Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. This week sees the return of dinos to the theaters, setting up a Jurassic Word vs. Incredibles battle that should last until the next MCU installment arrives.
Continue reading In Theaters This Week (6/22/2018): Jurassic World The Fallen Kingdom
Has any film ever made more money cruising off of pure nostalgia than Jurassic World? Recently bumped down to #6 on the box office charts, the 2015 hit still made an absurd amount of money playing on the desire of a new generation to scare their kids with the dinosaurs that traumatized them. The only thing more hollow than Jurassic World is..well, any other sequel to Jurassic Park. All the elements from the first film return in the fourth film, but the difference is in the director’s chair: Spielberg turning in his last great blockbuster vs. Colin Trevorrow showing how short of Spielberg he is.
The film’s attempt to differentiate itself borrows a lot from The Lost World (and is apparently what Fallen Kingdom will continue to explore): the weaponization of dinosaurs and genetic editing. Primary Incompetent Geneticist Dr. Henry Wu’s tinkering in this film led to the creation of the I-Rex, a camouflaging master and T-Rex/Velociraptor hybrid. I don’t have a big problem with the I-Rex. It’s a nice creature, and its final battle with the original T-Rex is fantastic (coulda done without Deus Ex Mosasaur). But what it represented: a new generation of dinos that were spackled together by scientists rather than recreated from nature is a storyline that I think will eventually extinguish the dinosaur renaissance. If not in the wake of the fifth film than after the already greenlit sixth.
It’s a question all Star Wars fans have been asking since the tragic death of Carrie Fisher last month: “How big a deal is this going to be for the finale of the current trilogy?” Unfortunately, it’s a really big deal. A movie (yes, even a Star Wars movie) next to the life of a person is nothing at all, but Leia is going be the largest part of her acting legacy. I don’t think it’s out of line for fans to be concerned for the future of Leia, for in our concern for the character, we’re also safeguarding Fisher’s decades-long investment in the character.
It is official: Episode IX will be directed by Jurassic World director Colin Treverrow. I have to admit, I’m not wild about this selection. Despite Jurassic World’s stunning success, the film was average and I wasn’t particularly impressed by the direction. I will say, though, that the film’s script is the biggest problem and Rian Johnson, who is writing and directing Star Wars Episode VIII will also be providing the screenplay for Episode IX so the film should have a much stronger script to work from than Jurassic World did. The final film in the next trilogy is scheduled for a 2019 release.
I thought Jurassic World was ok (click here for review); not great, but certainly better than the other attempts to follow up Jurassic Park. I’ve been absolutely floored by how well it has done at the box office, though. Clearly there was a convergence of nostalgia from people like me who loved Jurassic Park and wanted to re-experience it and a new generation who just generally wanted to see dinos snacking on tourists. The end result has been a phenomenal gross for Universal Studios. Jurassic World today passed The Avengers and is now the #3 film all-time in global box office. I fully expect it to pass Titanic for #2, though Avatar’s not budging off that throne (perhaps Episode VII will put a Star Wars film back atop the leaderboard). With all of its success, it is the least shocking announcement in sequel history that a follow-up film (Jurassic Park 5 or Jurassic World 2….who knows?) has been greenlit for 2018 with both Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt expected to return.
The end of Jurassic World left the door wide open for future installments. They’ve got Isla Nublar in ruins, overrun by dinosaurs…..again (I am curious to know how they regained control after the first film). Then the world’s dodgiest geneticist, good old Dr. Henry Wu, and his freakazoid dino hybrid project have been whisked away by INGen (The World’s Dumbest Corporation Since 1993) to a secret location. Making the Indominus Rex a hybrid was fine. Unlike the T-Rex from the first film, you never like the I-Rex. She’s an abomination. However, if you’re just going to start cranking out hybrid dinos, you stray from the actual dinos, which as Chris Pratt put in the film, “Are ‘wow’ enough”. So we’ll see what direction they take. Director Colin Treverrow had said before the film came out that he didn’t plan to do another one (which seemed like a presumptuous statement at the time), but we’ll see if that holds in the wake of Jurassic World’s box office success.