Saturday, June 30, 2018

The latest in the Jurassic series is the best yet (though the best still remains a bit "iffy")

The much-vaunted Jurassic Park franchise finally turned tiresome enough, culminating in the 2015 episode that proved so boring that TrustMovies had begun referring to the series as Jurassic Fart: a bunch of dinosaurs running amok amidst a lot of hot air. What a surprise, then, to actually enjoy the latest installment, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. This one boasts the usual silliness, coincidence and longueurs that have plagued the series since inception, but it also grows better, more interesting and exciting as it moves along -- which proves pretty much the opposite of the rest of the sequels, which were increasingly paint-by-numbers productions.

The movie's not great by any means, but the dinosaurs are a bit more fun and inventive this time around (see below), while the story, though full of already overused ideas --  Let's weaponize 'em! -- manages an environmental resonance missing from the earlier films, which helps moves the viewer regarding the fate of some of these creatures.

With the gifted J.A. Bayona (shown at right) as director (he did The Impossible, A Monster Calls and episodes of the great Penny Dreadful cable series), the movie is never less than watchable. Along with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, that scary-but-sweet dinosaur, "Blue," returns, too, and proves every bit as helpful as ever.

The supporting cast is competent and well-chosen -- Rafe Spall and Toby Jones are standouts -- and production-wise, the movie generally sparkles, even at its dark and muddiest. This may be a time-waster for dino-lovers, but at least that time, in the hands of these particular professionals, can be wasted in relative enjoyment.

From Universal and running the requisite two hours and eight minutes, the film is playing just about everywhere. Click here to find the theater(s) nearest you.

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