Review by Dominic Messier, Founder, Editor and Film Writer
In a case of art imitating fake science, the latest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise seems to have copied too much of its own DNA, enough so that the original strand is no longer recognizable, nor viable.
A messy hodge-podge of half-grown ideas frantically thrown at a non-stick wall, Jurassic World Hidden Kingdom should have gone the way of the original dinosaurs and gone extinct already.
It’s been three years since the finally completed Jurassic World theme park had gone to hell, after ambitious geneticists has decided to create new, unpredictable killer breeds like the Indominus Rex.
Now, news comes out that the volcano on Isla Nublar threatens to destroy the park’s remnants, incuding its cloned, prehistoric wildlife. Arguments are made in favor of and against saving the lost animals (including a plea to let nature take its course from an all too misleading and brief cameo by Jeff Goldblum).
In comes Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), right hand man to the reclusive billionaire Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who happens to be the business partner that John Hammond (R.I.P.) had conceived the park with. Lockwood offers to fund an expedition which will save the animals by bringing them to a n undisclosed safe habitat away from danger.
As plot requirements would have it, raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is recruited by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) in returning to the island. As the animals are corralled by para-military staff, it becomes clear that Lockwood’s assistant may have other plans for the beasts, and lucrative ones at that.
In a twist of irony, this film’s plot is sadly as convoluted as the hybridization of its interbred monstrosities, resulting in a veritable overextended mess.
To say that the movie’s teasers were misleading is being kind, into what amounts to an uneven adventure that quickly descends into a low-grade game of Clue, that is, if the dinos were the guests and the mansion was large enough to house a menagerie of jurassic predators.
Subplot threads are introduced only to be dropped outright, as if half the story got cut to make room for more visual FX in the production budget.
The billionaire’s granddaughter’s secret origins? Barely explored. Owen and Claire’s once promising romance? A bookmark in a throwaway improvised camping scene. Isla Nublar? Come and gone before you’ve finished your expensive large drink in the first act. And the charismatic Ian Malcolm (Goldblum)? Blink and you missed it. Like the theme park’s security features, the common sense of this project is down for the count, despite attempts to reboot.
The plodding dialogue barely allows Pratt the opportunity to shine, reducing him to a handful of reaction shots and sprints away from big bads. The villains of the piece aren’t quite twirling their mustaches, but they’re so predictably telegraphed you know where they’ll end up (hint: teeth and masticating are involved.)
The movie brings back B.D. Wong as the brilliant Dr. Wu (from the original film, as well as the last film), but he too is shortchanged and reduced to cautionary warnings about the risks (both physical and ethical) of meddling with incomplete science, etc…
To sum up this disaster of a…ahem…disaster film, suffice it to say that the performances are phoned in this time around, would be an insult to the telephone industry.
Yes, the beasties look real and dangerous, but weren’t they already in the last five films?
I’d be content to let sleeping dogs lie, but word has it that Colin Trevorrow is already planning the sixth installment by 2021.
Nature keeps finding a way. Personally, I wish it hadn’t.