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My, how far the kingdom has fallen

This image released by Universal Pictures shows, from left, Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Isabella Sermon in a scene from the upcoming "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom". AP

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Rated B)

Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Rafe Spall, Jeff Goldblum

Genre: Science fiction/Action-adventure

Dwight’s rating:  Watchable

“Am I this loud?” I wondered, as I sat in the theater munching on my popcorn, trying hard to avoid hearing the loud crackling sounds surrounding me.

With each passing moment, that crackling became more thunderous. I realized it was coming from the gentleman seated in the row behind me. “Is he chewing with his mouth open? Or did he put a megaphone next to his bag of popcorn?”

Then it hit me! That’s not popcorn! This man has smuggled in a bag of roasted peanuts and is breaking them out their shells right behind my head! In the movie theater!

Talk about selfish, unnecessary, obnoxious and ridiculous!

As what sounded like clashing cymbals intensified, I realized “selfish, unnecessary, obnoxious and ridiculous” must have been the theme of the night, because what was happening on the big screen was even more annoying than the orchestrations of Mr. Peanuts.

On that big screen was “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”. And “Fallen Kingdom” might as well be the new motto of the “Jurassic Park” film series. Three years after a glorious and triumphant return with “Jurassic World” — the fourth and best installment since the franchise’s eponymous original 25 years ago — this new edition is an epic disgrace.

In my review for the refreshing and fun “Jurassic World” back in June 2015, after noting that the passage of time (14 years after “Jurassic Park III”), probably helped build anticipation and excitement for the new installment, I wrote: “But I urge (the producers) to rest the “Jurassic Park” series once again, at least a decade. Allow some memories to fade and technology to inevitably advance some more, so that even if the storyline won’t be entirely fresh, there may be something new and worth seeing on the screen. Hollywood, for your sake and ours, please take note.”

Ha! Like that peanut-cracking filmgoer, one can only surmise that selfish greed is at the heart of this lackluster, third-rate production, undoubtedly the very worst in the entire series.

Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that’s about to erupt. They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinosaurs, while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet.

Save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano? I’m sorry, but I’m sure even PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) would have thrown their hands up in the air while Usher’s song “Let It Burn” played in the background.

Co-writers from “Jurassic World” Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow (who also directed that film) are back as the screenwriters here. But this lazy and uninspired script must have been a rush job, as they’ve churned out something that would have probably been rejected as the storyline for a Batman or Spider-Man movie in the 2000s.

Actors Pratt and Howard, who were magical three years ago, are forced to take a back seat to some demented dinosaurs and the inexplicably plentiful and pathetic Bond-villain types populating this flick for some reason.

And while the series has always been a bit scary, “Fallen Kingdom” feels more like a B-movie (albeit with spectacular graphics) horror flick. It’s just all over the place, never landing anywhere decent.

The only saving grace is that it looks great. But it’s not like we haven’t seen this all before. And no amount of special effects can save it from its completely absurd and preposterous plot.

With the VAT increase, the price of movie tickets locally will be going up by 50 cents to $10.50, as of July 1. If you’ve got that to waste on this nonsense, go right ahead!

Otherwise, you’d do better to get yourself a bag of peanuts (or 10 bags). Find a place — preferably far away from people — and go to town. Imagine the peanuts are loud and annoying filmgoers (or screenwriters), and make like a dinosaur and bite down on them. That would likely be a more entertaining and rewarding experience than watching “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”.

 

  • Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email dwight@nasguard.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.

 

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