(US - 2018)
Directed by J.A. Bayona. Written by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow. Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Jeff Goldblum, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon, Peter Jason, Robert Emms, Charlie Rawes, Kevin Layne, John Schwab. (PG-13, 128 mins)
Five films into a 25-year-old blockbuster franchise--let's count this all as one series--and it's understandable that coming up with fresh ideas might be a little difficult. JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, the follow-up to the 2015 reboot/sequel JURASSIC WORLD, recognizes this, and while it includes numerous visual callbacks and shout-outs to previous installments (including the brief return of an iconic fan favorite), it basically opts for the insane route, with a second-half shift into territory that's so illogical and ludicrous that it can't help but make itself oddly endearing. There's enough sly moments throughout--Bryce Dallas Howard's introduction begins with a close-up of her high heels that's so blatant that it can't be anything but a middle finger to everyone still bitching about her footwear from JURASSIC WORLD--that I'm actually willing to give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt. Feel free to argue the plot holes and inconsistencies all you want, but I think they're well aware that they've made what will probably be the dumbest movie of 2018. I can't recall another director harangued more for getting a lucky break than Colin Trevorrow was with JURASSIC WORLD three years ago. Though the directorial reins have been handed off to Guillermo del Toro protege J.A. Bayona (THE ORPHANAGE, THE IMPOSSIBLE, A MONSTER CALLS), Trevorrow remains onboard as a producer and co-writer. With that in mind, it's very much Bayona's film, especially with its improbable second-half location change, but the director seems more than willing to help his franchise predecessor troll the trolls with bits like that high-heel intro, and a later shot where Howard's character arrives on an island and Bayona is sure to spend more time than necessary showing the audience that she's wearing boots.