|Sinoceratops vs. Carnotaurus|
Hold on to your butts...
The movie opens with a small submersible entering the mosasaur enclosure, years after Jurassic World so predictably went awry, to retrieve a bone sample from the Indominus rex skeleton (see the end of Jurassic World 1). The pilots are nervous, obviously afraid of the whale-sized Mosasaurus that must still be in there, but are comforted in the knowledge it must be dead after so long.
And that’s true. The mosasaur would be dead from starvation and thirst (the enclosure had been gated off from the outside ocean). Of course it’s not, for some reason, and it destroys the sub but not before an Indominus rib sample is buoyed to the surface, where some guys in a helicopter retrieve it after tussling with the resident Tyrannosaurus. Because the gate wasn’t shut properly, the mosasaur escapes.
|Seems like there would be easier ways to do this.|
Just when all hope seems lost, Claire gets a call from Zefram Cochrane—I mean the pig farmer—I mean Benjamin Lockwood, an old man who was apparently John Hammond’s original business partner. Lockwood also wants to save the dinosaurs, and he’s arranged for them to be shipped to a new island (not just Site B?) that’s not, at this time, geologically active, where they’ll be left alone, free of human intervention. Lockwood then turns Claire over to his obviously-evil assistant Eli Mills, who says they need Claire’s handprint to turn on the island’s tracking system so they can find all those dinosaurs. Mills also presses upon Claire that it’s extremely important that they save Blue, the heroic Deinonychus from the last movie, because she’s apparently the second-most intelligent creature on the planet.
|"Would devil horns be too obvious?"|
Claire goes out to try and convince Chris Pratt’s Starlord to help her find and rescue Blue. He’s living in a van on a scenic cliff, building a house because he’s apparently turned into Ron Swanson. He and Claire broke up for reasons that are never entirely clear but sure, he’ll come along. Claire also drags along her “dinosaur veterinarian,” Zia, and her nerdy computer guy, Franklin (I had to look these names up). Within absolutely no time, they’ve touched down on Isla Nublar, which is in the process of violently exploding. Our heroes meet Leland Stottlemeyer, who got into the mercenary gig after retiring from the San Francisco police force. No, wait, it’s just Ted Levine playing resident bad guy Ken Wheatley, and he’s already been rounding up dinosaurs and putting them on a barge by the time Claire & Co. arrive.
|Starlord playing with a rubbery baby raptor|
|"I live in that overturned car."|
|Carnotaurus, seconds before being attacked by a more boring theropod.|
|*heavy, labored sigh*|
Meanwhile, back at the Lockwood estate, Mills is planning to sell the dinosaurs at auction that night in the basement of Lockwood’s mansion for some reason, with Toby Jones’ Gunner Eversol as auctioneer. Couldn’t wait a day. Toby Jones can do no wrong, and he’s clearly enjoying himself in this role. His wig is also fabulous. We also discover that the mansion contains a full genetic laboratory downstairs. We also learn more about Lockwood’s granddaughter, Maisie.
|Here she is...Miss Isla Nublar...|
Claire and Starlord find Zia, who’s been trying to keep Blue alive. I guess she’s losing blood from being shot and Zia doesn’t want to risk pulling the bullet out without a blood transfusion. Sure, okay, I’ll buy that. But hey, there aren’t any other Deinonychus on board, or even on the (now lava-covered) island. But hey that’s okay, because—
Dear readers, hold on to your butts.
It’s okay because as long as they find another tetanuran the blood should be “close enough.”
Trevorrow and Derek Connelly, who share writing credits, clearly learned a new word, “tetanuran,” and proudly wanted Zia to sound like she knew something about dinosaurs despite having never seen or treated one. “They’re theropods that have only two or three fingers.” Technically, that’s true. You get a gold star, Trevorrow. So of course the only other tetanuran theropod they can find is the Tyrannosaurus, who shrank considerably since pinning that Carnotaurus earlier so that she could fit in a shipping container.
|"I mean they all have frog DNA anyway, right?"|
Good lord. Where’s that whiskey?
All of the animals arrive at the mansion just in time for Henry Wu to start lecturing Mills about their new Indoraptor, which is like a fun-size Indominus but with raptor claws and (apparently) mommy issues. It’s kept in seclusion in a dark cage at the end of a hall, which seems fine. At least the Indominus had a whole jungle enclosure. Claire and Starlord are caught and, instead of being shot immediately, are put in an animal cell. The auction begins, with, of course, Russian arms dealers buying up the dinosaurs. One of the dinosaurs goes for $10M, which may seem like a lot until you remember that FMNH PR 2081 (Sue) sold at auction for $8.4M. You’d think living dinosaurs would sell for significantly more.
Eventually, the Indoraptor is wheeled out. It’s essentially a jet-black, gigantic raptor with a yellow racing stripe down its side. It has the dumb quills, dorsal armor, and misshapen fish teeth that Indominus had, but it also has oversized claws, four fingers, and regularly reverts to quadrupedality. Toby Jones brags that it’s the most dangerous animal in the world. BUT JUST THEN—
Wait, let’s back up a second. Claire and Starlord are having a heart-to-heart in their empty cell about who’s fault this is (look, you’re both idiots) when the latter realizes there’s a Stygimoloch in the next cell. He goads the spunky little bonehead into breaking through the brick wall separating them, and then breaking out of the locked cell door. Starlord then sets the Stygimoloch loose on the auctioneers in what’s honestly the funniest scene in the film. I mean, they already kind of did this in The Lost World but who’s counting?
|Stygimoloch is the only one getting anything done around here.|
Where were we? Oh, right, so the auction has essentially disbanded because of the rogue subadult Pachycephalosaurus and Wheatley—remember him?—wanders in asking where his “bonus” is. There’s nobody around, but the Indoraptor is just sitting there in its cage in the center of the room and Wheatley decides to take one of its teeth as a trophy.
