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Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The ‘Jurassic’ world as we know it is devolving — into a standard, formulaic and largely predictable monster movie franchise. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is still watchable, mainly thanks to the appeal of its returning star of the human variety, Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy). But it doesn’t have the combined charm, tension, terror and character development of 2015’s Jurassic World or the originality of the 1993 classic Jurassic Park. As sequels go, it’s definitely better than the completely forgettable Jurassic Parks 2 and 3. But those films set the bar pretty darn low. If it isn’t careful, the next Jurassic World – as yet untitled, but due in theaters in 2021 – could drive the franchise into extinction, or at least put it on the endangered species list.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: Pete’s Dragon; Florence Foster Jenkins; Hell or High Water

Good news, mainstream movie fans: There really is something for just about everyone at the Box Office this weekend. First, however, I must confess that I missed the screening of Sausage Party and doubt I’ll get around to watching it anytime soon, unless someone wants to send me a Sausage link. Regardless, I suspect the movie is filled with enough raunchy adult animation and humor to entertain a certain demographic. I’ll just leave it at that (for now), and move on to Pete’s Dragon, Florence Foster Jenkins, and Hell or High Water

The best new family film option is Pete’s Dragon, a live-action reimagining of a 1977 Disney flick that I don’t recall watching as a kid, even though it featured music and singing (i.e. how did I miss that one!?) I’m not exactly the target demo anymore for this type of movie, so I borrowed 12-year-old Aaron, 8-year-old Marisa, and their parents for an honest, independent evaluation of this Tarzan-esque meets dragon story. The general consensus: They liked it!

Jurassic World

I came really late to the Jurassic party, finally catching the original in re-release in 2013 — 20 years after its theatrical debut. So it’s kind of a big deal that I sat through a screening of the fourth installment, pre-release, despite recovering from shingles (note to all: if you have a chance to get the shingles vaccine, do it!). Anyway, Jurassic World is frighteningly entertaining, though like the original, not for the very young or faint of heart. If you’re into dinosaurs and a fan of Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Rec), then JW is a fun ride. However if you’re a purist or over-analyzing type, you should probably skip it. The crowd I saw it with seemed quite divided between indifference, disappointment, and elation.

50/50

Odds are much better than 50/50 that you’ll really like 50/50. It is, hands down, one of my favorite movies of the year. You’ll cry a little and laugh a lot.