I had the misfortune of watching the recent Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a movie not well recieved by rotten tomatoes, metacritic or IMDb to name a few. Despite catering to all the liberal tropes and featuring big explosions next to dinosaur battles it seems to barely scrape a 50% audience approval reaction.
The story follows directly from the prior movie where the dinosaurs break loose from the park enclosure and eat many of the park's guests. The park has been shutdown now with the dinosaurs trapped on the parks island but the island is about to experience a volcanic eruption which will be the second mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Where the movie starts with the US Senate discussing whether they have a responsibility to save the dinosaurs or if they should listen to Jeff Goldblum telling them the volcano is nature recorrecting for man's mistake.
No surprise to anyone there is a well funded NGO group calling up senators to save the dinosaurs, led by the strong independent female Claire played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Accompanied by a mulatto computer genius and a world class hispanic biologist, the diverse team of liberal minded individuals will save the dinosaurs with no regard to the consequences. This would be where most of us would turn off, no one would want to willingly subject themselves to another 'feel good we can overcome nature' movie, but you would be wrong.
Claire is scoped out by what appears to be a wealthy old liberal donor who turns out to be one of the creators of the dinosaurs. He asks her to work alongside his assistant and his hired paramilitary force to exfiltrate the dinosaurs from the volcanic island, but they require the help of former park ranger Owen Grady played by Chris Pratt. Grady is a good old southern boy with a knack for animals and dinosaurs, who after experiencing the park disaster has escaped civilisation to build his own cabin in the woods.
Chris Pratt is an interesting actor who is allowed to portray the strong white hero who is a little goofy but has his head on straight in a tough situation. He may be the last of his kind and will be discarded when his looks fade as his schtick is not neo-liberal friendly. What you will always find with his characters is that when not alone they are forced to follow the direction of the female lead.
Owen is scoped out by Claire and she plays up the big eyes to coax him into rejoining society to come save the dinosaurs, with the underlying message that the forgotten white man can still be an ally. Claire, the fantastic diverse crew and Owen go to the island with the paramilitary's assistance to track down the remaining dinosaur species not found. Unfortunately, like all good liberals, the people backing them have different reasons for doing so. They are betrayed by the assistant, and the paramilitary force try to leave them on the island while they take off with the dinosaurs.
Much like NGO ships trafficking living bio-weapons to Europe, the treacherous assistant misleads the NGOs into importing the dinosaurs to become weapons. The aim of capturing all the dinosaurs was to isolate the specific genes to create the ultimate dinosaur with the strongest armour and best muscles. This part of the filme plays up the obvious evil capitalist white man angle as he does this to sell to the highest bidder, surprising no one, so standard is it that it borders on boring; also falling short in impact as China is now the leader in gene editing.
What ensues is typical, dinosaurs get loose and wreak havoc. There is an interesting discussion that occurs between Claire and the assistant.
"You can't put it back in the box." - Assistant
"We have to try." - Claire
This encapsulates a lot of the complete disconnection between reality and leftist idealism. It doesn't hit true until the end of the movie, where ultimately Claire has no solution to the dinosaurs and what they are dealing with. This comes to a head where many of the dinosaurs are trapped in an enclosure with a large amount of poison gas filling the room, there is a door that can open out to the world to save the dinosaurs but also release them upon the world.
In the end, the heartache of watching all these dinosaurs being gassed leads the crew to unleash this jurassic force upon the world because the dinosaurs are living creatures who deserve to exist. Which is an interesting juxtaposition with the final scenes of dinosaurs interacting with the current fauna of the world, and shots of suburbia. The death of ~20 dinosaurs is apparently worth more than millions of nameless people who they will not see suffer in that exact moment.
At the end of it you are left questioning, is the movie completely self-aware of neo-liberalist views and the inevitable disaster they cause, or was this a Freudian slip by the screenwriters? Ultimately it seems more like a smashing of incompatible ideas. Jurassic park movies need the dinosaurs to exist and to cause havoc, but neo-liberal society requires NGOs, diversity and bad white men with morally gray positions. It is an inevitable clash, a mess you cannot write yourself out of.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is another example of the death of Hollywood films. The stories cannot be made without a mass of contradictions to appease society. People are tuning out more and more, and they are strongly expressing their displeasure online. Is society and Hollywood too far gone to recover?
It may well be.
Should you watch this movie?