Characters in new Jurassic World entry can’t escape dinosaurs — or predictability

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard being very quiet.

A breeze sweeps in from an open window, shoving aside white curtains and moving shadows along the walls of a young girl’s bedroom. A pair of eyes peeks nervously out from underneath a plush blanket. The curtains’ shadows aren’t the only ones illuminated by the moonlight.

A second shadow creeps toward the bed, as a wickedly hooked claw slowly moves near the girl. She sinks into her bed, wishing she could be invisible. The claw, an inch from her face, reaches out…

…And the bedroom door is thrown open by our fearless Hollywood action star, Chris Pratt. If this scene of a dinosaur sneaking up to scare a 10-year-old in middle of the night sounds familiar, it would be right to feel that way. After all, this is a pretty generic scene in horror movies and thrillers.

And if fans of the original Jurassic Park trilogy were looking for a movie with a similar nature (and by nature, I mean plot line), then Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will deliver.

The plot is extremely predictable much like the past movies. But it lacks the classic science fiction appeal which the earlier versions possessed. All there is in that department is a quick cameo from Jeff Goldblum, then zero re-appearances from characters in the originals.

After the reopened Jurassic Park closes, dinosaur activists across the globe gather to protect the endangered animals from extinction by volcano, including Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, Claire. She and her ex, Owen (Pratt), are asked by a wealthy and suspicious heir to the park’s fortune to come “save the dinosaurs.” But rather than saving them, he wants to use them as the next innovation in warfare.

Can you see a plot pattern? Hero and heroine return to the dangerous dinosaur park where they — and another central character who cares about the dinosaurs — are then double crossed by our rich bad guy. Terrible ending for the double crossers, but the heroes get off okay. It’s a pretty familiar story.

With repetitious plots infecting recent action, adventure and horror movies, critical fans were looking for something new in the sequel film.

While any audience member could predict the fate of each character in any scene, some of the suspenseful and gory moments cleverly placed within the movie could be appreciated by any true horror fan. Scenes of a scaly arm reaching out to touch a young girl’s ponytail or a dinosaur ripping apart an ignorant mercenary — blood, guts and all — show that director J.A. Bayona’s horror roots (The Orphanage) hold him in good stead when it comes to creating dinosaur suspense.

And while Bayona may have the audience on the edge of their seats, he foolishly assumes that the audience is able to keep up with the many characters with unexplained backstories. Even loyal fans were puzzling over who was who, and how all of them could possibly fit into one plot.

Not only are the backstories overrun by a speedy plot, but a filmmaker trying to cram the picture with a scrappy love story — and seizing on every comic relief opportunity — will fall short.

So, if viewers are looking for a trademark action movie with little depth, they’ll be satisfied. But for those hoping for a stronger connection to the classic Jurassic trilogy — not so much.


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