Tonight I went to see the latest Jurassic World episode. I ate my own bodyweight in salted popcorn, and I think that, the slightly excessive two hour climbing session I had beforehand, and then sitting in an ice-cold cinema being battered with two hours of a blockbuster hammer was a bad idea. Saturated with salt, I could hardly stand afterwards. So my enjoyment of the spectacle may have been somewhat marred.
Jurassic Park: Lost Kingdom is really two films, bookended between scenes of Jeff Goldblum talking about science and how we’ve changed the world. Not that he’s one to talk, after he turned himself into a giant fly in the 1980s. It does allow him at the end of the film to say we’re now in a Jurassic World, although for true cheesiness I’d have preferred him to tell the Senate committee that “we’re now in a Jurassic World colon Lost Kingdom” but I guess you can’t have it all.
The first film is about how the dinosaurs are on a volcanic island, Isla Nublar, and the volcano is going to kill everyone. I don’t consider this a spoiler as the two best scenes from the film (giant dinosaur shark eating man dangling from helicopter, and giant dinosaur shark eating surfers) were spoilt by being front and centre in all the trailers. It rather ruins the twist in a scene of man-being-rescued-from-Tyrannosaurus-Rex when you know he’s going to get eaten by something else immediately anyway. Also, I know it’s not a dinosaur shark, but by now nobody gives a shit anyway. The filmmakers keep inventing new dinosaurs with stupid names because you can trademark the toys, whereas you can’t get exclusivity on a T Rex toy because, well, it’s a T Rex.
Hence the “Indoraptor” which, surprise surprise, isn’t a cross between an Indonesian and a Velociraptor, it’s a cross between the bad (because genetic engineering) Indominus Rex from the last film (also required for trademark purposes, because toys have to sell) and the good Velociraptor (because the previous films’ predators now have to be the good guys, even if in real life they were chicken-sized packages of death). Genetic engineering means disaster, which means some quite entertaining scenes of bad guys being chased around a big old house by a killer dinosaur, as well as a child who screams a lot when she should be running for her life and wait for it – another twist about genetic engineering that feels like it should be a huge and weighty reveal but is tossed aside like it was in the first draft and forgetten about ever since. No, seriously. The second genetic engineering twist (which I won’t talk about here) should be massive, but it’s just mentioned and then nobody seems to care. It would be like revealing Vader is Luke’s dad, and then nobody so much as shrugs their shoulders.
So anyway, first half is silliness with volcanoes (it turns out you can survive lying right next to a lava flow, because convection and radiation of heat definitely aren’t things at all (and neither are poisonous gases)) but we’re watching a film about dinosaurs so suspension of disbelief should be a given, and second half is silliness in a haunted house. The supporting characters are flimsier than the cardboard box that contained my popcorn, and generate about as much interest. The dinosaurs are great though, and I suppose it’s just a shame that after spending all the budget on them, nobody could afford a scriptwriter.