‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Review

Stop trying to save these dinosaurs

BY:

Of all the fantastic things in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom—the cloned dinos; the hand-trained raptors; the black market auction of murderous meatosaurs to Russian crime lords—the most fantastic of them is this: Congress actually gets something right!

As the film opens, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is testifying in front of some committee or another about proposed efforts to evacuate dinosaurs from Isla Nubar, which is about to experience an apocalyptic volcanic event. The argument, such as it is, goes something like this: "Well, the dinosaurs are going to go extinct, again, so maybe we should save them?" Malcolm, needless to say, is pretty okay with the dinos going bye bye.

And Congress backs him, more or less, saying the American government has no business engaging in what amounts to an effort to relocate private property off foreign soil at great expense to the American taxpayer. Needless to say, this causes much heartbreak from the doe-eyed innocents running a nonprofit attempting to convince Congress that the dinosaurs need saving.

Their leader is former Jurassic World employee Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who simply can't believe that anyone would be okay with the dinosaurs going extinct again. She has to convince Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to come with her to save the raptor, Blue, as part of an expedition mounted by a rich guy we've never heard of before who was apparently John Hammond's (Richard Attenborough) partner years ago and blah blah blah guess what the whole ploy was a fake and something bad is going to happen to the dinosaurs even if they get off the island.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is very much in line with its predecessor: It's a big, dumb action movie with some charming performances that doesn't make much sense and feels quite comfortable with its stupidity, thank you. The very dilemma at the heart of the film is nonsensical: In a world where you can clone dinosaurs, why would anyone be worried about dinosaurs "going extinct" again? Why would people spend their lives trying to save these big dumb beasts from being blown up by a volcano?

More importantly, though, everyone involved in the project is either an immoral idiot or an amoral clod. I get the sense that we're supposed to cheer for the survival of the dinosaurs—even if that means repatriating them to the U.S. mainland—because … well, it's hard to say. Because they look cool, I guess? It doesn't matter that these are murderous apex predators whose introduction into the ecosystem will not only devastate natural wildlife but also lead to the deaths of countless humans: Hey, the dinosaurs deserve to live here too, man.

It almost makes sense, as the new films in the series have attempted to, if not quite anthropomorphize the dinosaurs, suggest that they can be useful allies to good humans and the worst enemies of bad humans. Whereas Jurassic Park understood that tampering with the primal forces of nature was bound to end in tragedy, Jurassic World and its sequel suggest that, well, maybe we can all just get along. It's telling that the only truly "evil" dinosaurs are the Indominus Rex and the Indoraptor, two creatures brought to life by humans mucking about with dinosaur genetics.

Every other dino can be helpful, borderline cute. The T-Rex is frequently called upon to save the day. The raptors are basically just big puppies. Pachycephalosaurs are adorable battering rams.

Not every film needs to be a treatise on man's responsibility to himself and nature writ large, of course. And the Jurassic World movies are obviously pretty comfortable with wallowing in absurdity. Which is fine. Just disappointing.

Sonny Bunch   Email Sonny | Full Bio | RSS
Sonny Bunch is executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon, he served as a staff writer at the Washington Times, an assistant editor at The Weekly Standard, and an editorial assistant at Roll Call. He has also worked at the public relations and nonprofit management firm Berman and Company. Sonny’s work has appeared in the above outlets, the Wall Street Journal, Commentary, National Review, the New Atlantis, Policy Review, and elsewhere. A 2004 graduate of the University of Virginia, Sonny lives in Washington, D.C. His Twitter handle is @SonnyBunch.

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