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Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) Review

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Jurassic World Dominion

Time: 146 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing
Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler
Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm
Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant
DeWanda Wise as Kayla Watts
Mamoudou Athie as Ramsay Cole
Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood
Campbell Scott as Dr. Lewis Dodgson
BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Omar Sy as Barry Sembène
Justice Smith as Franklin Webb
Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez
Director: Colin Trevorrow

Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures.

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I was going into Jurassic World: Dominion only mildly interested. I’m not the biggest fan of the Jurassic Park franchise. The first movie is known as a classic and was highly influential for cinema, I liked it but wasn’t in love with it like many other people are. At the same time, I like all the movies in the series. The sequels are definitely flawed and aren’t as good as the first or even second movies, but I found some enjoyment in them. So I went into Dominion fairly open minded and expecting to like it, and I did.

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I had fun watching Jurassic World: Dominion but I had some issues with it, mainly the writing. You can tell that it really pitches itself as this grand and epic conclusion of the Jurassic Era, by that I don’t mean that it feels epic, but rather that it is trying to feel epic. Despite all that, Dominion doesn’t seem like a conclusion to the Jurassic World trilogy let along the whole Jurassic “Saga”, and it doesn’t feel like much has happened by the end. It is also very long at around 2 hours and 30 minutes, and by the end it just felt dragged out, messy and bloated. I think it does have a very weird plot for a Jurassic Park movie, even more so than Fallen Kingdom which had one half about saving dinosaurs from an erupting volcano and the second half a suspenseful mansion sequence with a killer raptor. Instead of it being isolated to one location full of dinosaurs, Dominion has a globetrotting and at times convoluted plot with so many subplots and too many moving parts. The characters don’t go through much development, it is just them moving from one place to another. The movie itself didn’t get off to a great start with its opening 30 minutes. 4 years had passed since the events of Fallen Kingdom and in its first scene it attempts to recap what happened since then. Whether it be with the returning Jurassic World characters, the original Jurassic Park characters, and the overall world, it just feels rushed and messy. The recap of what happened with the world is worst of all with a montage and a narration flat out telling you, the worst part is that they made it in the form of a NowThis video. The movie is pretty bad at exposition dumps, even if nothing is as bad as that opening monologue. Exposition aside, the dialogue is awkward much like the previous Jurassic World movies. The worst cases are with some of the dialogue between Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant (Laura Dern and Sam Neill) because its them having to say really bad lines. I really could’ve done without Laura Dern having to deliver the line “he slid into my DMs”.

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Dominion takes a lot from the previous Jurassic movies and can be repetitive, not really covering new ground. The main theme once again is about how humanity shouldn’t meddle with nature, there’s yet another story of an amoral billionaire using science to profit (and going full Umbrella Corporation). Without getting into too much depth, the movie even ends up having its own ‘park’ despite the world now being established as having dinosaurs roaming free. Instead of taking advantage of the end of Fallen Kingdom, it introduces this random plot about locusts which ends up being a central part of the plot. One plotline that is continued into Dominion however is the one focussing on the character of Maisie and her being a clone. It’s still weird and crazy considering that it is in a Jurassic Park movie, but I liked it more than I expected. At the very least there was more going on with her compared to some of the other characters (especially Owen and Claire). Dominion does lean into some absurdity thankfully, especially with a sequence in Malta. It really picks up in the second half and it is nonstop action in the third act. Of the Jurassic World trilogy, Dominion tries the hardest for nostalgia, which you could probably expect considering that they brought back the main trio of Jurassic Park characters into the plot here. I don’t think it earns the nostalgia, but I don’t dislike their inclusions.

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The returning Jurassic World characters aren’t that great, mainly Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, despite some decent enough performances from both. The highlight of the whole movie for me were the returning Jurassic Park trio: Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler, Sam Neill as Alan Grant, and Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm. It’s definitely a play for the nostalgia crowd but I can’t deny, it is so great to see them back. A lot of the time they’re not really given great material to work with, but their presence added a lot to the film and I would’ve liked the film a lot less without them. There are some new characters, DeWanda Wise is my favourite performer of the movie outside of the aforementioned Jurassic trio, and I really liked her. The villainous characters are quite generic and over the top but not nearly as silly as the ones from Fallen Kingdom. The central antagonist is the main corporate billionaire played by Campbell Scott who seems like he’s basically playing Tim Cook. Scott is clearly enjoying playing a goofy biotech mogul and it’s a fun performance at least, making the cliched character more enjoyable to watch.