I don’t know why. He did this with a few of the dinosaurs on the island, too.
I’m not going to tell you what happens next because you already know. They didn’t even have to film the scene. They could’ve just cut between Ted Levine looking at the Indoraptor and the Indoraptor, now free, attacking Toby Jones. Our brains would have easily filled in the blank.
|Indoraptor stalking the heroes for some reason.|
|This is every Marvel movie: the hero vs. an evil version of him/herself.|
So they’re still dying. Good job, Claire.
Our plucky heroine then has a sudden and uncharacteristic moment of clarity, thinking that maybe we should let these things die because they really do kill a lot of people. She does not open the bay doors, and she and Starlord watch pensively as the dinosaurs suffocate. The end.
No, of course not. Maisie opens the bay doors because somewhere along the line she realized that she’s a clone of Lockwood’s daughter and dammit, if she’s a clone and…hasn’t been killed (I guess), these cloned dinosaurs should ALSO be able to live.
That narrative thread and all its implications vanishes immediately. There is absolutely no payoff to the fact that Lockwood is cloning people in his basement. It’s a good thing he decided to clone her, because otherwise nobody would have opened those bay doors.
So anyway, Mills has chosen this moment to flee, and while Henry Wu’s people are busy reenacting his escape from the last movie, Mills is put in charge of the Indominus rib fragment, because I guess Wu doesn’t have its DNA blueprints already? But if that’s true, how did he create the Indoraptor? You know what, trying to make sense of this movie is a fool’s errand. Mills hides under his car while all of these freed dinosaurs run into the woods but hey you know who hasn’t done a heroic thing for awhile?
YES, KIDS, THE TYRANNOSAURUS MATERIALIZES AND GOBBLES MILLS DOWN WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY REBUFFING A SECOND CARNOTAURUS. THE TYRANNOSAURUS THEN ADOPTS THE EXACT SAME POSE AS IT DID AT THE END OF JURASSIC PARK AND ROARS VICTORIOUSLY before running off into the woods with its cloned friends. Starlord tells Blue that she did good and he’ll take her somewhere safe but she’s all like NAW DOG I’M OUT and also runs off.
|Edit out the flag and this is how Jurassic World 2 ends.|
|"I AM THE CAPTAIN NOW"|
This was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time. Barring all the ridiculous dinosaur nonsense, no part of the film made any sense from a story perspective. Why would Mills go to any of this trouble when he can just tell Henry Wu to make new dinosaurs? Henry Wu is clearly already making dinosaurs, and it’s not like you can’t sell those dinosaurs to Russian mobsters ahead of time. Lockwood has no actual role. He didn’t need to be in this movie. It could’ve just been Mills from the get-go who gives Claire the assignment. Maisie being a clone literally had no impact on the overall story except for her reasoning behind opening the bay doors and saving the dinosaurs. Claire could’ve done that. Starlord could’ve done that. BLUE could’ve done that.
So now there are dinosaurs out in the wild. So what? Unless they’re all miraculously parthenogenetic, the threat of a dinosaur takeover is less than zero. These animals are going to be shot, hit by trucks, succumb to unfamiliar diseases, or die of old age and then there won’t be any more dinosaurs. The mosasaur is only a problem for as long as people decide not to shoot a torpedo at it. The dinosaurs who were sold to dictators and arms dealers have an even lower life expectancy. And has everybody forgotten about Isla Sorna? You know, Site B from The Lost World and Jurassic Park III? If Mills wanted more dinosaurs, there’s a whole island filled with them that is NOT, at least to my knowledge, exploding.
The dinosaurs themselves exist in a weird uncanny valley. Most of them are shiny—this is especially apparent on the Indoraptor. They look almost moist. Almost every herbivorous dinosaur, no matter how bulky, is shown galloping away from that pyroclastic flow. It looks silly. There are a few new dinosaurs but only three of them (Carnotaurus, Stygimoloch and, if I’m being generous, Allosaurus) looks anything like their IRL counterparts. As I said before, the Sinoceratops has actual holes in its actual frill. I’m not convinced the character designers were looking at the right animal when they were designing Baryonyx. Blue continues to be a cartoonish, rubbery mess of a character who’s just doing way too much all the time in exaggerated ways. Like Indominus before it, the Indoraptor is incredibly dull, as if Trevorrow told the character designers “make a Velociraptor on steroids.” And, in another bit of intellectual bankruptcy, the Indoraptor of course taps its claw impatiently.
I keep calling Chris Pratt’s character “Starlord” instead of “Owen” because there’s virtually no difference between the two characters. The villains, especially Mills, are so stereotypically evil that I’m surprised nobody gave Rafe Spall a Snidely Whiplash mustache with which to twirl. Colin Trevorrow is no Steven Spielberg, although he seems to think (based on interviews I’ve read) that these Jurassic World films really are emulating Jurassic Park. They are not, and it’s clear that, in wedging in so very many direct references to its predecessor, Trevorrow's films don’t understand what made that movie great or memorable. Using the final Tyrannosaurus turn-and-roar is not a touching homage—it’s evidence that (1) you don’t have any original ideas; and (2) you’re acknowledging that Jurassic Park is a better movie.
|Dr. Ellie Sattler digs through Jurassic World 2.|
*There’s actually a miniature Concavenator in there, which is kind of cool.