Jurassic World 3 is fun enough for a summer monster romp, but it’s a wasted opportunity. It starts with the promise of a global story of humans needing to learn to live with dinosaurs in the real world and quickly becomes just another Jurassic movie of having to escape yet another confined genetics facility falling to technological ruin by scientific hubris (BioSyn Valley in the Dolomites stands in for Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar). And, the big threat of the movie isn’t dinosaurs, it’s giant locusts that are merely really annoying, not dangerous and deadly like a dinosaur.
There were a few fun action set pieces that get so 1980s Schwarzenegger over the top that any palpable threat is cartoon exciting instead… jumping a motorcycle into a cargo plane at the last moment with raptors in hot pursuit… okay, then. And the action set pieces are a collection of scenes and not progression leading to escalation of plot.
One of the best scenes is a deleted bonus of a family trailer camping in fictional Big Rock National Park. An allosaurus trashes the camping trailer and there’s genuine tension of trying to get a toddler from a busted car seat before the dinosaur can eat the child. And the family fights back with kitchen utensils and a fire extinguisher (that shoots full pressure 30 feet into the dino’s face). And just before the allosaurus eats the family that is now backed up into the very end and very last remnant of the trailer, the young daughter shoots the allosaurus in the face with a double bolt crossbow. And this set up happened just a few minutes back when the dad scolds the daughter for playing with a fellow camper’s double bolt crossbow. It was obvious set up/payoff and was the closest hint of a Spielberg dino magic tension and suspense scene like in Jurassic Park and the sequel.
No one does dino tension and suspense magic like Spielberg.
The most apparent deterrent to needed suspending disbelief was all the fan service stuffed in, as if it’s written by the same crew doing the Disney Star Wars movies. The most guilty bit of fan service was bringing back the original trio of Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum. Having two sets of heroes means neither the Jurassic Park vets nor the Jurassic World crew have enough to do to create satisfying character arcs. Not that the Jurassic World character arcs are all that satisfying. Action Man and Uptight Leading Woman falling in love isn’t compelling. One of them getting horribly maimed and near death would have helped. One them dying would have helped more. Anything to illustrate the danger and consequence of playing with genetics like a Lego set.
By the by, there are Lego sets for this movie. Lego imitates art.
There was one brief blip of Jurassic of Olde sneaking into the dialog. When Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) comments on training raptors, the excellent quip felt sincerely in character:
“I had a dog who humped my leg so much I had a callous on my shin. True story.”
I’m wagering that was an ad lib from a famously ad lib-y Goldblum.
An honestly enjoyable movie, but……. it wasn’t an unavoidably immersive experience, never feeling like the struggles and challenges of the characters is our own. And the mockumentary exposition about the global invasion of dinosaurs is the missed opportunity, our heroes going from country to country putting out dino-fires and saving human civilization from self-created extinction, just like Ian Malcolm foretold in the opening scenes of the first Jurassic excursion… life finds a way and the resultant chaos across the globe.
At the last, I’ve got a question:
Why did Dr. Wu need a story of redemption? He was a throwaway lab tech tasked with “how to create dinos” exposition in the first genetics lab. From lab tech to unchecked powerful scientist with ethics issues to tortured soul who created hefty and hearty locusts.
Missed opportunity. Still, Jurassic World 3 is an expected big budget summer monster romp that is honestly fun and predictably forgettable.