17 August 2018



I've watched the JURASSIC PARK movies and loved them since 1993 when they first exploded onto the big screen in a massacre of torn flesh and amputated limbs. I'll never forget Laura Dern in the first film grabbing gratefully onto some bloke's arm when she's being pursued by the dinos, only to discover that the arm is literally all that's left of the guy, whoever he was.

And remember when she turns Sam Neill's head around when he's in the car, so that he can see the Brontosauruses roaming free in John Hammond's Park, just like they did a bazillion years ago? Then there was Sam Neill freaking out old Mr. Hammond's snotty little grandkids by pretending to be getting fried by the electric fence. Serves 'em right, heh-heh-heh.

In JURASSIC PARK 2, there's the little boy who tells his sleepy, disbelieving parents that 'there's a dinosaur in the garden' and, in JURASSIC PARK 3, I always remember that scene where the boy who's been missing is crossing the fog-wreathed bridge and hears a rattly kind of noise. 'Mom?' he says hesitantly, just before the biggest, freakiest pterydactyl comes out of the mist. It may not be his Mom, but it's one big mutha just the same...

JURASSIC WORLD, which came out in 2015, was perfectly worthy of joining the canon of superb movies. It was a welcome return to the big screen of the franchise that reminded us all of exactly why we all love dinosaurs so much as kids and are fascinated by them even as adults.

Do you remember the story of the first JURASSIC WORLD movie? In a nutshell, the career-driven Claire Dearing, Auntie to two young lads she barely knows because she's so busy breaking through the glass ceiling, invites her nephews to her place of work, billionaire Simon Masrani's Dinosaur Park, much developed since old Mr. Hammond's time.

Is it a bad time to be finally inviting the nephews to her workplace? You could say that, as the park's newest attraction, the gigantic mutant Indominus Rex, has just escaped and is chowing down on the staff of JURASSIC WORLD as if they're snacks at a free buffet

Naughty Indominus Rex, lol, forgetting your manners like that. Use a napkin to wipe your mouth when you eat the staff at JURASSIC WORLD. It's not nice to be dribbling bits of Park Ranger down your chin in front of company...!

Sadly, the mopey, cellphone-checking nephews remain uneaten, thanks to the manly efforts of Chris Pratt's 'velociraptor-whisperer,' a hunk-and-a-half called Owen Grady whom Aunt Claire dated once but they broke up because he was an unambitious slob. By the end of JURASSIC WORLD, though, they're back in each others' arms, for good this time.

Or is it? For good, I mean. Well, the start of JURASSIC WORLD 2: FALLEN KINGDOM sees them broken up once more. Guess why? Go on, you'll never guess. It's because Owen is an unambitious slob, tsk tsk, content to live in his trailer and going from trailer-to-pub and back again, shooting some pool and drinking some beer along the way.

Okay, so they may no longer be a couple in the romantic sense but they do need to team up once more in this film for the sake of the dinos they both love. They're hired to oversee the removal of the dinosaurs from the ill-fated Isla Nublar- the dormant volcano on the island is dormant no more- to a place of sanctuary owned by a billionaire called Sir Benjamin Lockwood.

This utterly dreary and boring Lockwood fella is completely new to us, but the film-makers expect us to believe that he's been old John Hammond's partner in the dino business from the get-go. Hmmmmm.

I frankly was left kind of cold by the ineffectual Lockwood and his annoying 'grand-daughter'
Maisie, who is not what she appears to be. Big deal, huh? I could have done without the pair of them but I suppose the sanctuary had to be owned by someone.

Mr. Lockwood's unscrupulous underling Eli Mills, however, is secretly selling the dinos to foreign businessmen who want to 'weaponize' them and use them as, well, weapons, against their enemies. Like a breed of super-soldier, with very sharp teeth and tails that can kill with one deadly swipe. Mills made no more of an impression on me than his employer Sir Benjy, I'm afraid.

Aunt Claire, who's not required to do 'Auntie' duty this time around because her bored nephews are thankfully nowhere to be seen, appeals to Owen to help her rescue the dinos, including Blue, his favourite of the 'raptors he trained from a baby in the first film and still loves.

Aunt Claire is now a proper dino activist, by the way, and is no longer clawing her way up the corporate ladder. She's even founded a Dinosaur Protection Group. Her new status as an advocate for Dino Rights is indicated by her long loose ponytail and softer look overall than the rigorously disciplined one she previously sported in JURASSIC WORLD.

The dinosaurs are top-notch once more and the dino action as flawless as always. It's the humans who kind of let the side down this time around. There's not as much chemistry between Aunt Claire and Owen this time as there was before, and Chris Pratt somehow isn't as cool as he is in the first film. He's a bit more of a bumbling oaf this time around, unlike in the first film when he was coolness personified. A little softer and mushier round the edges this time, somehow. Still gorgeous, though.

There's not much humour in this second film either and there's a real shortage of funny one-liners like we've had in the other films. Remember Jeff THE FLY Goldblum commenting in the first film while gazing spellbound at a mountain of dino excrement: 'That's one big heap of shit...?' I still remember how the whole cinema laughed at that line. It was the bemusement in his delivery that did it.

There's nothing like that in JURASSIC WORLD 2: FALLEN KINGDOM. It's a much darker film, with some distressing scenes involving the dinosaurs that will depress the hell out of you if you're in any way sensitive to the plight of animals, even ones that have been extinct for a trillion years.

A silver-haired Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, the sexy scientist from the previous films, bookends the film with his dire pronouncements of doom upon the human race if something isn't done about the dinosaur population. He was never too keen on being eaten by a dinosaur, if you'll remember, any more than Sam Neill was.

Now, the dinosaurs are off Isla Nublar (I still get a nostalgia thrill whenever I see these words come up on the bottom left-hand corner of the screen) and roaming free on the mainland. Containing them will be a major problem. 

Jeff Goldblum's character, Ian Malcolm, foresees chaos and carnage, fierce and bloody carnage. I just want to know if they can mate and reproduce, the dinos, that is. That'd be wild, wouldn't it? If they do, Ian Malcolm will be the first in the queue to say I told you so.

I'll tell you what should happen in the next film. Aunt Claire and Owen should stay together this time and have a child of two or three by the time we meet them again. If they're to stay true to the plot of this 2018 film, they should have adopted Maisie, grand-daughter to the billionaire Benjamin Lockwood, by then, but I rather hope they don't.

Send Maisie and her dull grandfather Benjamin Lockwood back to the murky underworld from which they've come, please. If every film in the franchise is required by law to have a billionaire in it, bring back Simon Masrani from the dead. Now there was a billionaire who knew how to enjoy his dough.


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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