Tuesday, July 17, 2018


Dateline: New York City. Friday, June 22.

Between attending the special Marvel family screening of the first two episodes of Luke Cage’s second season and our subway ride to Queens for the evening’s New York Mets baseball game, my son Ed and I went to the Regal Cinema “E-Walk Stadium 13 and RPX” on West 42nd Street. There weren’t movie theaters like this when I lived in the neighborhood in the 1970s. I enjoy going to them when I visit the city. Their high ticket prices aside, both this theater and the AMC 25 across the street provide a most enjoyable viewing experience. I recommend them.

There were several movies we wanted to see that afternoon, but the only one that fit our schedule was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). That was at the bottom of our list because Ed hadn’t liked 2015's Jurassic World as much as I had. His taste in movies is more refined than my own. I go easier on movies and TV shows than I do comic books because I know how to make great comic books. With the possibility of my making movies in the near future, that might well change. But I hope it doesn’t. I like a little cheese with my cinema.

Fallen Kingdom is kind of sort of two movies in one. Directed by J.A. Bayona and written by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow, the “first” is a survival tale. Owen Grady [played by Chris Pratt] and Claire Dearing [Bryce Dallas Howard] are on a mission to save the dinosaurs from the about-to-explode-in-volcanic-armaggeddon island home of the former Jurassic World. Also on the island are hunters with a very different agenda in mind.

The “second” movie is all about ruthless businessmen trying to make big bucks selling the dinosaurs and their DNA to equally ruthless politicians while scientists salivate over continuous opportunities to play God. Oh, the folly of man!

Ian Malcolm [Jeff Goldblum] returns to the franchise in two scenes that bookend the movie. Dr. Wu, he of no moral boundaries, is also back to cook up new dinosaur stew. Between Wu and Hugo Strange on Gotham, B.D. Wong is getting typecast as mad scientists. Though he does play them very well. The velociraptor Blue also returns for a reunion with Alpha Male Owen.


The rampaging dinosaurs are familiar but fun. The exploding island bits are properly pyrotechnic with some chills. Even with all that, the “first” movie just isn’t very good.

Honestly, the “second” movie isn’t very good either. The auction of the dinosaurs goes exactly where you would expect it to go. There are the usual gory deaths. Even the special effects are all things we’ve seen before. However, there is one element in the second part of the movie that intrigued me mightily. I only barely saw it coming.

Plunky young heroine Maisie [Isabella Sermon] is introduced to us as the granddaughter of Sir Benjamin Lockwood [James Cromwell], the unbelievable rich former partner of John Hammond, the visionary who first conceived of Jurassic Park. Hammond and Lockwood had a major falling-out before the original Jurassic Park movie. We don’t learn the reason for this until one of the bad guys reveals Maisie isn’t really Lockwood’s granddaughter. She’s a clone of Lockwood’s dead daughter. Even Hammond thought cloning people took their research too far. This revelation is one of the two elements that, while it doesn’t come close to saving Fallen Kingdom, makes me eager for the next chapter in the series.

The other element? The dinosaurs are loose in our world. Those of the auction animals who weren’t already removed from the sprawling estate where they were sold have escaped to take their frightening place in our world. Those that were removed can be studied by their new owners, turned into weapons or war and replicated the same way you can mass-produced conventional weapons.And what if scientists like Wu decide to clone and improve on human beings. Man’s place at the top of the food chain can no longer be taken for granted.

While you’re waiting for that next movie, you probably should see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Because you’ll want to be caught up on the continuity and because even bad movies featuring rampaging dinosaurs are still kind of sort of cool.


Come back tomorrow for the concluding part of my “Coast to Coast with Marvel Comics” series as Saintly Wife Barb and I travel to Los Angeles for the world premiere of Ant-Man and the Wasp. With surprise guest stars and celebrity interactions. See you then. 

© 2018 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. If we look at it realistically, the dinosaurs loose in our world would still be in a lot of trouble. They would be facing viruses, bacteriological infections and toxins that did not exist tens of millions of years ago. And Man is still the top predator due to his ability to think and innovate. And the world has changed in other ways: climate, oxygen content of the atmosphere and even the air pressure. I don't think the critters could breed fast enough to really thrive unless they were somehow in a secluded and protected environment.

    But that may just be my take.

    Andrew Laubacher