2018 Summer Movie Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Film Title: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) trains Blue in a flashback in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. (Source: Variety)

I enjoyed the first Jurassic World, which became one of the highest-grossing movies of 2015. Not only did it have good actors and fun suspense, I found it to be a touching tribute to the wonderful prehistoric world Steven Spielberg brought to the silver screen 25 years ago. However–some distractions did kill its magic. Not to mention the ridiculous moment when Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire runs around in high heels (as if they were sneakers). She goes on the run again, this time, in black boots, in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the latest from director J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible). Of all the blockbusters coming out this summer, this might be the most disappointing one so far.

After the dinosaurs wreaked havoc in the scientifically-advanced theme park, the owner Claire Dearing (Howard) and Velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) arrive at the abandoned Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs, despite the U.S. Senate ruling against the operation. Along with Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith), two members of Claire’s dinosaur protection program, the group notice the island is going to be wiped out by a volcanic eruption. They later learn about Eli Mills’ (Rafe Spall) plan after saving the genetically-engineered dinosaurs.

This movie, now becoming one of the highest-grossing films of this year (hitting over $1 billion worldwide), does have its moments. The scene on the island during the volcanic eruption early one is one of the best action set pieces you will see this year; with its gorgeous visuals (the dinosaurs look as great as ever), tension and Michael Giacchino’s thrilling score. The climax of the film really showcases Bayona’s talent as a filmmaker with its dark, Gothic atmosphere. But–if the best parts of the movie are the first and last acts, that’s not a good sign.

While Pratt saves the movie from being an absolute mess, the cast is trying way too hard in a story containing very little humor and a darker atmosphere. It’s basically a carbon copy of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, with Mills (who is a stereotypical villain) making the most powerful dinosaur on the planet while planning to relocate the dinosaurs with the help of Gunnar (Toby Jones). With little to no surprises, characters making stupid decisions, and the stupid twist involving Mills’ daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon), it falls short from being good. While not the worst in the franchise, it’s better than Jurassic Park III.

2/4

Advertisements

Movie Review: The Snowman

snowman-imdb

Harry Hole (Michael Fassbender) is trapped in a series of unfortunate events in The Snowman. (Source: IMDb)

The Snowman, based on Jo Nesbø’s best-selling novel of the same name, has the ingredients of a great thriller. They are: A talented cast, a talented filmmaker (Tomas Alfredson, of Let the Right One In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), edited by a legendary editor (Thelma Schoonmaker, who collaborated with Martin Scorsese for years), and it has an interesting mystery at its core. What could possibly go wrong?

The answer is simple: EVERYTHING!

Michael Fassbender stars as Harry Hole (I later found out it was pronounced “hol-eh”, not the correct English way), a police inspector of the Oslo Crime Squad. He is assigned to investigate a series of murders of women on the first winter’s snow Along with Katrine Bratt (Rebecca Ferguson), Harry uses his police skills to take down the killer, who keeps threatening him with letters.

Believe it or not, legendary director Martin Scorsese was attached to direct the film at one point until Alfredson took the director’s chair. I love a good mystery, and there is so much potential to be had with The Snowman. But–it doesn’t deny it from being an incoherent mess. One of the main reasons why the movie sucks is that Alfredson stated that a part of the screenplay didn’t make it into the film, causing him to rush production. According to The Playlist, he said, “It’s like when you’re making a big jigsaw puzzle and a few pieces are missing so you don’t see the whole picture.”

I did read the book prior to the movie’s release, and I enjoyed it. Comparing the movie to a good book, the film’s mystery hardly makes any lick of sense. None of the characters are interesting and the plot holes are massive.

Fassbender has been in a lot of great movies. Known for playing young Magneto in the X-Men films, a nasty slave owner in 12 Years a Slave (in which he received an Oscar nomination for), and the founder of Apple in Steve Jobs, I have never seen him play a character so dull and cliched. It’s clear from the beginning that he has a drinking problem and is a heavy smoker. The audience barely sees him do any police work that is considered great. With a supporting cast featuring Rebecca Ferguson, J.K. Simmons, Chloe Sevigny, Toby Jones, and Charlotte Gainsbourg, this is a such a wasted opportunity. Val Kilmer earns the strangest-performance-of-the-year award as a police officer whose involvement in the investigation is connected somehow. How can you not crack up at his overdubbed voice?

There is a possibility we will get another adaptation of The Snowman in the future that is worth watching. But–if you want to see a good Scandinavian thriller with a mystery that feels complete, watch either the original Swedish version or David Fincher’s version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They are both brutal yet keep you on the edge of your seat. The Snowman is just as entertaining as getting your wisdom teeth removed.

0/4