By Isaac Feldberg
June 22, 2018 at 07:03 PM EDT
Universal

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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  • Movie

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom roars into theaters this weekend. It’s an agreeably daft popcorn blockbuster that jettisons the faux-Spielberg wonder the past film attempted to capture. In its place: a Gothic haunted house, rampaging dinosaurs, vaguely villainous scientists, and — of course — endless sequences of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard running for their lives. No matter how dire the stakes, of course, life finds a way, in large part thanks to a magnificent overload of B-movie logic that throws common sense, physics, and on two occasions a velociraptor out the window.

Here are 11 of the most gloriously absurd moments. Beware spoilers, all ye who enter here.

1. Dante’s Pratt

Universal Pictures

That John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) built his theme park designed to revive dinosaurs on the slopes of an active volcano seems rather… short-sighted, to put it nicely. And early on in Fallen Kingdom, his conspicuous lack of forethought literally blows up in everyone’s faces when Isla Nublar’s volcano erupts, spelling destruction for all life on the island.

Well, all life except resident velociraptor dad Owen Grady (Pratt), that is. After a brief bit that’s probably the best Hollywood adaptation of this viral drunk-antics video since Leonardo DiCaprio’s quaaludes scene in The Wolf of Wall Street, Owen shrugs off the effects of a tranquilizer meant for dinosaurs, rolls away from some slow-moving lava, and then books it downhill. Somehow, he outruns not only stampeding dinos but also a massive pyroclastic density current, briefly disappearing within it before diving off a cliff ledge in pursuit of that Gyrosphere (which, by the way, has held up remarkably well for being abandoned on the island for three years).

REVIEW: Life finds a way in the absurdly entertaining Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Now, for the non-volcanologists among us, a pyroclastic density current is an unimaginably hot, fast-moving flow of ash, rock, gas, and debris. PDCs like the one on Isla Nublar typically travel at speeds greater than 50 miles per hour and can reach temperatures of up to 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, he should have retrieved the motorcycle. No matter how quickly Owen made that offscreen leap into the ocean after being enveloped in a volcanic cloud, why he didn’t immediately become Crisp Pratt is presumably a question for the threequel.

2. “CHAIR!”

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When that dastardly mercenary crew seals Claire (Dallas Howard) and Franklin (Justice Smith) inside a control room on Isla Nublar, the pair quickly realize the place isn’t exactly lava-proof. Luckily, Franklin’s one of those Hackerman types who can make just about anything happen with a keyboard, so he’s able to unseal a random door to the outside — only to let in a rather hungry-looking Baryonyx.

Evading their toothy new friend, Claire spots a convenient ladder to a convenient escape hatch above. With all the bluster of a WWE super-fan, she identifies an equally convenient office chair in the corner, allowing the pair to scamper to safety as the Baryonyx snaps at their feet and magma continues to pour in from the ceiling. It’s an escape so daring one wonders whether it at any point occurs to them later, had they’d simply looked around the room before Franklin played the Jurassic equivalent of Let’s Make a Deal, this all could have been avoided.

3. Et tu, Star-Lord?

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Serious question: Is Owen Grady actually superhuman? Let’s consider the evidence. After outrunning a volcanic eruption, this guy (offscreen) dives from a high-up cliff into the ocean, immediately locating the submerged Gyrosphere within which Claire and Franklin are trapped. He tries to shoot through the glass, a bullet literally ricocheting and catching him in the shoulder (it’s never mentioned again). Not to be deterred, he takes a breather then swims back down, jimmying open the glass with a large knife (this works for some reason). Later on, he perfectly times a somersault through a T-rex’s gnashing jaws. Once at the Lockwood estate, he disarms and defeats an entire team of trained (and armed!) soldiers by body-slamming them one after the other, aided only by an awesomely clumsy Stygimoloch. Also of note: He’s effortlessly able to navigate said estate to get to the bedroom of Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon), fending off a massive killer dinosaur that’s perhaps too busy questioning Owen’s continued survival to simply attack. Who can blame it?

