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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Thrills Galore
by James Colt Harrison

Whenever a movie is a hit, there is immediate talk at the studios to make a sequel. This frequently causes confusion when a film such as Marlon Brando’s The Godfather is suggested to be made as a musical, Part II, or the scary clown chiller It be resurrected as a Mary Poppins vehicle. A famous flop remake of director Alfred Hitchcock’s world-wide hit Psycho didn’t catch on with viewers. So, sometimes remakes can work and other times you may as well learn how to knit ugly Christmas sweaters.

Director Stephen Spielberg, who can be blamed for starting this whole sequence of mayhem, devouring of terrified people by bad, bad prehistoric animals, explosions and general chaos on screen, has sat back this time to serve only as executive producer of Jurassic World Dominion. He has let newer director Colin Trevorrow write and steer the film to either triumph or to crash and burn. Hopefully, it will be another triumph for Universal and the Spielberg camp.

The first Jurassic Park film was made in 1993. In this new version, one expects to see Laura Dern, Chris Pratt, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill hobbling around with aluminum walkers and holding ear trumpets up to their gray hair. Bryce Dallas Howard was only 12 years old during that filming, so she would have nearly been wearing kiddie Depends. Not to worry! With the Hollywood magic of makeup and high-beam lighting, anyone can look young again.

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment want to set the record straight. They are saying the new film is set four years after the spectacular screen destruction of the island Isla Nublar. And you’ll never guess! Those huge and sometimes vile-natured dinosaurs are now allegedly roaming the world and walking down the Champs Elysee in Paris and stomping up the ever-so-chic Via Condotti in Rome looking for new designer scales to throw over their bony shoulders.

It's the usual mishmash of good versus evil, this time men vs dinosaurs vs evil men, etc. Don’t look for any character development as there isn’t any. Well, perhaps actress DeWanda Wise comes out on top as a former Air Force pilot who is now ferrying contraband to Malta. She’s a hot babe and a sharp woman who all but saves the day---and the entire cast when things get sticky with the marauding beasts. You’ll see—we won’t spoil lt it for you.

Let’s face it---the dinosaurs and the special effects are the stars of this exciting and scary movie. There are thrills galore, enough frightening encounters with raptors and the other un-pronounceable prehistoric monsters to last a lifetime if you don’t keel over with a coronary while watching.

Oh yes, Chris Pratt is still dopey cute at 42 and retains his love for raptors. Mauritanian-born Mamoudou Athie has the best 1,000-watt smile in films and helps evil CEO Lewis Dodgson of Biosyn (actor Campbell Scott in an excellent turn as a man who starts with good intentions and ends up…well, in a mess).

Let’s not forget the estimable Broadway/Hollywood actor BD Wong, who plays Dr. Henry Wu, the leading geneticist for cloning dinosaurs. He looks a  a bit heftier than when he played the lithe female character Song Liling in Geisha drag in “M. Butterfly,” the re-imagining of the opera “Madame Butterfly,” for which he won a Tony Award in 1988 and a shelf filled with associated awards.

The film runs a whopping 146 minutes, so hit the restroom first. The sound is too loud and blasts your ears every time the animals roar. The visuals are spectacular, with kudos going to the production design staff and all those clever eggheads behind the computers. Kids will love the scary effects and the dinosaurs.

Writer Michael Crichton (1942-2008) earned a degree in medicine from Harvard, but he never practiced as a physician. His love of writing won out and he produced such classics as the “Jurassic Park” novels, as well as “The Andromeda Strain,” and “The Lost World.” Entering the world of entertainment, he created “Westworld,” “Coma,” and the “ER” TV series.

The tall, 6’-9” writer died of cancer at age 66 in November 2008.

(Released by Universal Pictures and rated “PG-13” for intense sequences of action, some violence and language.) 

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