It is the end of the world, or not Image: Jurassic World (Twitter)
Film: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall and Blue
Directed by: JA Bayona
You will like it if you liked: Jurassic World
Picture a time in the future where modern warfare weaponises dinosaurs to take down nations. This is a time beyond nuclear weapons, it's the ultimate destruction with a genetically engineered something-o-saurus fighting another genetically engineered something-o-saurus on ground zero. So naturally, we have potential Bond villains from stereotypical enemy countries — Russia, Germany, Japan — lining up to bid for the most ferocious predator, and the louder that dinosaur (Indoraptor. No connection with India whatsoever, so please relax) roars, the higher is the fear induced in the human heart (Monster Inc, anyone?).. and, of course, the higher the bid goes.
Except all of this is happening in somebody's basement. The world that Steven Speilberg created was fantastical but had the right amount of awe to make your jaws drop — an island far, far away secured by electrocuting fences that house a miracle, the reversal of the laws of nature, and thus proof of man's superiority. When Colin Trevorrow took over in 2015 with Jurrasic World, he retained the spectacle but magnified it to a scale hereto unimaginable by Jurassic fans (well, mostly thanks to brilliant CGI). And boy, did it work. But the second installment somehow lost the awe and only gave us a spectacle that after a point, made us roll our eyes.
We start at a point where the Jurassic World is in ruins and the Masrani Corp paying off millions as compensation to victims of the tragedy to stop a class action suit. The island still has all the dinos but now an active volcano poses a threat — and the question is, should the government intervene to protect the once-extinct genetically reversed dinosaurs as endangered species or leave their fate to nature, asked poignantly by Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).
Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), now an animal activist, wants to save them and she finds support from Benjamin Lockwood (James Cornwell), the guy who started it all with John Hammond — played by late Richard Attenborough) and his aide, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall). Of course, she needs help from Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the tamer of raptors and maker of memes.
The first half of the film ideally should have been the entire film — a Noah's Ark-esque rescue mission for the dinos where only select species can be transported to safer grounds in a huge AF ship. It had all the ingredients of a typical Jurassic movie — the nerd cracking codes in a jiffy, the fear, the chase, the emotional reunion of Blue and Owen, the trickling lava, dinos creeping in from behind roaring until your soul leaves your body. But since the trailer released a month ago has already spoilt the entire plot for us (why did they do that?) you know this isn't the end.
Looks like the curse of the second half isn't just a Bollywood thing, the film truly falls apart after intermission. At one point when the Indoraptor climbs atop the Lockwood mansion and howls at the moon with just his silhouette visible against the moonlit sky, you wonder if this was a take on Godzilla. When he crawls upside down into a glass window with his long-nailed paws making shadows you wonder if your watching Stranger Things. And when the bunch of people are running around in a mansion, you wonder if this is Jumanji time 100?
Of course, I enjoyed the film, and yes it is definitely a must-watch (why no 3D, guys?), but I also had a lot of issues with the film. The non-existent chemistry between Chris and Bryce that had to be reinforced with a (chumme mein chavanprash type) kiss, the Bollywoodised emotional moments, the overdone good dinosaur-bad dinosaur treatment (of course Blue is a hero, we knew that in the previous part itself), and more. But the worst thing was the point where they decided to end the film. I don't so much as hate it as I'm uncomfortable with it (you will, too, when you watch it). Having said that, what a brilliant hook by JA Bayona.