Today marks the 25th anniversary of the original Jurassic Park!
The Singapore Fossil Collectors Group organised our first ever movie screening last Saturday of the latest installment of the franchise – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and were delighted to see sixteen fossil fanatics show up, including even some who were coming to see the movie for the second time!
Couldn’t think of anything befitting than our first-ever movie review. Here are the highlights of the movie for me:
The movie returns to Isla Nublar, three years after Jurassic World’s ill-fated second resort left off. You would have seen in the trailer that the premise involves saving the dinosaurs from an impending volcanic eruption. Although Costa Rica does lie along the Pacific Ring of Fire, it is quite unfathomable that a billion-dollar corporation such as Masrani Global would have neglected to factor this risk into their site selection study!
Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), now a dinosaur rights activist at the Dinosaur Protection Group, is reunited with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) on a rescue mission to re-site some 11 species of dinosaurs to a new deserted island home. Dinosaur lovers are in for a treat, as this time several new species join our favourite raptors, T-Rex, and Mosasaur: the Ankylosaurus, Allosaurus, Carnotaurus, Compsognathus, Gallimimus, Stegosaurus, and even a Baryonyx!
The main characters don’t quite manage to make a clean getaway before the eruption, but somehow most of the dinosaurs still end up captured and stowed onto a ship. As it turns out, the aide running expedition sponsor Benjamin Lockwood’s foundation has gone rogue, and is instead shipping the animals back to the Lockwood Manor to auction them to black market arms dealers! This would explain why they only needed one of each of the animals rather than a mating pair, although this little detail may have escaped our intrepid adventurers or paleoveterinarian Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) who thought they were re-locating the animals. One of my favourite scenes on the ship is where Clare and Owen find themselves trying inside a claustrophobic container with a drowsy T-Rex, trying to draw its blood!
The plot goes on to spend an extended part of the movie in the manor, which, apart from featuring an amazing museum, also has an underground lab, zoo, auction house, and logistics depot! In the hands of Spanish horror director JA Bayona (The Orphanage, A Monster Calls), this mansion also becomes a sort of ‘haunted’ house for the ensemble – including Lockwood’s young granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon)- to play cat and mouse.
Yes, the plot may have as many holes as a Sinoceratops’ frill (just a couple, really!) and yes, it would have been nice if the story had more breakthroughs like the first Jurassic World did (e.g. an actual working theme park, hybrid dinos, raptor training, giant Mosasaur, as well as the idea of weaponising dinos – why not re-introduce Mammoths, sabretooth cats, Megalodon, or even Meganeura this time?). The acting and chemistry among the cast was good, the suspense and action was fun, the storyline had some moral takeaways for the kids, and of course the dinosaurs were spectacular as always.
Longtime Jurassic Park fans will enjoy seeing Dr Ian Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) cameo, but the dinosaurs were the real stars, especially clips of velociraptor Blue and his siblings when they were babies. There’s also a particularly adorable but grumpy Stygimoloch, who brings new meaning to the phrase ‘bull in a china shop’.
What are you waiting for? Go catch the movie already, or watch it for a second time!