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Colin Trevorrow’s direction isn’t great but I do think its an improvement over his work in Jurassic World. The visuals are fairly nice, the dinosaurs look great and fun to watch too. It seems that they finally found the right balance of practical and special effects. There are some enjoyable action sequences too, from the sequence in Malta involving a motorcycle chase with raptors, to the thoroughly enjoyable third act. I actually think the moments of horror are really well done, there are some good scenes of suspense.

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I would say Jurassic World: Dominion is probably one of the worst movies in the series, but it’s at least better than Jurassic Park III. It has some entertaining moments and aspects I really liked. Still, I think a lot of the other films achieved what they were setting out to do a lot better. The plot is very bloated and strange and there’s fun to be had with that, but for a film aiming to be an epic conclusion, it was underwhelming. I can’t tell who’ll like the movie, but if you disliked the previous Jurassic World movies, I’m pretty sure you won’t like Dominion. As someone who generally likes all the films in the series however, I enjoyed it.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Retrospective Review

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Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

Time: 128 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing
Rafe Spall as Eli Mills
Justice Smith as Franklin Webb
Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez
James Cromwell as Sir Benjamin Lockwood
Toby Jones as Gunnar Eversol
Ted Levine as Ken Wheatley
B. D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood
Geraldine Chaplin as Iris
Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm
Director: J. A. Bayona

Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the island of 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.

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Many people seem to be very split on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, even among those who liked/disliked the first Jurassic World. I was very mixed about Fallen Kingdom when I first saw it, so I was curious about whether my opinion would change that much on a rewatch. I can at least say that I appreciate it a lot more this time, despite its numerous flaws.

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Like with Jurassic World, the main issue here is the script. The story is a mixed bag with plenty of cliched and recycled plot points. One thing notable about Fallen Kingdom is that it is not a film of 3 acts, but of two very different halves. The first half is about Owen, Claire and co. trying to save the dinosaurs from an island whose volcano is about to erupt. I wasn’t such a huge fan of that section, it wasn’t that interesting to me. It felt like it was falling back into Jurassic World’s worst tendencies with humour that falls flat, bad dialogue, and poorly written characters. The second half is where the movie begins to work more for me, going in a different direction compared to the first half. It consists of the main characters being inside a mansion and trying to stop dinosaurs from being sold off, while a special dinosaur wreaks havoc. I liked the plot more in this section and I especially enjoyed the horror aspects.

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I do think that out of the 5 movies thus far, Fallen Kingdom is the weirdest of the Jurassic Park movies, from the closed in haunted house second half, to the weird decisions, and there certainly are plenty of weird decisions. The one that springs to mind is a subplot following a girl named Maisie played by Isabella Sermon, where it is revealed in the third act that she’s not the granddaughter of James Cromwell, but rather a clone of his daughter. It is really out of place from the rest of the movie. Most of all, it feels contrived, like it was only there so that she would make the decision to let the dinosaurs out at the end. Much of the absurdity of these movies continues with Fallen Kingdom. That extends to the militarisation of the dinosaurs which is full on Umbrella Corporation and Weyland-Yutani levels of silliness. However, the first Jurassic World sort of got away with it because of the self awareness and the silly tone. Its follow up however seems to be comparatively darker and serious, making its absurd moments feel even more out of place. There are some genuinely good scenes. The moment with the brachiosaurus being left behind as the boat leaves stands out most of all, very startling in fact, coming out of nowhere. It is a very memorable and effect moment, even if it’s a bit emotionally manipulative. There are also some good character moments, and the plotline between Owen and an intelligent raptor named Blue was one of the highlights and I thought it worked well enough. Also, Fallen Kingdom ends on the note with dinosaurs going into the wild, leading the franchise into a direction that it hadn’t gone in before (and will be shown in the third movie).

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Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return to their roles of Owen and Claire and gave similar performances. Their characters may be more bearable to watch, but their acting isn’t quite as good, and they feel a little bland here. Once again, the chemistry isn’t strong and it falls flat, but thankfully the film doesn’t seem to be focussed on it in contrast to its predecessor. James Cromwell is decent in the few scenes he’s in. BD Wong also returns as a minor recurring antagonist Dr Wu. Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, but really it is just for two scenes, in the first act and at the end. It really feels like he was included just so that he can say “Welcome to Jurassic World” at the end. A lot of the other characters are poor however. There’s a couple of people who tag along with Claire and Owen played by Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda, and they were really a source of a lot of the annoying humour in the movie. Then there’s the villains, who are somehow even more over the top than Vincent D’Onofrio in the last movie. You have Rafe Spall as a character who you can immediately tell is going to be revealed to be evil at the end. There’s also Toby Jones as a generically evil auctioneer for dinosaurs, and as well as Ted Levine as a cartoonishly evil mercenary and dinosaur hunter.

