MOVIE BUFF-ET: Pratt, stylish direction lift ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

Universal Pictures

There might be a tense mental contest of tug of war for those who choose to see “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

Which do you love more? Logic or dinosaurs?

You have to pick or you will painfully straddle the fence while watching the fifth foray into a prehistoric theme park that Stephen Spielberg first committed to film in his 1993 classic “Jurassic Park.”

New In Local Theaters

  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (PG-13) 2 hr. 8 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malco Springdale, Malco Rogers Towne, Malco Pinnacle Hills, Bentonville Starlight)
    » Watch trailer

Twenty-three years later, the Spielberg film remains a tight, scary playbook for a sci-fi adventure. It is the high bar for all modern giant monster films. Needless to say, director J.A. Bayona’s latest effort in the series falls short under “Jurassic Park’s” long shadow, but if you don’t mind ignoring some leaps in logic and plot pitfalls that are part and parcel with most pulpy sci-fi adventures, then you might have a good bit of fun joining Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as their characters Owen Grady and Claire Dearing return to the foreboding Isla Nublar, which was abandoned after the last movie when the dinosaurs overran the theme park.

This time the island and the dinosaurs are threatened by an impending volcanic eruption. Claire, the former operations director for Jurassic Park, is now a dinosaur activist who wants to save the beasts, while chaos theory expert Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) argues that the creatures impending doom is nature making a course correction for the mistake John Hammond made in cloning the creatures from prehistoric DNA.

Claire and Owen make it back to the island in an attempt to save the dinosaurs as part of the nefarious plans of Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), a silent partner to the deceased Hammond, who tells Claire and Owen he intends to save the creatures by moving them to another island in which he owns. The rub is that once Lockwood has the dinos on his property, he plans to auction them off to the highest billionaire bidder.

The film is a big-budget B-movie, but to his credit Bayona’s direction and style does quite a bit with a clunky script and the film’s greatest asset Pratt, who has become one of the most likable and bankable stars in Hollywood. It’s hard not to cheer for the affable actor who is as adept at action as he is with humor.

Bayona’s work shines the most in the second half of the film with some truly creepy scenes of the dinosaurs on the prowl in their new environment, which not only invoke fond but scary memories of the original film but also Bayona’s horror roots with his first film from 2007 “The Orphanage.”

Like most big-budget films today, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” relies heavily on CGI animation, and unfortunately a good bit of it comes off as undercooked. That’s unfortunate, but not uncommon in the series.

I had a good time watching the movie, but I’ve enjoyed sci-fi/horror adventure movies ever since I can remember. If you do as well, check the movie out. If you keep your expectations low, you probably shouldn’t be too disappointed.

(PG-13) 2 hr. 8 min.
Grade: B-

Classic Corner

West Side Story

Musicals are spectacles, and there is no place better to experience a spectacle than on the big screen.

Thanks to the Malco Razorback Theater and Fathom Events, local film fans have the opportunity to experience one of the best musicals ever committed to film on the big screen Sunday at 2 p.m. or Wednesday at 7 p.m. when “West Side Story” airs.

The 1961 classic, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, adapts the 1957 Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical take on the William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

It stars Natalie Wood in her signature role as Maria Nunez and Richard Beymer as Tony Wyzek as the star-crossed lovers. It also features a wonderful performance by Rita Moreno as Anita. Maria’s best friend, that won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

The entire film is gorgeously shot and filled with standout numbers such as “Maria,” “America,” “Tonight,” and “I Feel Pretty” to name a few.

In all, the film took garnered 10 Oscars, which makes it the most decorated musical of all time, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Score, Best Sound, Best Editing and Best Supporting Actor to George Chakris as Bernardo, Anita’s older brother as well as Moreno’s.

If you are a fan of musicals or Shakespeare, this is a film not to be missed on the big screen.