JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM – After a positively smashing pre-credit sequence that winds up having bloody little to do with the rest of the movie, this fifth cinematic installment about genetically created dinosaurs running amok becomes a continuing exercise in people doing stupid things to get themselves devoured by pre-historic carnivores. Let’s start with returning to Isla Nublar where an erupting volcano threatens the existence of the creatures who have made the island their home for the last three years. As thrilling as it is to watch animals and humans dodging flying missiles of molten lava, you can’t help but wonder why these dopes went to a small island with a huge active volcano to rescue predatory behemoths that should have been permanently exterminated or isolated a quarter century ago. The answer to the last part of that question is given when a conspiratorial double cross has the prehistoric giants drugged and hijacked on the command of a scheming aide (Rafe Spall) to a gazillionaire (James Cromwell) who plans to keep them confined on the grounds of the latter’s northern California estate. Gosh, what could possibly go wrong in this implausible scenario? Just about everything, of course, and Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow’s screenplay goes from one Saturday afternoon serial style cliffhanger to the next. While the action does register on the entertainment scale, one can’t help but have an overwhelming sense of déjà vu at having seen all of this before in previous JURASSIC movies. This prevailing “sameness” overrides really excellent camerawork from Oscar Faura plus Bernat Vilaplana’s crisp editing that manages to produce a few quality segments. But even with the occasional pseudo-philosophical discussions about whether man should interfere with natural history (Didn’t these guys learn anything from the other four movies?), this is a rather mindless money grab of a film populated with cartoonish characters in a franchise that finds itself trapped in a creative tar pit from which there doesn’t appear to be an escape. CRITIC’S GRADE: C+
CLOSING CREDITS: Even the oh-so brief post-credit sequence seems to be promising a recycling of the plot from one of its film predecessors. It’s a tight shot of a pair of pterodactyls perched atop the Eiffel Tower at the Paris resort in Las Vegas. Sort of makes you wonder why these “big birds” hadn’t flown away from Isla Nublar before now, doesn’t it? It’s likely setting the stage, a la a Marvel movie post-credit sequence, for the next film in the series which foreshadows a rehash of THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK (1997) where the creatures wreaked havoc in San Diego. But there may also be a metaphorical, thematic purpose in play since the tower in Sin City is a created replica of the real thing…sort of like the DNA replicated dinosaurs sure to feast on the tourists on the Strip below. I’m just saying.