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J.A. Bayona honestly added something to Fallen Kingdom with his direction, more so than Colin Trevorrow in the previous movie. There are some good action scenes and set pieces from the volcano erupting in the first half, to the haunted house in the second half. A lot of Bayona’s horror skills get to be on display here, and the horror elements in the second half work quite well. Even the Indoraptor plays like a full on horror movie villain; there’s a scene where it approaches Maisie in her bedroom like it was Freddy Kreuger. The visuals in Fallen Kingdom were improved from Jurassic World, same with the CGI on the dinosaurs. A big part which probably helped is that in Fallen Kingdom, outside of a few sequences, there usually isn’t an overload of too many dinosaurs on screen at the same time. When the volcano erupts and lava is pouring close to a paralysed Chris Pratt, it looks fake but that’s just in one scene.

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was better than I remembered. There are plenty of bad elements that make the experience frustrating, but it is mainly because there are some other aspects that are really good. For what it is worth, I do think that Fallen Kingdom is slightly better than Jurassic World. There are some really good scenes, and most of all the direction from J.A. Bayona was solid. The end of the movie has an opportunity for the franchise to take a different direction, which Dominion hopefully takes advantage of all.

Jurassic World (2015) Retrospective Review

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Jurassic World

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing
Vincent D’Onofrio as Vic Hoskins
Ty Simpkins as Gray Mitchell
Nick Robinson as Zach Mitchell
Omar Sy as Barry
B.D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani
Director: Colin Trevorrow

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfil a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitors’ interest, which backfires horribly.

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Following my rewatch of the Jurassic Park trilogy movies, I also decided to revisit the Jurassic World movies in the lead up to the upcoming new film. Much like the other Jurassic Park sequels, there were some very split reactions to the first Jurassic World, released 14 years after the last film, Jurassic Park III. I liked the movie when I saw it, but also had some issues with it. Having revisited it, my opinion is much of the same but I found much more to appreciate and enjoy.

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One of the things I noticed when going back to Jurassic World is that it wasn’t off to a good start with its first act. It begins following two brothers going to Jurassic World and introduces the setting through their eyes, fine so far. Unfortunately its just missing the impact, probably because its missing the dinosaurs. As they enter Jurassic World and see the massive park, it blasts the Jurassic Park theme over establishing shots over the park, but not showing any of the dinosaurs. When we do finally see them, they’re presented without ceremony. Things do pick up however once the genetically engineered dinosaur breaks out. Ever since Jurassic Park III, the series has been determined to have a special dinosaur as the main villain. Nonetheless, the Indominus Rex works well enough for this part, especially if thematically you view it as the outcome of corporate greed and science going to far. There’s plenty of running, destruction, thrills and dinosaurs and I was enjoying the film. Then in the third act, there is a satisfying fight between dinosaurs (T-Rex and Blue against the Indominus Rex), which ends everything on a high note.

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While there are plenty of issues with Jurassic World, the biggest for me were the human storylines, I just found them hard to care about. The previously mentioned brothers going to Jurassic World while their parents are being divorced, didn’t care for it. Its almost like they are here since every Jurassic Park movie seems to need to have at least one child in peril of being killed by dinosaurs. I didn’t care for the romantic subplot between Owen and Claire (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard), in fact I actively disliked many of their scenes together. And then there’s the Vincent D’Onofrio plotline in which he tries to weaponize dinosaurs. It is absolutely ridiculous even by Jurassic Park standards, but for what its worth it is very enjoyable in an over-the-top cheesy way. The humour in this movie is also not very good, bordering on grating. It’s worse when its coming from delegated ‘funny’ side characters. I think the one thing about Jurassic World that works for me is that it leans into the absurdity of the concept and it is very self-aware. The movie even takes time to poke fun that at the name they gave the Indominus Rex. The self-awareness does at least make a lot of the story easier to digest. Also, the ideas that they’re working with like corporate greed are very much on display, showing that they are willing to genetically modifying and creating dinosaurs just for new entertainment. There are even one or two scenes that are actually really good, like when Owen and Claire come across a field of dead Apatosauruses.

