Tag Archives: dinosaurs

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – A Review

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM poster 2 (Speed Art) by ...

While this blogger loves dinosaurs, she has never been a particularly big fan of the Jurassic Park trilogy. Horror really isn’t her thing. Yes, she does read a fair bit of Dean Koontz, and she has posted reviews of his books here at Thoughts (when she gets around to it). But the fact remains that horror really does not appeal to her.

So you can imagine, readers, how well the Mithril Guardian reacted to being roped into watching the Jurassic World films. There was some whining and a lot of sighing, but the person asking me to watch the movie with them is a good friend. In the end, I couldn’t say no.

In the final tally, Jurassic World was about as bad as this writer thought it would be. Although she likes Chris Pratt as much as the next Marvel viewer, she knew going in that he probably would not be able to save the movie. It was nice to see him playing a serious role compared to his portrayal of Star-Lord/Peter Quill, of course, but good acting does not a good film make. And there was not a lot to recommend Jurassic World in the first place.

Honestly, I did not expect Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to be any better. It looked to be an even bigger cash grab than its predecessor. The advertisement where Chris Pratt and his co-star try to bring his emotional support Velociraptor aboard a plane was funny and on point, but that was hardly an indicator of where the story would go.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Trailer Is Finally Here

To my considerable surprise, however, Fallen Kingdom was actually quite impressive. While I do not wish to give away spoilers, some must be given for context in this discussion. In Jurassic World we see that, after the previous disasters at Jurassic Park, it was decided to make another amusement park full of the prehistoric beasts. Because if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, right? Besides, this park is on an isolated island off the coast of South America. So even if things go horribly wrong, the damage will still be confined. Right?

Yeah, well, that plan went about as well as anyone with half a brain would expect. There was carnage, mayhem, death – and, eventually, lawsuits. Not to mention a genetically engineered dino that killed for sport and preferred human flesh to that of its fellow dinos. The aptly named Indominous Rex was eventually killed, of course. But as with all dinosaurs, the bones remain….

But who can let any of that slow down the effort to protect the reincarnation of an extinct species? We already lost the magnificent “thunder lizards” once millennia in the past. Shouldn’t we expend every resource to keep them around, despite the danger they pose to man and (specifically) modern society?

These questions become quite pressing in Fallen Kingdom. You see, the volcano on the island where the remaining dinos live is on the verge of an eruption. Anything  on the island when that happens will die – including, naturally, the dinosaurs. Unsurprisingly, animal rights’ activists jump into action to save the magnificent lizards from a second extinction. They are led by the former manager of Jurassic World, one Claire Dearing. Having broken up with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) after rekindling their relationship at the end of the previous film, she is trying hard to save the remaining dinosaurs.

Meanwhile, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), is on Capitol Hill urging Congress to let the dinosaurs die. Arguing that cloning them in the first place was wrong, he makes the eloquent point that genetic research and successful cloning has opened up a Pandora’s Box of possibilities for Hell on Earth. If they rescue the animals now they will lose any hope of preventing genetic (and saurian) Armageddon in the near future.

For once in collective Hollywood memory, the politicians actually make the right decision. They refuse to save the dinosaurs. Instead, they vote to let them go extinct once again.

Claire and her acolytes are devastated. But before the mourning can begin in earnest, she receives a call from Eli Mills, the assistant to Sir Benjamin Lockwood. Lockwood, one of the two men responsible for cloning the first dinosaurs, has a plan to save the as many of the thunder lizards as he can. And naturally, he wants Claire to help mastermind the secret – and highly illegal – rescue operation.

But Claire knows they need someone special to bring in the lone surviving Velociraptor from the previous film. The cream of the latest crop of clones, this raptor has shown above animal empathy and intelligence. Dubbed Blue, she was the beta of her pack until the fracas on the island left her alone. Who was the alpha of the pack? The man who trained her and the other raptors, of course: Owen Grady.

Despite his (second) break-up with Claire, Owen is currently building a family-sized cabin out in the California countryside. He is also not thrilled to see his former girlfriend, who insists he dumped her when it was the other way around. Initially, he sides with the government, preferring to let the dinos go extinct again rather than let them cause more death and destruction.

However, his ex knows his weakness and is not afraid to lean on it. She reminds him of Blue, insisting that he cannot leave her to die. Even though he knew Jurassic World was and is doomed to failure, Owen still has a strong affection for the Velociraptor. And although he tries to stick to his guns, it is a losing battle. When the plane takes off for the island, Owen is on it – well ahead of everyone else.

The rest of the story is an edge-of-your-seat, rip-roaring ride. As far as this blogger can recall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the only installment in the series to win her affection. And most of this is due to the two intertwining, timely themes that the film presents to audiences.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Official Trailer | Jason's ...

One is that nature always wins. Though it is spoiling the story a bit, the fact is that no one learned from the mistakes of the previous movie. Creating a genetically modified killing machine, which is what the Indominous Rex and its unholy progeny are, is to play God. Nature abhors anyone who messes with His order, whether they recognize that it is His or not, and sooner or later it always makes the meddler pay the piper. Fallen Kingdom demonstrates this to perfection, and it would earn two stars for that premise alone.

However, what makes it a five star movie is how it presents genetic manipulation in general. The testimony of Jeff Goldblum’s character highlights just how much potential this science has to ruin Earth and mankind if it is misused. While the initial effects might have a great deal to recommend them, the implications are more frightening than those produced by the first atomic bomb. If man isn’t careful, he could unleash real Hell on Earth, doing irreparable damage to himself and the world he calls home in the process.

These are surprisingly poignant, pointed themes to present to audiences today. With all the so-called “advances” being made in genetics, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom explores just a few of the issues that could arise if man stretches out for the forbidden fruit – again. This is one of the last movies I would have expected to go in this direction, but the fact remains that the story works surprisingly well and, thus, it earned my affection.

