There's something really interesting happening in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom": it seems like a better movie than "Jurassic World," but it isn't.
When you take even a passing look at the script from Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, it features just as many shockingly bad, unexplained or implausible choices as its predecessor -- except that director J.A. Bayona's considerable style turns this fifth installment in the storied franchise into something just scary enough to ignore them, at least while they're unfolding.
Nevertheless, we decided to go through the movie with a fine-toothed comb -- or to be more accurate, just thought about it for five more minutes -- and put together a list of some, and probably not all, of the many things that "Fallen Kingdom" thinks that it gets away with, but absolutely does not.
From start to finish:
1. Why would a giant underwater gate, protecting the park's biggest dinosaur from unfettered access to the world's oceans, need to be wifi enabled to operate?
2. Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), a guy with limitless wealth -- whose name we've never heard before -- hires former Jurassic World employee-turned-animal rights activist Claire Dearing to go back to the park to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from being destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Was there not one other surviving employee at her pay grade, much less one who might be less scrupulous than her -- given the events that subsequently unfold -- who could plunk down their handprint and grant Lockwood's team access to the island's tracking system?
3. Also, Franklin -- Clarie's de facto computer nerd employee -- basically works as an IT guy for the Dinosaur Protection Group. What remotely qualifies him to go to an exploding island to hack into a computer system that Lockwood needs Claire's handprint to get access to?
4. And if they could basically get any skilled computer hacker to crack into the former park's security system, why do they need Claire at all?
5. Dr. Wu still lives and is still very clearly committed to genetically engineering any kind of dinosaur that his employers ask. Would he maybe have the security clearance that, say, the head geneticist would absolutely need that Mills could utilize to get access to Jurassic World's computer system?
6. Speaking of Wu and the survivors of the park, how many are there? Is he the only person in the world with the scientific knowledge to clone dinosaurs?
7. Was the plan always to kill Owen, Claire, and the rest of the rescuers after they helped acquire Blue? Or did they make that decision on the fly? And if it wasn't, what was the plan? How does the tranquilizer that Owen gets shot with work less well on humans than it does on dinosaurs?
8. How exactly would one capture a T. Rex while it is still awake, as the mercenaries seem to do when they fly it off the island?
9. Did Rafe Spall and Ted Levine know that they were playing dumber, broader versions of characters (Arliss Howard and Peter Stormare, respectively) from "The Lost World?"
10. How does Owen, Franklin, and Claire go off a cliff, where there is no visible shoreline, and wash up on the beach in a sandy cove?
11. Although Spall's character, Eli Mills, intends to sell the dinosaurs to the highest bidder, Lockwood was apparently sincere about his desire to protect them. What was Mills' plan to deceive his employer -- hope that Lockwood just died before finding out? Because his seemingly improvised solution when Lockwood's "granddaughter" finds out what's going on is to murder his employer.
12. Then again, how long could Mills be developing this plan to sell and exploit dinosaurs in Lockwood's own house -- where he lives basically as a shut-in -- without being found out? Was Lockwood aware of the super-secret basement lab? Or the "Blade II," Blood Pack-looking security team of mercenaries carrying assault rifles outside his home?
13. Speaking of the "granddaughter," what is the presumption we are to make about her with regard to Mills after Lockwood's death? He views her as property? Mills fires Lockwood's assistant, who leaves without a fight -- despite having loved and raised this child -- and then announces that he will be her guardian.
14. It's unclear how much an individual dinosaur costs to "raise" -- starting with the price of the technology and manpower to clone, feed, and train them, not to mention the massive undertaking of hiring a team of mercenaries to go in and bring them back to the mainland. In three years, The Masrani Corporation already paid $800 million in settlements to victims of the park. Dinosaurs sell for $10-20 million apiece, and the entire auction in the film earns $125 million. What is Mills' business plan?
15. Basically, why would Mills sell dinosaurs for millions when they likely cost billions to clone?
16. Since Wheatley left them for dead on the island and they not only survived but completely uncovered Mills' plans for the dinosaurs, why wouldn't Mills not immediately kill Owen and Claire after locking them in one of the dinosaur cages?
17. How long does it take an Indoraptor grow to full size? Even if they were able to successfully take DNA from the Indominus Rex bone retrieved from the Mosasaurus lagoon, how much time could have elapsed between then and the dinosaur auction to raise and train it with the laser targeting device?
18. There is no indication whatsoever to the evil consortium of black-clad animal traders that dinosaurs can be trained or controlled, minus Owen's work with Blue. Why would they think it's a good idea to drop a Velociraptor (much less the Indoraptor) into combat situations -- or at least good enough to pay tens of millions of dollars to try it out? And it's JUST one dinosaur - how would that be cost effective to any military?
19. And who do they plan to find to train these dinos? Outside of Owen, are dino-combat trainers a thing?
20. And, if not, if Owen is the only expert in his field, why kill him?
21. Is Wheatley (Ted Levine) a big-game hunter or just a garden-variety mercenary? Either way, was he not prepped about the behavior of dinosaurs before going to Isla Nublar, or at the very least, would he really have absolutely no instinct to avoid leaving open the door to the cage of a very dangerous-looking dinosaur when he went in to retrieve his trophy (a tooth for his necklace because REASONS) from its mouth?
22. Early in the film, Claire says that a Velociraptor can track its prey from more than a mile away. Why can't the Indoraptor make a snack of Claire, Owen, and Maisie in about five seconds -- in a room where the creature is on one side of the only obstacle in the room -- and the humans on the other?
23. Also, how is it impervious to tranquilizer darts?
24. If a Velociraptor can smash through metal and glass without any trouble at all, why wouldn't it be able to easily break through the wooden door of a dumbwaiter?
25. Why does Owen risk his life to save the little girl from a raptor brawl raging in her bedroom, only to curl up in bed with her to watch in awe as the dinos go at it?
26. And why does Lockwood's granddaughter, when faced with the the threat of a dinosaur in her house, retreat to hiding under her bed sheets? After we saw her scale the outside of her very tall home, in the rain, simply because she suspected weird sh** was afoot?
27. When we first see Ian Malcolm, he is giving a speech to Congress. Then, at the end of the film, we seem him again. Addressing Congress, in the same clothes and at the same time of day as last time. So is Malcolm giving part of the same speech from the beginning of the film at the end? Or does Congress just have him on retainer to deliver ominous speeches about mankind's hubris and the dangers of genetic engineering?