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For me, the performances were okay, but I really didn’t care about the characters. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard played their parts well enough, but their characters weren’t the best. Pratt is having fun in his part, but doesn’t go anywhere beyond another variation of Chris Pratt. I particularly disliked the scenes between Pratt and Howard. The brothers I didn’t care for as played by Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins. Robinson’s character is particularly hard to like, even if I feel like that was intentional. Vincent D’Onofrio plays the over-the-top villain who tries to weaponize dinosaurs and fair is fair, he does embrace the role, and at least seems to match the movie’s energy. Other actors like Irrfan Khan and Judy Greer really are wasted in their parts, and there are plenty of annoying side characters. However, it was nice seeing BD Wong reprise his role as Henry Wu from the first movie, and he actually has a notable part of the plot.

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The direction from Colin Trevorrow was good in parts, it definitely increases the scale over the original trilogy. The action is quite entertaining and well filmed, the highlight again being the final dinosaur battle. With the scale comes the amount of destruction and deaths and Trevorrow definitely goes all in with that. Although there is an infamous death of one character played by Katie McGrath which is very out of place. The death is so over the top and contrived, it actually feels like a finishing move from Mortal Kombat or Injustice. The three Jurassic Park movies had a blend of CGI and animatronics, with the effects in each subsequent movie being worse than the last but otherwise they were still solid, even Jurassic Park III. However, it was 2015, and as you can expect, nearly all of the dinosaurs are CGI. The CGI on the dinosaurs isn’t necessarily bad, but you do feel that it is CGI, if that makes sense. The visual effects could be inconsistent, ranging from pretty good to rather fake, and I’m not just talking about the dinosaurs.

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As a dumb blockbuster, I think that Jurassic World works. I think after it passes its rather dull first act, and goes into the outbreak and mayhem, it picks up and is quite entertaining. While its not the highest of praises a movie could get, I do think it could’ve been worse. At the very least, I think its better than Jurassic Park III, and it has its moments.

Rocketman (2019) Review

Time: 120 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Sex scenes, offensive language & drug use
Cast:
Taron Egerton as Elton John
Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin
Richard Madden as John Reid
Bryce Dallas Howard as Sheila Eileen
Director: Dexter Fletcher

A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s (Taron Egerton) breakthrough years.

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Rocketman was a movie I was looking forward to. Although I was only recently getting into Elton John’s music, I’ve liked what I heard from him, and with the likes of Taron Egerton involved (and the trailers looking pretty good), I was curious about it. If there was one thing that had me slightly worried, it was Bohemian Rhapsody last year. While I liked the movie when I saw it, much of its flaws and failures became apparent to me over time, and now it’s just a wasted opportunity and a misfire. With yet another music biopic focussing on another musical icon, I was a little nervous about how it would turn out (directed by Dexter Fletcher, who did the reshoots of Bohemian Rhapsody), despite it looking good. Thankfully I can say that Rocketman is pretty much the anthesis of Bohemian Rhapsody.

While I don’t want to spend much of the review comparing this and Bohemian Rhapsody, it really just emphasises what Rocketman does so well. Both movies had the artists involved in the making of them, but while Bohemian Rhapsody was very clean and sanitised (particularly with the portrayal of the alive band members), Rocketman seems genuine and raw and doesn’t filter what happened. This is definitely not a PG-13 movie and I’m glad that’s the case. Elton John was involved in the movie but he seemed to give the filmmakers the reign to what they want to portray his story, warts and all. It covers a lot of the bad choices he’s made and the things that he goes through, without feeling like there is some kind of judgement of him throughout. While I don’t know his story outside of the movie, I can tell that there’s probably some bits that aren’t entirely accurate (like most biopics). However, you get the feeling that thematically it nails his story. For example, at certain points they play his music during segments, even songs that weren’t even made at those certain points in his life yet, but it works surprisingly perfectly for those particular moments. With it being a fantastical story, they can play around with things like that. Within the first few minutes you know what sort of movie you are in for. Rocketman is 2 hours long and on the whole I liked what we got in that runtime. It’s a little slow to begin with as it starts out in Elton’s childhood, but it picks up as it goes along. Despite its unique take on a biopic, it does admittedly follow some of the familiar biopic beats, however it’s the way that it handles these moments that allow you to overlook them.

