Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the family dramedy “Paper Year” and the doc noir “The Cleaners.”
A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the return of marauding dinos in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” the family dramedy “Paper Year” and the doc noir “The Cleaners.”
One thing is for sure, the “Jurassic Park” movies are not an endangered species. The film series, now entering its fourth iteration since 1993’s prehistoric original, has outlived most other monster movie franchises of its vintage. With another one already scheduled for 2021 the dinos-gone-wild-movies show no signs of extinction. It seems audiences have an endless appetite to see people become dinosaur snacks.
The new one, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” picks up three years after the “de-extinct” dinosaurs destroyed Isla Nublar, the island paradise where “Jurassic World” took place. Now abandoned and overrun by dinosaurs, the former theme park and its inhabitants face a new threat—“the flashpoint animal rights issue of our time,” we’re told—in the form of a volcano poised cover everything in a thick layer of molten lava.
Some people, like Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), feel nature should be allowed to take its course even if that means the end of the dinosaurs. Others, like Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), John Hammond’s partner in developing the dinosaur clone technology, want to see them rescued. Enter two former park employees, dinosaur trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt)—the Cesar Millan of the dinosaur world—and former park director Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and small team of helpers, computer whiz and comic relief Franklin (Justice Smith) and paleo veterinarian Zia (Daniella Pineda) who spearhead a campaign to relocate the creatures to a newer, safer sanctuary. “Save the dinosaurs from an island that is about to explode,” says Owen. “What could go wrong?” Lots. There’s more, like a nefarious plan to sell the rescued dinosaurs and a “creature of the future made from pieces of the past” but who cares as long as the creatures are let loose.
Sure enough, half-an-hour into “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” after some call backs and set up, dinos are chasing humans, summing up the two most important elements of the Jurassic franchise—giant dinosaurs and people for them to eat. Other stuff, like narrative logic, plain old common sense and interesting characters, come a distant second to gnarling teeth and big action set pieces.
The usual franchise mumbo jumbo about science tampering with the natural world is in place but it’s even more cursory than in the first “World” film. Instead it embraces the thing that has always been at the rapidly beating heart of these movies, monster mayhem and on that level it succeeds.
Ultimately, however, the stakes are very low. It is obvious who will become a dinosaur entree and who won’t. Also much of the danger has been replaced by more family friendly light moments—i.e. Owen doing a tranquilized acrobatic act to escape molten lava or Franklin’s ladder gag. There is some suspense, but it’s not subtle like Alfred Hitchcock style suspense. Instead it’s will-Owen-get-eaten-by-a-dinosaur-as-Claire-and-Franklin-roll-away-into-a-giant-motorized-orb suspense.
By the end credits what do we learn about “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”? Chris Pratt could probably outrun Tom Cruise without breaking a sweat. The rules of physics and do not apply in Dino Land. When you have dinosaurs you don’t need much else and some sequels are easier to set up than others.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. I like Bryce Dallas Howard. Interviewed her a few times and I know two things, she is very nice and has a great laugh. She’s down to earth and says things like, “I have a very strong body, a dense body, I’m big boned.” She’s not your typical star and today we talk about a number of things including her new film Pete’s Dragon, her dad Ron Howard and working with Robert Redford. It’s good stuff and you’ll like it. C’mon in and sit a spell with me and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Listen to Bryce Dallas Howard and the other 59 House of Crouse podcasts HERE!
As Dave Edmunds once warbled, “From small thinks baby, big things one day come.”
In Hollywood right now no one is bigger than Chris Pratt. His films Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie were two of the top five grossing hits of last year and Jurassic World is pegged to light up the box office with an estimated $100 million take this weekend.
Esquire has declared him “awesome” and The Guardian noted “there’s a lot of love for Chris Pratt right now.” He has momentum, the kind of Hollywood heat that gets your name mentioned as the lead in every big movie, including the proposed reboot of Indiana Jones. In fact, some even label him the next Harrison Ford.
The hype swirling around the affable thirty-five-year-old actor places him at the top of the Hollywood ladder, but it certainly wasn’t always that way. A scan of the early credits on IMDB does not point toward superstardom.
Guest spots on the short-lived bounty hunter series The Huntress and a third lead in the so-little-seen-it-doesn’t-even-have-a-Rotten-Tomatoes-rating action film The Extreme Team seem positively high profile compared to his first credit.
Pratt was working as a waiter at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in Maui when actress Rae Dawn Chong came in for lunch. She happened to be in the midst of casting Cursed Part 3, a short horror satire about a director who tries to convince his actors and crew not to flee when a mysterious killer visits the set.
Pratt was living with a group of friends in a van, doing stand-up comedy and community theatre when he approached the Quest for Fire star. “I said, ‘I know you. You’re a movie star, right?’ She said, ‘You’re cute. Do you act?’”
Chong thought he’d be a good fit for the part of “a beautiful kid to play the Brat, an actor who complains out loud about having to make out with an older actor, played by Donna Mills.”
The film was set to roll in five days and after a quick audition Chong offered Pratt a plane ticket to California and the role of Devon. “I had far more confidence than capability at the time,” he says, “but I knew I could do it.”
Shot next door to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, Cursed Part 3 isn’t much of a movie, but Pratt made $700 for his debut, money he invested in a car so he could drive to auditions.
“I went from waiting tables in Maui to waiting tables in Beverly Hills,” he says of Cursed Part 3, “but with a little bit of movie experience under my belt.”
The film was a stepping-stone to bigger and better jobs, including the role that made him a star, Pawnee City Hall shoe-shiner Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation.
Movie stardom was harder to come by. Losing blockbuster roles like Avatar’s Jake Sully and Captain James Kirk of the rebooted Star Trek was discouraging, but he was determined to act. “People have to work,” he said. “I just don’t want it to be at a restaurant.”
With big budget movies on the way like the proposed sci fi adventure Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence and an all-star remake of The Magnificent Seven, it doesn’t look like he’ll have to dust off the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. uniform again any time soon.