‘Jurassic World’ can’t escape oozing lava, much less itself

You don’t need me to tell you “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” opens this weekend.

If you watched any of the Golden Knights’ historic trip through the NHL postseason — and, judging by the ratings, you did — the movie got nearly as much screen time as that gap in Alex Ovechkin’s smile.

Honestly, if the technology existed, I wouldn’t have been surprised if NBC, the sister company of “Jurassic World” studio Universal, had set a raptor loose on the ice. (As long as the Washington Capitals’ Tom Wilson was out there at the time, though, I’m not certain I would have minded.)

Anyway, it’s been three years since the theme park was destroyed, and now Isla Nublar itself is in danger. There’s an active volcano on the island, ready to erupt at any minute, that will kill every last remaining dinosaur.

The fact that not one but two wealthy CEOs, John Hammond and Simon Masrani, decided to build theme parks full of dinosaurs on a remote island with a volcano is simply astounding.

In the years since escaping the park, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) has devoted her life to caring for the animals through the horribly named Dinosaur Protection Group. She’s recruited by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) to save as many as she can. Mills, you see, is the assistant to the frail Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the heretofore never-even-hinted-at partner who developed the dinosaur cloning technique with Hammond — despite Hammond’s having been established as possessing zero scientific abilities.

Claire hasn’t seen Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) since their breakup. But Mills desperately needs Blue, the raptor that Owen raised like a child, so Claire drags him back into danger. “Save the dinosaurs on an island that’s about to explode. What could go wrong?” Owen snarks.

Plenty. Just not in ways the filmmakers intended.

Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, half of the writing staff of “Jurassic World,” and J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”), taking over directing duties from Trevorrow, create a handful of exciting moments on Isla Nublar. What they don’t do is demonstrate any knowledge of how lava works. (Hint: Its temperature is more than 1,000 degrees. It isn’t acid; it doesn’t have to touch you to dissolve you. Also, something that hot can’t exactly sneak up on a person.)

But they set roughly the entire second half of the movie inside a creepy, preposterously elaborate mansion. A dinosaur movie has never felt so claustrophobic.

Without giving too much away, there’s a group of shady individuals who have sinister designs on the Isla Nublar refugees, which creates a bit of a dilemma: Do you root for the cold-blooded monsters who could destroy the world? Or do you root for the dinosaurs?

Claire and Owen are joined by hacker Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), aka Screamy von Nerdsalot, and paleo-veterinarian Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), both of whom disappear for long stretches and aren’t particularly missed. The combined characters don’t register half as strongly as Lowery Cruthers, the fanboy control room employee played by “New Girl’s” Jake Johnson, who was the unsung hero of “Jurassic World.”

But at least Jeff Goldblum is back as Dr. Ian Malcolm, right? Yes. For about four minutes. And he’s simply testifying at a Senate hearing, urging elected officials to let nature run its course on the island.

Claire, meanwhile, is intent on saving every last one of the creatures — except the one attacking her and Owen. Killing that one, which is only following its instincts, is just fine. It’s a confusing message in a confusing movie.

Even Pratt, one of the most gifted action-comedy actors around, is rarely allowed to showcase his charisma.

The premise of “Jurassic World” was that people who have grown up with dinosaurs — i.e., the generation raised on “Jurassic Park” and its sequels — have grown bored with them and that those who create the dinosaurs must keep upping the ante to create interest. Instead of upping the ante, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” mucks its hand.

The best entries in the franchise elicit a genuine sense of wonder. The only wonder on display here is wondering how things turned out so terribly dull.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes
New Brunch Spot The Stove Makes Unicorn Hot Chocolate And Bananas Foster Pancakes. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup
The Octopus On The Las Vegas Strip Predicted The Winner Of The World Cup. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
TLC by the Numbers
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
How to feel like a kid again in Las Vegas
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall
People Lined Up For Over 5 Hours For Build-a-bear's "Pay Your Age" Promotion At Galleria Mall. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Pawn Stars' Richard Harrison honored at memorial service
A memorial service was conducted for Richard "Old Man" Harrison at Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas on Sunday, July 1, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
5 must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
Five must-see bands at Warped Tour 2018
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table.
This Banana Split In Las Vegas Is Made With Fire And Liquid Nitrogen Right At Your Table. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster
Pixar Pier At Disneyland Is Open With New Food And A New Roller Coaster (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland
Here's What It's Like To Ride The New Incredicoaster At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Get a sneak peek at Palace Station's newest renovations
Station Casinos spokesperson Lori Nelson gives a first look at what Palace Station's $192 million renovation will bring. Some areas will begin opening to the public next week according to Nelson. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas
You Can Only Get The 11-pound 8-person Burger In Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas
Bellagio's New Conservatory Brings Italian Summer To Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
Kari Curletto of Las Vegas put over 500 hours into making her toilet paper wedding dress. (Courtesy Kari Curletto)
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France
The Real Crepe In Las Vegas Serves Authentic Crepes In The Style Of Brittany, France. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
New Marilyn Musical Brings Screen Icons Life To Strip
Paris Las Vegas hosts musical bio featuring new, old tunes. (Carol Cling Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
Vegas' hottest concerts of the summer
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas
We Taste-tested The Best Doughnut Shops In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like