Taron Egerton is fantastic as Elton John. Not only is it him actually singing (and doing it greatly), but he just embodies Elton John so well as a person and it doesn’t come across as just an impression. Egerton had a pretty good start to his career, with his breakout role in Kingsman, followed up by movies like Eddie the Eagle, but this is his best performance yet. It would be an absolute surprise if he didn’t get any awards attention, and it would be well deserved (and no, I don’t think I’ll be changing my mind like I did with Bohemian Rhapsody). The rest of the supporting cast work really well, Jamie Bell as Elton’s songwriter Bernie, Richard Madden as Elton’s manager (who also appeared in Bohemian Rhapsody, played there by Aiden Gillen instead) and Bryce Dallas Howard as Elton’s mother.

Dexter Fletcher directed this movie very well, he’s got a great handle on everything. It goes without saying that Elton John’s music definitely elevates things but it’s not just that it’s Taron performing these songs in concert scenes, they use them in a great way in the movie. It doesn’t rely on recognisable songs to get the audience to like the movie, it actually fits the scenes they appear in very well. The aforementioned fantasy sequences are also shot really well, visually stunning. It’s much more surreal than a typical biopic, and it was definitely a risk but it definitely paid off, there was no other way to do a Elton John biopic justice. When I say this movie is a musical, I’m not just saying that because it has a lot of music. At some points there are choreographed moments where multiple people are singing Elton John songs (not just Taron), that look right out of a classic musical. In that, it’s definitely best that you see this on the big screen because it’s a real experience.

Rocketman does justice to Elton John in such a great way and was way better than I thought it would be. It’s a really entertaining experience of a movie, very well directed and Taron Egerton is tremendous. Even if you were really off put by Bohemian Rhapsody or are just on the whole not a big fan of music biopics, I still think you should give it a chance. If you’re a fan of Elton John, I recommend you checking it out and even if you’re not familiar with him I still think there’s quite a bit in the movie that you’ll like.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Review

Time: 128 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing
Rafe Spall as Eli Mills
Justice Smith as Franklin Webb
Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez
James Cromwell as Sir Benjamin Lockwood
Toby Jones as Gunnar Eversol
Ted Levine as Ken Wheatley
B. D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood
Geraldine Chaplin as Iris
Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm
Director: J. A. Bayona

Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the island of 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.

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I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. When I saw Jurassic World for the first time it was fine to me but it really got worse over time. The one thing that gave me hope however instead of Colin Trevorrow returning to direct, J. A. Bayona was directing it, Bayona did a fantastic job with A Monster’s Call. However on the whole I was still rather sceptical, but still willing enough to try it out. Fallen Kingdom turned out to be better than I thought it would be, but at the same time it wasn’t particularly good. While it has some pretty good aspects like a decent second half and J.A. Bayona’s direction, it also has one dimensional and annoying characters, overused plot points and some other really dumb aspects (many of them brought over from the first Jurassic World). It’s a rather mixed bag.

Fallen Kingdom doesn’t feel like it has 3 acts, its more split into two halves. I wasn’t impressed by the first half, with it being not particularly interesting, way too familiar to other Jurassic Park movies and just flat out annoying at times. The second half is much better, which was probably a mix of me getting used to the plot, a more horror-like emphasise and certain plot aspects getting better over time. The plot itself isn’t that great, despite it being a Bayona directed movie, you can really feel Colin Trevorrow’s writing here following on from the previous movie, and that includes many of its more absurd aspects. It seems like he really still thinks that Jurassic World’s plotline about military people thinking that weaponizing dinosaurs is genius, because he uses it again here, and it’s just as dumb as it was in the previous movie. A lot of the human characters are once again quite poor, I think that’s one of the aspects about these newer movies that make them not work as well as the other movies (even Jurassic Park 3), the characters are so poorly written and don’t work in any way. There is a bunch of humour that really falls flat, and there are plot points that once again are cliched, too familiar and don’t work. There is an odd plotline focussing on a girl played by Isabella Sermon. It ends with a twist that works okay but is rather confusing and out of place, it really didn’t need to be in the movie. However it’s not all bad. The plotline/scenes involving Chris Pratt and an intelligent raptor named Blue were one of the highlights of the movie, it actually was quite effective. Also despite the first half feeling rather average, at the end of that segment is a startingly effective emotional scene which really got to me. It just came out of nowhere and despite not liking the movie particularly much, it actually worked. The movie is over 2 hours long and it can drag at times, even during the second half, you kind of feel the 2 hour+ length. This movie ends on an interestingly different note, one that the next movie seems like it’ll be focussing on. It has potential but we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in the sequel. I didn’t watch it myself but for those interested, there is an end credits scene as well.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard like in the first movie do pretty well here. Their chemistry isn’t really that strong for the most part but the film doesn’t try to emphasise that aspect as much as the previous movie, so it was somewhat tolerable. Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm for like one scene, he really didn’t need to return to this movie. James Cromwell is decent in his role but really his character could’ve been played by anyone. Isabella Sermon is good in her role, despite the odd choices with the character’s storyline. A lot of the other actors however are stuck with poor characters. One is Justice Smith as some IT guy who really is annoying, especially during the first half. However the more stand out annoyances are the villains. If you couldn’t stand Vincent D’Onofrio’s cliched character in the first Jurassic World, you’re going to have a hard time with Fallen Kingdom. You have Rafe Spall as some business guy who predictably turns out to be evil, Toby Jones as an auctioneer for dinosaurs and Ted Levine as an over the top mercenary, and all of them are so cartoonishly evil its actually rather astounding. I know at the very least that Toby Jones and Ted Levine are great actors, but they aren’t given really anything to work with except with acting evil, none of their talents is on display here.

