Selected for Extinction, by Tyler Smith
The new trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has been posted and, frankly, it looks pretty awful. Sure, there seems to be some nice spectacle in there, but the premise sounds so outlandish and ridiculous, it makes the first Jurassic World look like Secrets and Lies. As I watched it, I literally laughed out loud as poor Chris Pratt did his best to sell the line, “A rescue op. Save the dinosaurs from an island that’s about to explode.” Everything about the line makes me picture a desperate studio executive in a bar, scribbling on a napkin before going into a meeting with his boss. Every last bit of the film feels like a calculation, right down to the appearance of Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm.
Don’t get me wrong; the first film was a cynical exercise in nostalgia, but it seemed aware of that, and even explored it a little. But even that film seemed to understand the importance of awe. This movie, like The Lost World: Jurassic Park before it, seems more than willing to dispense with the wonder in favor of a more simplified, action-packed tone. I’m not usually opposed to stripping a genre film down to its most basic elements, but when those involve something as big and dumb as “an island that’s about to explode”, the simplicity of it seems like less of an artistic choice and more like a creative shrug.
This is all doubly disappointing because I am such a fan of director J.A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls (my favorite film of 2016). I suppose I have faith that he’ll find various beautiful shades of lipstick to smear on this pig, but I just can’t see it ever looking that attractive.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that I could be wrong. It’s never a good idea to judge a film on its trailer alone. So, if Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom turns out to be great, I’ll be both relieved and excited. As of right now, this franchise looks creatively bankrupt.