NEXT PAGE: We do the math so you don’t have to

4. Jurassic Voyage

Universal Pictures

Time for some very light math (an entertainment journalist’s favorite kind). The title card on screen at the beginning of Fallen Kingdom states that Isla Nublar is located 120 miles west of Costa Rica, putting it very roughly in the vicinity of real-life Cocos Island (which has quite savvily embraced the label of “the real Jurassic Park”). The film doesn’t stay there for long, though. In Fallen Kingdom, the captured dinosaurs are transported to the Lockwood estate in Northern California, where they’re to be auctioned off to all manner of nefarious millionaires. Zia (Daniella Pineda), Owen, Claire, and Franklin make it onto the cargo ship being utilized to get them there, the latter three stowing away for the duration of the trip.

How long do they go undetected? Calculated using one central point in NorCal and another on the west side of Cocos Island, that’s a distance of approximately 3,200 miles. A large container ship like the Arcadia would travel on average at about 23 knots (26.5 miles an hour) in fair weather. As such, that means the cargo ship would have undertaken a 120-hour voyage, comprising five days of travel on the high seas.

Now, Fallen Kingdom plays fast and loose with geography throughout its length. At one point, it dictates that Owen, Claire, and Franklin must instantaneously travel across a huge swath of Isla Nublar after escaping the pyroclastic flow and washing up on a beach. With a snap of their fingers Thanos would envy, our heroes locate the ship that was supposedly on a totally different section of the island and sneak onto it as it departs (not to mention successfully evading the eruption that’s still too slow to catch them, even if a cruelly abandoned Brachiosaurus perishes on shore). Also, just try to visualize the architecture of the Lockwood manor’s underground floors, connected by a freight elevator with a PIN code but also by some mysterious hangar corridor to the surface that’s not visible in exterior shots of the manor until the film’s final moments (when it’s very visible and big enough to accommodate every escaping dinosaur).

The Arcadia‘s voyage, however, is a special case. Owen, Claire, and Franklin — once dramatically crashing onto the very back of the ship and attracting the attention of zero (0) highly trained mercenary soldiers, including the concerningly inattentive one who’d just abandoned the truck they drove onboard — spend their first minutes on board making their way to Zia’s makeshift dinos-ER, setting out to perform a very ill-advised rex-to-raptor blood transfusion that’s quickly completed with surprisingly minimal complications.

Relieved, Owen and Claire fall asleep in each other’s arms and wake up four days later just as the ship arrives on the West Coast. That’s a five-day trip throughout which there’s no evidence our heroes want for food, water, bathrooms, or even Twitter. It doesn’t add up. The only logical conclusion? Wormholes, people. They exist, and the Arcadia sailed right through one, sneakily setting up a Jurassic Universe franchise down the line. And that’s canon.

5. Business as usual

Universal Pictures

Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) is very clearly up to no good in Fallen Kingdom, but somehow everyone else at the Lockwood estate is entirely blind to his supervillainy. Sure, the guy’s got a snakish charm, but he’s also been running a massive operation out of the estate’s lower levels for at least a few months, bringing massive trucks and numerous lab technicians in and out on a regular basis to develop the Indoraptor, fortify holding cells that can contain the dinosaurs, and set up his Auction Of Evil (trademark pending). Okay, so Lockwood’s in his later years, but nanny Iris (Geraldine Chaplin) still seems sharp, and Maisie literally never leaves the house, probably on account of the whole clone thing (see #6). How could no one notice what Mills has been up to? His catering budget alone must have been huge.

6. Send in the clones

Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures

One of the battiest twists in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comes when Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie is revealed to be a clone of the scientist’s dead daughter, who perished a decade or so earlier in a car crash. There’s something fishy about her origins throughout the film (if you see it a second time, you’ll notice every line of dialogue about her has a hidden double meaning). One major hint comes when Maisie finally snags Lockwood’s photo album and discovers a photo of herself with Iris, who looks many years younger.

Eventually, the truth comes out: a grief-stricken Lockwood (James Cromwell) cloned his dead daughter to create Maisie, turning his back on his partner Hammond, who disagreed with the ethical thorniness of such a proposition. It’s a bizarre revelation, one seemingly introduced to establish an empathic link between Maisie and the dinosaurs so there’s sufficient motivation for her to release them into the wild later on. Why isn’t it enough that she’s the descendant of Jurassic Park’s creator and literally grew up exploring the Lockwood Museum, dreaming of one day seeing dinosaurs for herself, and suddenly confronting the prospect of watching them die? Shut up, that’s why.