J. A. Bayona really added something to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with his direction. In the second half, the movie utilises a lot of horror elements that is actually rather effective, and plays a large part in this half working so well. The CGI on the dinosaurs is better here than on the previous Jurassic World, they really don’t look as great as in the original film. I think a big part about why it works better is that unlike the previous movie, they don’t have an overload of too many dinosaurs on screen at the same time. There was one lava effect that I felt looked really fake looking but that’s just in one scene.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was slightly better than I was expecting and wasn’t quite the disaster that a lot of people seemed to make it out to be. However, it’s still not that good either. For every element or scene that worked quite well, there was another that made the whole experience frustrating, dull or just annoying. With the different story direction that Fallen Kingdom ends on, I can say that there is an opportunity for a different direction to take the franchise that can lead to more places that’s not just familiar territory (that the franchise had been constantly doing for the past films). However, the next film is directed by Colin Trevorrow, so I’m not holding out much hope for it for now. If you could somewhat tolerate the first Jurassic World, you should be fine with this one. Otherwise I’m not sure how much you are going to like Fallen Kingdom, if at all.

Spider-Man 3 (2007) Review

Time: 139 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Contains violence
Cast:
Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
James Franco as Harry Osborn/New Goblin
Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson
Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman
Topher Grace as Eddie Brock/Venom
Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy
Rosemary Harris as May Parker
J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
James Cromwell as George Stacy
Director: Sam Rami

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and M.J. (Kirsten Dunst) seem to finally be on the right track in their complicated relationship, but trouble looms for the superhero and his lover. Peter’s Spider-Man suit turns black and takes control of him, not only giving Peter enhanced power but also bringing out the dark side of his personality. Peter must overcome the suit’s influence as two supervillains, Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Venom (Topher Grace), rise up to destroy him and all those he holds dear.

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Spider-Man 3 unlike it’s previous entries has received a lot of negativity from critics and fans alike. I’m part of the minority of people who really like this movie. I liked the story, the acting, and Sam Rami’s direction, just like with the previous Spider-Man movies. But of course I’m not going to act like it doesn’t have a lot of problems, there is way too much in this movie, which ultimately holds back the movie from being as great as it could be. Despite this, many aspects of the plot itself are great, and it’s a solid movie overall.

Tonally, this is the most serious of the Rami Spider-Man movies, and with Peter going through different stages of his life throughout these movies, it did feel appropriate. There are some moments of humour though, some of them worked, others… not so much. This movie is around 2 hours 20 minutes long, I was never really bored throughout but I definitely felt the running time, which is ironic since this movie might’ve actually needed more time. Ultimately the biggest problem with Spider-Man 3 is that there is way too much going on. There’s Peter and Mary Jane’s romance, Sandman’s story which ties into Peter, the symbiote black suit that Peter comes in contact with and changes him, there’s Harry and Peter’s story, there is so much going on. If you want to know what went wrong, Sony basically forced Sam Rami to put the character of Venom into the movie, which is an incredible major plotline as it meant having a segment of Peter wearing the suit and also Venom being created, and there’s already so many plotlines in the movie. If Spider-Man 3 just had Mary Jane and Peter’s romance, Sandman’s story and Harry’s story, that would’ve been enough. But because of the amount of stories going on, the handling of the plotlines at times can be clumsy and poor. There are some really bad plot decisions made in the handling of the stories sometimes, for example early in the movie there’s a fight between Peter and Harry which results in Harry losing his memory, basically putting his revenge storyline on hold or about an hour, while all the other plots and subplots continue. It feels lazy and almost like a slap in the face after the buildup for this story in 2, here it almost feels like an afterthought of a subplot. There are two moments of conflict between Peter and Harry which are done very well, which shows hints of what could’ve been had that aspect been handled a lot better.