If you liked the original Jurassic Park films, then Fallen Kingdom should be right up your alley. And even if you think the franchise is overblown, I feel pretty confident in recommending this movie to you. Unlike many of Hollywood’s recently made sequels, this one is actually more than a crass cash grab. It is actually worth your precious time and, if you want to spend it, your money.

But don’t take my word on any of this. Pick up Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and form your own opinion of it!

‘Til next time!

The Mithril Guardian

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom TV Spot Takes Us off the Island

Book Review: Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time


Hi, Meggie,

How is the writing going?  That’s great!

How am I doing?  Well, I’m busier than I would like to be.  But aren’t we all?

I know.  Usually, I write to Murdock about a book I have read.  And if he was not so busy with the rest of the A-Team at the moment, I suppose I would be writing to him.  But he’s out with Hannibal, “on the jazz,” and I don’t know when he’ll be back.  You don’t mind if I write to you since I can’t reach him, do you?

Great!  Let’s get started.

There is a book I know of which you may want to hunt up.  It is called Dinotopia: The Land Apart From Time.  I read it some time ago and have never forgotten it.  The story is not too bad; it is a bit of a cross between The Swiss Family Robinson and The Lost World.

See, in Dinotopia, dinosaurs never became extinct.  After some years of living quietly on the island, they had visitors: humans washed up on the shore after their ships were wrecked.  These vessels either crashed and wrecked on the reef surrounding the island, or were damaged in the storms that encircle Dinotopia 24/7.

Some humans found ways off of Dinotopia.  But most stayed, making a new civilization with the dinosaurs.  This new civilization (like its language) is an amalgamation of all the other known societies on the planet.  The dinosaurs add their own elements to the culture, including their language, known in the story as Saurian.

Yes, you guessed it.  This is a language of chirps, hoots, and any other sounds that dinosaurs can make.  The sounds humans cannot replicate themselves are imitated by other means.

All in all, though, the story is not quite what fascinated me.  Why?  Well, we will have to go back a bit in order for me to explain.

The author of Dinotopia is James Gurney, an artist for National GeographicDinotopia is largely composed of his fantastic paintings and sketches of life in the fictional land of Dinotopia.  He draws the dinosaurs, the landscapes, the people, and the buildings.

This is what stayed with me after reading Dinotopia.  The drawings are not just beautiful; they get the mind whirling with possibilities.  What would it be like to live amidst waterfalls (such as in the Dinotopian metropolis Waterfall City)?  How about making a bridge designed after a dinosaur’s (or other vertebrate’s) backbone?  What about making gliders designed to resemble real flying creatures?

This is what stayed with me.  The artwork often stays with me after reading any kind of fiction, but specifically Dinotopia.  And this makes me ask this question: When was the last time anything was built beautifully?  I do not mean beautifully safe, or beautifully perfect.  I mean beautiful.

Take the example of, say, the Chrysler building.  It is a unique skyscraper with engravings and gargoyles on its outside.  And it has a spire reaching for the sky, almost like a needle at the top of a block tower.  Then there is the Space Needle in Seattle, the Lincoln Memorial, and countless other landmarks around the world.

I have seen a lot of different skyscrapers.  Some are unique in their own way; a few are even beautiful.  But after a while, I feel that if you have seen one skyscraper, you have seen them all.  Over the years skyscrapers have become nothing but pillars of steel and glass.  There is very little to distinguish one skyscraper form the other; very little that makes them anything more than giant metal, glass-encased obelisks.  Cities across the globe are, after a point, full of nothing but glass Lego towers.

Apartment buildings and condominiums have the same problem.  Walking around in such neighborhoods one gets the feeling they are stuck in a world of cardboard boxes.  The buildings on the left side of the street are often (not always, but often) the mirror image of the buildings on the right side of the street.

This lack of individuality, flair, cheerfulness, etc., has not only largely invaded the world of architecture, it has crept into other ways of life, too.  Cars and trucks, for instance, are no longer built for size or beauty.

Now, instead of being spacious and appealing eye-candy, cars and trucks across the country are nearly clones of each other.  One can hardly tell the difference between a Chevy Suburban and a GMC Yukon.  I cannot tell the difference between a Toyota Corolla and most Ford sedans.  Only minute details proclaim the distinction between vehicles, excepting the names on the vehicles’ sides and the emblems blazoned on their grills.

All in all, I cannot help wondering whether or not the people who build the skyscrapers, the architects for those skyscrapers, or the designers for vehicles, have ever read anything other than their handbook materials since they went into business.  They are all buried in a dull anthill pattern of life that simply builds because that is how they win their bread.  There are no longer many personal touches added to the hoards of buildings being constructed presently, nor are designers stamping the vehicles they churn out every day as notable standouts from the crowd.

It is a pattern of these artists own weaving; as such, only they can find a way to change it.

I know that, Meggie.  I am not unsympathetic.  I know that contractors, architects, and designers have to follow safety guidelines.  I certainly would not want someone to build an ‘abstract’ skyscraper, with one floor jutting out to the left and the next one up jutting out to the right.  I definitely do not want to see an apartment complex built to look like a mountain of sludge.  I am not even sure that either suggestion would be geometrically possible.

But there are creative touches that can be applied to these buildings and machines which are within the realm of geometric possibility, and which are within safety guidelines.  There is proof of it all over the world.

As I said, it is a pattern that these artists have chosen to weave for their lives.  If they choose to march in identical uniforms, none but they can change their costumes.  Therefore, I am glad that, in the realm of fiction at least, there are those who choose to weave brighter and better patterns for public consumption.

I have to go.  Maybe we could chat another time?

Wonderful!  See you then!