Jurassic World 2: Raptors on the mainland?!

     Unless you've been living under a rock the past three weeks, you've probably heard about this franchise's Jurassic return to the screen. The Michael Crichton inspired series has made its first appearance in theaters in nearly fifteen years, and it did so with a bang. Before I get into the gist of this movie, let's just take a moment to be awed at the numbers it's racking up. With three consecutive weekends at the #1 spot, Jurassic World has grossed $1.25 BILLION, with a B. That's more than the last two movies combined. While most of its gross has already been acquired, it's far from over. I've predicted it to sputter out somewhere around $1.452, which would make it the fifth highest grossing movie of all time, a spot currently occupied by Avengers: Age of Ultron. To get there, it needs to beat Frozen, which it's guaranteed to do this upcoming weekend, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part Two, and Age of Ultron itself. 

     What Jurassic World has already accomplished speaks for itself. Jurassic World won the highest grossing opening weekend of all time, dethroning The Avengers with over $500 million worldwide, and the highest grossing second weekend of all time as well. It also claimed the titles of fastest movie to reach $500 million, fastest movie to reach $1 billion (a spot just claimed by Furious 7 a few months ago), and is currently the 8th highest grossing movie of all time. 

     So why is this such a huge movie??? It's not rocket science, just a bit of gene splicing. The dinosaur wasn't the only hybrid in this film. The film itself was a hybrid of all the best parts of the original three movies. Indominus Rex plays the part of the original film's T-Rex, while the slaughter and terror induced by the pterodactyls tries (and fails) to fill the part of the raptors. The film loses itself with the actual raptors though. Throughout the original trilogy, the raptors were the most terrifyingly intense antagonists imaginable. They hunt in packs, for every one that you do see, there's another sneaking up behind your back, they're smart and crafty, and vicious, and there was never any getting away from them. **SPOILER** Transforming them into a pack of hunting dogs (in my humble opinion) took away from their mystic and awesomeness. Try as Pratt might to demonstrate respect for them as predators, it's hard not to look down on them more as dogs than as equals. However, **SPOILER ALERT** the battle royale between the T-Rex and Indominus was reminiscent of the clash of titans that JP3 gave us between T-Rex and Spinosaurus.  

     Moving on from the dinosaurs to the humans, I will say I enjoyed the new cast, but not nearly so much as the original protagonists. I'm a huge Chris Pratt fan, and I'd treat Bryce Dallas Howard to a snowcone any day of the week. But neither them, nor the kids, nor anyone else on that island measured up to the original cast. Or maybe that's just me? After all, I grew up with the originals, and these are the new kids on the block. Only time will tell if they'll live on the way that Alan, Ellie, Ian, and Hammond did. While there was a fair bit of character development in the case of the brothers and of Claire, I still feel like I didn't get to know them nearly as well (or maybe I just didn't like them nearly as well) as the original gang. 

     Script aside, the actors themselves performed brilliantly, and I felt they were all cast quite well. The score was considered by most to be a strong suite of the film, but I felt it was a little lackluster compared to the classic soundtrack. The overall plot was a rehash of the first film with a few more subplots, but nowhere near the dazzling originality. It had its "Sea World on Steroids" moments, but ultimately failed to live up to its predecessors on the wow-factor. While the writers passive-aggressively blamed this on the audience's need for bigger and cooler, I blame it on the writers' need for bigger and cooler. I think bigger and cooler may have been the wrong direction to go. Clearly it worked for this film, but if they try and bring out an even larger dinosaur for the fifth film, then I think viewers will finally grow tired of it. I say go smaller. The world has had enough Cloverfields and Godzillas. 

     Ultimately, I loved the movie. I give it a solid four stars. While the original was of course the best, and I personally liked number three more, I place it ahead of The Lost World, and consider it to be a worthy addition to the series. I do, however, believe that they failed in their goal to make the series "less arbitrary and episodic," as Trevorrow put it. It felt every bit as episodic as its predecessors. Is that a bad thing? I'm not so sure. There's plenty of sagas out there. The good thing about "episodes" is that they stand alone and can attract the attention of newer generations as well as the classic fans. 

     Where do I see the next movie going? Hopefully mainland. The whole "get the hell off the island" routine is growing old. Ditch the amusement park, forget the lost world. I would like to see InGen setting up camp somewhere in Central or South America, and continuing with their weaponization of the raptors. Make them smarter and more vicious than ever before. Make a lot of them. I'm thinking dozens. Let them slaughter everyone in the lab, including that devilish Dr. Frankenstein (Wu) and escape into the jungle, migrating closer and closer to urban areas. InGen calls in Owen for help because of his background with velociraptors. Claire, his now-wife, refuses to let him go without her. Sometime in the past four years since the incident at the theme park, Zach and Gray's parents have died in a tragic car accident and the boys have been left to the Grady couple. Zach is grown up and off to college now, but Gray is still young and foolish enough to stow away and join in the foray. And there the fun begins.

     What do you think of Jurassic World? Where would you like to see the sequels go? Let me know in the comments down below!

*This article was originally published on 6/30/2015 at http://www.scottemigh.weebly.com