Another point of criticism is that this movie has 3 villains and while I like each of these villains, yet again, the film felt overstuffed with them. It’s like all these plotlines and villains are taking turns to have the spotlight, first its Harry, then it’s Sandman, then it’s Harry again, then it’s Venom and Sandman, it’s very jarring when it just keeps switching plotlines when the former plotlines are like put into hibernation or something. Speaking of Venom, an infamous part of the movie is how it handled the black suit plotline. Sometimes the black suit plotline really worked, like when it ties into Sandman. However it generally doesn’t reach its full potential. The film does partially take this in a more comedic direction. For example, after wearing the suit for a long period of time, Peter becomes ‘Emo Peter’, culminating in him acting all ‘edgy’ and ‘badass’ and ‘cool’, a lot of this is done for comedy. For example there are a couple of over the top scenes, one is a montage (set to the tune of ‘People get up and Drive your Funky Soul’ by James Brown), which despite it’s over the top nature I enjoyed because it is probably what would happen if a nerd like Peter grew an ego and thought he was cool. The other is full on dance routine in a Jazz Club, which is quite possibly the worst Spider-Man scene ever filmed. So obviously, mixed results. Not to say that I didn’t like it but the black suit arc really could’ve been done better. The last act, while enjoyable, is pretty rushed. Even the couple of very brief scenes after the climax seems to end incredibly quickly. Honestly while I liked all these plotlines, they definitely feel like they didn’t meet their potential, due to all of them crammed into one movie. I know I probably came across that I hated them, but the truth is that they could’ve been done a lot better.

Tobey Maguire once again is Peter Parker/Spider-Man and once again he is really good. I will say that I found myself not liking Peter early in the movie (even before he gets the black suit), especially when it came to Mary Jane, but I felt that was intentional (possibly because he was gaining a bit of an ego as Spider-Man) however that really didn’t get explored because of all the other plotlines. Now as for those 20 minutes where Peter is ‘Emo Peter’, even if you hate what was done with him, you gotta give credit to Maguire for throwing himself into what he was told to do, literally dancing in the streets with absolutely no shame at all. I even started to like Kirsten Dunst’s Mary Jane. The romance aspect, while not exactly good, is done a lot better than in the previous movies. Mary Jane isn’t used as a ‘superhero girlfriend’ like she was in the first two movies (she only needs saving once in the entire movie), here they actually start to somewhat develop her. But the romance can be a bit frustrating, not for any cheesiness but because Peter and Mary Jane do make some bad decisions in their relationship, so the romance isn’t that good. James Franco is once again good as Harry Osborn. Unfortunately for him, after a few scenes early in the movie, once Harry loses his memory he doesn’t get much to do until like the second half of the movie. Thomas Haden Church is Flint Marko/Sandman, who is for me a very underrated comic book movie villain. Like Doc Ock, he is a lot deeper and sympathetic as a character, with Marko trying to help his dying daughter. He’s also a lot more consistent with his actions, there’s no moments where he’s gleefully committing evil deeds just for the fun of it (which Doc Ock occasionally did in Spider-Man 2). Out of the three villains I felt that he was used the best. However I will say that some aspects of the resolution of his story (particularly his last scene) did feel open and not fully concluded.

Topher Grace is Eddie Brock/Venom and I’m not quite sure how to feel about him. While his human form Eddie Brock is given motivations which work okay, he’s not that compelling as a character, nor does he have enough screentime. I think the biggest problem with Venom is that Brock wasn’t that interesting or deep of a character before he turned into Venom. Also once again, Rami didn’t even want Venom in the movie, so he does feel a little out of place and is probably why we don’t get a whole lot of time with him. At the very least though, Grace acted the Eddie Brock role fine and seemed to be having a great time playing Venom, I don’t think any of the issues of the character are on him. The other supporting cast are pretty good with Rosemary Harris, James Cromwell and others. J.K. Simmons once again returns as J. Jonah Jameson, very enjoyable and entertaining as always. One role that did feel out of place was Gwen Stacy (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), Bryce was fine in the role but Stacy didn’t really have much point to be there in the film (and she is a big deal in the comics). And I thought I’d mention, Bruce Campbell has the best cameo in the entire Spider-Man trilogy, he deserves a mention because he’s Bruce Campbell. And he’s awesome.

