I want to start out by saying that this movie was awesome. The 2018 sequel, directed by J.A. Bayona, not only was a better movie than its 2015 predecessor, but in my opinion is the best movie in the Jurassic Park franchise since the first movie that came out 25 years ago.
I went into this movie a little excited and a little hesitant. I feel like that is how all of us are watching movies now when watching the 5th installment of a franchise, or a reboot/remake/re-imagining of a story we all have fond nostalgic memories for. But I sat down with my friends, eating a bag of popcorn, and was sold immediately from the thrilling opening. This movie is a thriller. It is full of suspense. There are so many moments where you think “surely the heroes have to make it out of here, the studio already announced another movie with a release date and everything” however the tension in those scenes is done so well. There were several scenes so perfectly timed and framed that I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the payoff. And the other half of the time was so surprised and caught off guard that I never knew what to expect. I was sitting there feeling like a little kid, actually caring about the characters and hoping they survive. Not just thinking about how they will get out alive but legitimately engulfed in the story so much that I wasn’t sure how they were going to.
Which brings me to the real reason I think this movie succeeded, where no other movie in the franchise has since the first Jurassic Park. It made me feel bad. It made me actually think about morality and the lives of the animals. Now trust me, I am no friend to PETA and I love a bacon cheeseburger more than any other meal, but this movie made me actually care about the dinosaurs. Which is good, seeing how the plot really revolves entirely around the moral question of “what to do about the dinos.” Are they an endangered species, are they just property and IP’s, should we save them? Even after 25 years of movies have shown that dinosaurs plus people always equals dead people, they still made me think about it. And at the end of the day, they don’t flat-out tell you what to think. At one point each main character seriously has to ask themselves that question throughout the plot, and the answers are not simple or predictable. They acted like real humans making hard decisions. I was invested in the outcome and the plot had real stakes, not just “will the humans survive, well not all of them obviously because you came to see monsters eat people.”
I think even in this movie more people died too! The final third of the movie is basically just a horror flick. A super smart monster just eating people. Favorite scene is right when the monster escapes, and how he does it. First off it is diabolically planned and shot; secondly it is brutal as fuck. Fuck that hunter, he got what he deserved. This movie was scary, now granted it is still a PG-13 movie, but expectations also matter and we’ll get to that in a moment. Specifically the scene where Chris Pratt and Dallas Howard are with the girl moving through the exhibit room, that was as good as any other modern horror thriller. Even if you knew they wouldn’t kill off a main character in the middle of a trilogy.
Obviously Chris Pratt and Dallas Howard do not die in this movie. That is not a spoiler. This movie is not for adults, it is for families. Kids go to this movie. That is probably why there are some scenes where you say to yourself while watching “well, the dino should have killed them there” or you guess some pretty easy-to-catch plot points. So what? This movie isn’t Shawshank Redemption, it is not perfect, but also anyone going in expecting that will only be setting themselves up for disappointment. None of the main characters died in the first Jurassic Park, Lost World, Jurassic Park 3, or Jurassic World. I went into this movie expecting some good CG, some random people getting killed, BD Wong being an evil genius, and Chris Pratt being as sexy as Chris Pratt always is. What I got was a pretty unique plot to the franchise, a good villain, a great cast for both main characters and side characters, a complex discussion about genetics and how it affects the world around us, a touching story about Blue the raptor…..
Oh shit, I forgot, Blue is amazing in this movie. She is without question one of the best parts. Her entire arc, back story, and purpose for being so important to the plot is perfect. If for no other reason, Blue is what saves this movie from The Snappening.
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith