Edinburgh Cinema

Edinburgh’s cinemas have their own, different feel. When I visit them, I’ll be writing about both the film and the place, giving you the organic experience. Film critics on the big scale can’t really cater for this, so I hope my reviews bring something extra in this respect.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic-World-Fallen-Kingdom-poster

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Darker and more disturbing than any Jurassic Park film before, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is an epic, popcorn movie that channels our pessimistic current zeitgeist, leaving me to leave the cinema with a feeling of unease. I watched this film and thought of the way the real world is going, with a feeling of dread. I wonder if it's just my projection, or me noticing how artists are noticing these things too. Heroes can no longer stop bad things from happening; villains inflict irreparable damage upon the world through their greed, leaving us with images of final scenes for us to shake our heads to, open-mouthed, and there's nothing we can do.

This film and its uneasy message starts with the little girl. Where Spielberg includes children to ground his movies with warmth, love and realism – as is the case in the previous four Jurassic Park movies – the character of pre-teen granddaughter Maisie (played by Isabella Sermon) is altogether more complex, her opening moments suggesting there's something of the dinosaur-in-the-shadows about her. A big reveal towards the end reveals how far the twisted DNA rabbit hole goes.

Elsewhere, this is a film where brutality and avarice are overbearing, irresistible. The military 'big game hunter' played by Ted Levine, is increasingly revealed as a sadist; so different to Peter Postlethwaite's more ambiguous, likeable version in Jurassic Park II: Lost World (1997). Then there are the money men, Rafe Spall's Eli and Toby Jones's Gunnar, who encompass the kind of inhuman, short-term lust for profits at any cost we've not seen to this degree in the Jurassic Park franchise before, but are altogether too familiar when we think of modern politics, with climate-change deniers, and the deregulating super-rich.

Of the moments of light, they come mainly from Chris Pratt and Dallas Bryce Howard, who resurrect their all-action romance with enduring charm. Ably supporting them are nerdy tech expert Franklin (Justice Smith) and feisty Dr Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), who turn the gender types on their head with Franklin's high-pitched screams and Zia's tough-as-nails physicality. They are the good people trying to hold things together, their affection and respect for the natural world, and their pro-activeness, a thing to cling to.

Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom has been roundly criticized for being a formulaic franchise movie, but I didn't think this at all. As a fan of the franchise, I think it's lazy journalism to claim what The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw says, of same-old, same-old:

'we do get the dinos in cages, fed with goats, dinos having to be wrangled in the driving rain, great white hunters with guns, yikes-it's-behind-you comeuppances for the corporate bad guys and dusty old electrical circuit boxes that have to be fixed by torchlight.'

Yes, there are recurring motifs, but now, edgily, noticeably different, like entering the uncanny valley and being aware of how it's not quite the same, and therefore disturbingly different. Instead of continuity, I sensed a departure in tone, similar to that of Avengers: Infinity War. You couldn't have referred to Yeats's haunting poem, The Second Coming, to other Jurassic Park movies, but by the end of the movie the words conceived by Yeats begin to feel prescient:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity . . .

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

I really got this film, its message of doom, encompassed in the speech by Jeff Goldblum's Dr Ian Malcolm, who warns that human civilization lacks the sense of responsibility to deal with its increasingly sophisticated technologies. I would watch this film again to see if I'm just imagining the parallels with our current political climate. I would watch it again, in the hope it was momentary paranoia on my part, that I was in a strange mood, and that I'm wrong.
Miss Maria, Skirting the Mountain
The Breadwinner
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Guest
Sunday, 20 January 2019

Captcha Image

What's On This Week

My Latest Posts

January 12, 2019

Transgender Venezuelan Poetry: Esdras Parra

in Books

Transgender Venezuelan Poetry: the Collected Poems of Esdras Parra (2018) I've seen your dreams In the foliage of your eyes Opening in a horizon of ash Ready for death And the innocent flame That leaps from branch to branch Brings you the color of earth Which you should get used to Before the fog Grows within you (taken from the collection Este Sue...
January 06, 2019

2019 I am ready for you

2019 I am ready for you After a Christmas of deadnaming, trans-shaming and get-in-the-car-quick confidence-maiming, I am back, like a fist through a million-dollar painting. I am adult enough now to disregard what's not important, as I survey the field before me. I am unlikely to romance or murder anyone. I'm also not planning to die. I will work h...
January 06, 2019

The Favourite

If playwright Harold Pinter does brilliant depictions of the menace and impotence of male experience within patriarchy, then this film, Yorgos Lanthimos's The Favourite , produces a stunning equivalent of female power games in a dog-eat-dog world. This felt like a 'woman' film, where boy-meets-girl romance is simply – and peripherally – a means to ...
December 09, 2018

Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines If the anime films of Studio Ghibli and writer/artist Hayao Miyazaki were to be turned into live action movies, they would look like this. Steam punk machines, whirring aircraft and zeppelins, with utopian valleys and dystopian wastelands sharing screen time, reminding us of how one can turn into the other through the rapacious consu...
Creed 2
December 08, 2018

Creed 2

December 08, 2018

Creed 2

Creed 2 I remember Rocky IV in the mid-1980s, at the peak of Reagan's (and Donald Trump's) America. It's a film so mesmerizingly patriotic to American exceptionalism, the boxer 'Italian Stallion' Rocky Balboa as the plucky underdog, avenging the brutal death of his friend Apollo Creed by taking on the steroid-abusing giant who killed said friend in...
December 04, 2018

Transgender milestone (#5): visiting a foreign country

It means nothing to me This means nothing to me Oh, Vienna (' Vienna ' by Ultravox) It's up there with your first full day as an out trans female, with the admin changes, your first job and that conversation with your family. I went to Vienna this weekend to a conference, my first time out of the country with my passport grasped at my tender bosom,...
Widows
November 25, 2018

Widows

November 25, 2018

Widows

Widows A taut, stylish heist movie spotlighting destinies of gender and race in the U.S., Widows is the kind of movie I'd forgotten they still make for adults. Contrasted with multiverse fantasies like Crimes of Grindelwald , Widows is proof you can have several characters as vivid, substantial, and delicately drawn, while the action and the tensio...
November 18, 2018

The Crimes of Grindelwald

The Crimes of Grindelwald A curious film, one to categorize under 'part of a series' than self-contained. But you sit down to these 'multiverse' sagas from Marvel and Warner Bros. (et al) expecting the cliff-hanger concept that really belongs to TV shows. With this expectation, I entered the dark cinema an intrepid explorer like Eddie Redmayne's Ne...
November 09, 2018

Gifted Transgender Writers: Jamie Berrout

in Books

Portland Diary by Jamie Berrout I never use to read short stories, but I'm glad I found Portland Diary: Short Stories 2016 / 2017 by Jamie Berrout. As a transgender woman of colour, Berrout is able to go beyond the clichés of isolation and domesticity of cisgender appropriations (David Ebershoff's nauseating The Danish Girl , for example), but also...