The quality of the CGI in Spider-Man 3 is around the level of Spider-Man 2. There is some noticeable green screen and fake CGI at times, but then again Spider-Man 2 did have some moments of fake CGI, so I will overlook it (not to mention Spider-Man 3 was made a decade ago). I will say that the CGI slightly worked better in 2 though, probably because it wasn’t on that large of a scale with what they tried to create and have. The CGI for the black suit and Venom was really good, visually he looked great. The action scenes were all around filmed really well, from the first fight between Peter and Harry to the climax with Spider-Man, Harry, Venom and Sandman. The last act is entertaining, aside from the CGI for Sandman, what they did with him in the third act was really over the top, and ended up being kind of silly. I liked all the soundtracks for the Spider-Man trilogy, but 3 has quite possibly my favourite from the whole trilogy, this time it’s done by Christopher Young.

I will not deny that Spider-Man 3 could’ve and should’ve been a lot better. It had a lot of potential and great ideas but they’ve all been shoved all into this movie and the film became so bloated that they had to alter and change the plotlines so that they could fit in, which really negatively affected the film overall. With that said, the movie is good, and it honestly does have some great parts to it. All the issues aside, a lot of the aspects from the first two movies with the acting, direction and even some of the story are here, so I don’t notice that much of a difference from the first two films. The storylines are at the very least okay, and the action is really great. I consider this movie on par with all the other Spider-Man movies except for 2 (2 is still by far the best Spider-Man film yet). It had some of the elements and potential of being the best Spider-Man, but having too much really held it back.

Jurassic World (2015) Review

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Jurassic World

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing
Vincent D’Onofrio as Vic Hoskins
Ty Simpkins as Gray Mitchell
Nick Robinson as Zach Mitchell
Omar Sy as Barry
B.D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu
Irrfan Khan as Simon Masrani
Director: Colin Trevorrow

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfil a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitors’ interest, which backfires horribly.

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It’s been decades since the original Jurassic Park premiered in 1993 and changed cinema as we know it. While not terrible movies, The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 failed to deliver as good sequels and hasn’t gotten even close to recapture the wonder of the first film. Even though it’s not at the level of the first film, Jurassic World is in my opinion the best sequel of the franchise. It definitely has some problems but it’s quite entertaining and is worth seeing.

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The plot for the most part was done pretty well and thought out but there are some flaws in the story. There is a mystery dinosaur that the film builds up for a while but when it’s revealed, the dinosaur isn’t really that special (even though it’s a hybrid), more creativity should’ve been put together into what sort of dinosaur it would look like. There are some unnecessary subplots such as a subplot with two children’s parents getting divorced and a romantic subplot between Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, both of which go absolutely nowhere. But by far the most unnecessary sub plot was of Vincent D’Onfio’s character trying to militarise raptors. Not only is this so clichéd, it just seems so unbelievable and ridiculus. How would anyone be able to take raptors and make them weapons without them backfiring in any way whatsoever? There are also some noticeable plot holes throughout the story. No matter what you think of the rest of the film however, the best scene in this movie is the last 20 minutes. I won’t spoil what happens but I will say that Jurassic World is worth watching for that scene alone, it’s one of the best scenes from the Jurassic Park movies.

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There really isn’t any character development throughout the entire film but the actors still hold up pretty well. I thought that Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard was great additions in the cast. The two kids were decent enough in their storyline. Vincent D’Onofrio plays quite a cliché bad guy character, granted he played his role entertaining enough but the character just felt quite predictable, none of which is D’Onofio’s fault as it was the writing.

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The film was shot very well and it’s made to look like it’s on a big scale. The special effects of the dinosaurs however were a little inconsistent. Sometimes they looked pretty good but other times they looked quite fake and very noticeably so. The special effects weren’t that much better than in the original Jurassic Park that was made 20 years ago. I think part of the reason why Jurassic Park worked better because at times it used animatronics, whereas Jurassic World doesn’t use it often. The one scene that this film uses it is one of the best scenes in the film, so more animatronics would benefit this film a lot.

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Jurassic World is a movie that is worth seeing, especially if you are a Jurassic Park fan. The cast worked well and the last 20 minutes of the film was amazing but what holds this film back is the special effects that could’ve been better and the unnecessary subplots. I can’t guarantee that you will love this film but it’s at the very least a decent watch, and it’s at least worth watching for the great climax.