towards a whirlwind of sympathy for the poor child.

I loved the direction where the falling of Pete with a thud gets followed up brilliantly by the waking up of the Dragon. You can almost feel their connection. Also, the way the movie begins, with that abysmal tragedy that has been so beautifully shown through Pete’s perspective inside the car. The book that Pete carries “Elliott Gets Lost” literally defines his life, and stays at all times, well complemented by the surreal creature.

The fact that the dragon sneezes a bucketful of mucus instead of fire brings home that elemental twist of humour that is laughable. But he is a dragon after all, and he can only take so much. That monstrous mien in the end is aptly fit and only once, just when things begin to head south. However, Disney doesn’t fail to celebrate Elliott with all the goodies, finding its soul to forgive it in a split second.

MUSIC OF PETES DRAGON

This is where the movie truly scores as well. Not only is the score simply soothing to the ears, but it constantly puts you in a room full of jocularity. It has beautiful songs well edited. Lowery places them in right areas that accentuate the theme of Petes Dragon further. One of the most gorgeous songs that the movie retains is the Petes Dragon Song by Bonnie Prince Billy the lyrics of which you can find here: Lyrics of Dragon Song. It will make you fall for it at once. So soothing and artfully written.

DOWNSIDES OF PETE’S DRAGON

If you pay attention to the CGI of the movie, it fails to touch the levels of culmination you might have had in your head, given today’s heightened age of visual effects. Elliott appears to be more fantastical and imaginary. It doesn’t have that primal realism feel to look at, like all those successful reptilian movies in the past that had so beautifully triumphed in visuals.

still of Elliott from Petes Dragon movie

You can’t also oversee the fact 6 years in the wild, and the child still behaves in normalcy. When he finds a group of people coming, he doesn’t run away in sheer fear, also puts things under clouds of doubt. His reaction on finding new things for the first time in town doesn’t get milked enough. He comes straight from the savage world. But still doesn’t carry that bewilderment gaze whilst running and hopping over things he had forgotten all about. Things like that don’t go overlooked when perceived from a pragmatic vantage.

Screenplay of Pete’s Dragon goes to and fro. At times drops us brilliant lines, then most of the times lets its characters speak from their eyes.

PLOT SHORTCOMINGS

Another downside stays with the plot of Pete’s Dragon. It is something you have been constantly fed when a misunderstood beast story is considered. So you see every bit coming. Pete’s Tale is a clichéd story likes of which we had already seen in the form of The Good Dinosaur that Pixar did last year.

But you can’t shake off its backdrop either. It is very plausible which makes it an interesting fiction. It is quite remarkable how every open end in its story gets conjoined.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Pete’s Dragon is a spectacular retelling of the tale that saw the light for the first time in 1977. It doesn’t go dark being a Disney movie, but subtly skips through that part (in the beginning). Petes Dragon incessantly capers around the happy theme that it intends to walk on. Of course, Lowery’s direction makes it all the way better.

If you don’t delve into the clichéd side of it, you are going to love every bit of it. If you are a kid, there is nothing in the world you would want than being bestowed upon a friendly dragon for a pup.

Petes Dragon carries a stunning amiable tone that is outright perfect for your kid. It goes without saying, it is great for the fanciful whims that lurk inside you. A highly recommended movie for everybody.

Check out the trailer of Pete’s Dragon here:

Jurassic World Review (2015)

Jurassic World gives you the nostalgic jitters. Colin Trevorrow is no Spielberg. Yet he tries to nail an awesome project into the right groove. Jurassic World is a constantly entertaining, at times dramatic, thrilling joyride into the lost dino theme. We are introduced to the most dreadful, villainous and invincible creatures of all times, Indominus Rex, the hybrid that manifests multiple traits. She is relentless, aggressive, highly intelligent and untamable and she kills for sport. Things look pretty bad right there, huh! Wait till you see the other pack of dinos that Jurassic World hatches.

The story of the movie is technically quite similar to the originals however it races in as a sequel to them. The plot is a little bit predictable but Trevorrow manages to unfurl it gorgeously at the right dire moments.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Dinosaurs are living things. They can communicate, understand each other, work as a team to topple the bad and avenge! Jurassic World runs on this very theme. It also exalts the brave, with Chris Pratt doing us the honours under the skin of Owen Grady, a relentless bad-ass who would do anything to save lives. A messed-up Claire played by Bryce Dallas Howard who thinks these animals are mere assets that don’t feel a thing, however has a change of heart at a later stage when she sympathizes with one. Two kids who are on their holiday to explore the park and a lot of tourists who are there just for fun. Irrfan Khan does a brilliant job as Masrani with his engaged acting. Vincent D’Onofrio too does a fine job with his character trying to milk opportunities. BD Wong has a short but powerful cameo and reprises his role as Dr. Henry Wu.

There are many Easter eggs in the flick that would throw you into the pits of nostalgia. Many references are made to Hammond and his mistakes, a revisit to the previous Jurassic Park place, the aviary aftermath with Pteranodons, ruthless Velociraptors, the red burning flare, the unflinching T-Rex and the deafening triumphant growl of the Rex everything simply takes you back in time.

Screenplay is well written if we concentrate only the first half of the movie. There are brilliant conversations between Masrani, Wu, Hoskins and Owen that pack in the dramatic quotient to the flick.

The movie however fails to revive the fear that all its prequels breathed on. Nobody is really afraid of dinosaurs. With Pratt doing ballsy stuff, you suddenly aren’t afraid of dinosaurs. Next thing you know even Claire goes on to summon a frigging T-Rex with a flare. We used to pee our pants with a Velociraptor around, and they are literally dancing with the dinos! Kids in the movie too don’t have much to do in the climactic scenes. Nature plays survival of the fittest once again and humans become mere spectators of destruction. In the end it boils down to teamwork and overpowering your killer instinct like valued lessons for humans which become a little indigestible.

After the attack of the Pterosaurs, the movie tries to dive into the dark from where things become a little shoddy. Editing goes a little poor there considering the classic frame cuts in the first half. Profundity in the characters of Claire and Owen loses its charm, and suddenly Owen is open for some Hoskins change. Claire’s change of heart has no gravity or a backdrop screenplay to nail the effect. There is no scientific rendezvous unlike its prequel. Also, sometimes you wish the family drama to be a bit engaging. Some flaws pop up too but apart from these little things the movie is a complete entertaining package into the past.

Watch and reminisce!