Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [IMAX/3D]
The latest in this never-ending franchise, helmed by Spanish director J.A. Bayona, proved that a good director can always be let down by a hamfisted and over-ambitious script, and also by leads that lacked chemistry together. Christ Pratt is an enigmatic lead actor: he has the charisma but not the acting chops; Bryce Dallas Howard - this time with sensible footwear - has still not found another breakout role since her The Village days.
The first and third acts were good, with great action sequences and moments of gorgeous cinematography and imagery (by cinematographer Oscar Faura), but it was really the second act which was the film's Achilles' heel. Writers Collin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly were over-ambitious in their attempt to intellectualise the film/franchise, but the execution and outcome was ultimately one of caricature over-simplicity. The pseudo-philosophical approach into ethics and morality was briefly broached but never bravely explored which then left the question of why even bring it up in the first place.
There was a strong dissonance between the producers and the creative forces on what they wanted this film, and the franchise, to be. And in the end, it was the final product that suffered which ended up being unsure if it wanted to be an all-out summer, popcorn, blockbuster flick or an intellectual summer, sci-fi thriller.
However, to Bayona's credit, and taking the preposterous and contrived elements out, there were some great scary and tensed moments reminiscent of his superb directorial breakout in The Orphanage. Similarly, all the rain-soaked settings showed us that Bayona still excelled out in the elements after his terrific work in The Impossible.
And like in The Impossible, Bayona showed that he has an ability to cast and direct his child-actors. Then we had a young Tom Holland, and now in JW:FK, Isabella Sermon will be a young actress to watch out for (Squirrel Girl anybody?).
Pratt should be thankful he was cast as Star Lord as the franchise is really not working out for him (but after Avengers: Infinity War he seemed to be losing the popularity vote there too).
Howard remained, as in the first film, a damsel to prop up the masculinity of Pratt's character.
The score was again by Michael Giacchino, and also like the first film, was a disappointment as it was again highly incongruous with the action on screen.
There is a great concept hidden within the story of this entry and perhaps the best way to explore it is to get away from the franchise and its baggage. Either that or totally embrace its horror/thriller/sci-fi roots.
IMAX was great this film, but not so much the 3D. Stay to the end for short end-credits sequence.