NEXT PAGE: Dinosaur tears, and FreddyKreuger-aptor

7. Lights out

Universal Pictures

When Owen, Claire, and Maisie are dodging the Indoraptor in the Lockwood Museum, our intrepid velociraptor trainer has the exceptionally bright idea to kill the lights, plunging the room into darkness as they attempt to escape their scaly pursuer. Only problem is, the Indoraptor has night vision (as its stat sheet on the Jurassic Park website even notes) and also exhibits heightened senses of smell and hearing. So, not only is the super-dino still in its element, but now our heroes have to hang out in the dark and deal with all manner of nerve-jangling jump-scares. Nice going, Owen.

8. Rambo: Cold Blood Part II

Universal Pictures

After being freed by Zia and Franklin in the bowels of the Lockwood estate, Blue tail-whips the ever-loving crap out of two severely underpaid mercenaries, inadvertently releasing an explosive gas into the laboratory where she’s being held. Sniffing the air and relying on her, um, learned knowledge of gas odors, Blue barrels out of the laboratory as that gas ignites, jumping through a window as she’s carried by the concussive force of the blast.

Like some kind of raptor Rambo, Blue is entirely unfazed by this near-extinction experience, landing on a nearby platform and tearing off to do battle elsewhere. It is a beautifully insane little moment that (if there’s any justice in this world) will pave the way for Blue-centric spin-off Last Action Raptor. Barring that, it’s at least a great audition tape for when Hulu kicks that weird animatronic puppet to the curb and recasts Old Lace on Runaways.

9. Blue’s Anatomy

Universal Pictures

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom features a scene in which Owen and Claire draw blood from a drugged-up T-rex in order to give the critically wounded Blue a life-saving blood transfusion. It goes about as well as you’d expect, which is to say that there’s no logical reason either should make it out of the T-rex’s shipping container alive and yet they manage to anyway. Also, did anyone even check whether these two dinosaur species’ blood types matched?

This entire segment of the film is certifiably bonkers, but the best part might be when Blue sheds an actual tear on the makeshift operating table, the Prehistoric poster gal for Fallen Kingdom‘s presentation of dinos as another endangered species suffering at our hands.

10. Antiques roadshow

Universal Pictures

$10 million for a living Ankylosaur? That’s it? If I were an armored dinosaur brought back to life after 66 million years, I would be flatly offended by such a low-ball bid. In the real world, dinosaur fossils can go for up to $9 million. And as if that’s not enough to hurt any reasonably sensitive dino’s feelings, let’s take a look at what the kids are actually spending $10 million on these days. A nifty Swiss watch. A season 6 episode of Game of Thrones. A Nashville estate. Sixty seconds of ad time at the Super Bowl. My assessment: Toby Jones’ Gunnar Eversol is an absolutely atrocious black market auctioneer host.

Any self-respecting Ankylosaur would be well-within their (admittedly unestablished) rights to demand a higher figure. And selling the Indoraptor, billed as the deadliest on-the-ground weapon of war ever, for $43 million (to the Russians, so also thanks for that, Manafort Mills) is laughable. That’s how much it cost to host the Oscars, once. It’s approximately the same bill Buckingham Palace had to foot for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s nuptials this year. And it’s how much Jay-Z made on a single tour (for 4:44). No wonder the big guy was feeling more than slightly murderous.

11. Slumber party massacre

Universal Pictures

Say you’re the Indoraptor, a terrifying hybrid dinosaur patched together by fossil-Frankenstein Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong). After a brief and likely quite unhappy existence being poked and prodded behind bars, you’re finally freed to let your movie-monster flag fly. So what do you do?

a) Run for the hills?
b) Negotiate a five-figure movie deal adapting your harrowing life story. You’ll star, obviously.
c) Stalk a little girl across the mansion all the way to her bedroom, using your superior senses to scurry around a slippery roof at night, carefully open a balcony door despite never having seen one before, and then slither inside to successfully traumatize the hell out of said girl with your toe-claw, Freddy Krueger-style.

Episode Recaps

If you think Option C sounds both overcomplicated and somewhat tiring, well, you clearly lack the Indoraptor’s work ethic.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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  • PG-13
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