In addition to making your mornings suck less on Go 96.3’s Morning Show, Dana Wessel is our station’s resident cinephile. Think of him like Ebert, Roper and Siskel combined, but way cooler. Check out his weekly movie preview below. 

Only one movie coming out this weekend because nobody wants to go up against the dinos. Can’t say I blame them. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will be one of the biggest movies of the year. I actually saw a screening of this on Tuesday night so here are some spoiler-free thoughts. But if you want to go in completely fresh, I suggest punting. Thanks for the click tho! My bosses appreciate it.

June 22

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, B. D. Wong, Jeff Goldblum, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Isabella Sermon, and Geraldine Chaplin.

What’s the deal?

It’s a new movie about dinosaurs and, guess what, it’s really good. I admit, I am a big Jurassic fan, so take what I say with a grain of salt. This is the one movie franchise that really links me to my childhood. All the best Star Wars movies came out before I was born. The current wave of superhero flicks started when I was in high school. But Jurassic was right in the sweet spot for me. I remember the exact theater and seat I saw the original when I was eight years old. I remember my parents buying it for me on VHS at the Eagan Target. Those damn dinosaurs can still evoke some childlike wonderment out of me.

Fallen Kingdom takes place four years after all those tourists got waxed by the dinosaurs at Jurassic World. I’d explain the plot, but if I’m being honest, it is a bit flimsy, which has kind of always been the case for these films, with the original being the exception. But going to a Jurassic movie for the plot is like going to a monster truck rally for nuance and subtilty. You are here for the dinosaurs…and they are great, as always.

There are still humans in the movie and they are a bit of a mixed bag. Chris Pratt is great (duh) and still has amazing forearms. Bryce Dallas Howard, too. There is a rule about Jurassic movies that you must have at least one young kid constantly almost getting munched by a dino to stress the sh*t out of the audience. I am happy to report that the token kid in Fallen Kingdom (played by Isabella Sermon in her film debut) is one of the least annoying of the series. I mean sure, they could have cut her eardrum-rupturing screams down to about 147 rather than 8,820, but she was actually really good. The new bad guys are pretty basic and will make you roll your eyes, but that makes it all the more satisfying when, well, you know…

Without giving too much away, Fallen Kingdom  has a distinct shift in tone midway through the movie and it turns into more of a suspense/thriller. It really worked for me. Even the Fast & Furious franchise realized around the fifth movie they had to move away from just street races. There is only so many “oh my god, these dinosaurs are chasing us on this island, what are we going to do?” set pieces you can do before you have seen it all.

Fallen Kingdom certainly isn’t perfect. There is one plot development that caused myself and the people I was with to look at each other with shock and dumbfoundment, which isn’t easy to do in a movie about dinosaurs being alive. But overall, there is a lot of fun here and the setup for the next Jurassic film looks very promising.

Should you go?

I feel like after 25 years and five movies you kinda know if you are the type of person who digs watching dinosaurs terrorize adults and children in modern times. If you are a Jurassic fan or someone who can turn their brain off for two hours of summer movie fun, you’ll dig this one a lot. If you punted on the series already, well, there probably isn’t much here to win you back.

Weekly Rundown

Current box office champ: Incredibles II made $180 million bucks which was enough for the highest animated opening ever AND the eight-largest opening ever.

This week’s predicted champ: The dinosaurs are going to CHOMP the competition hahaha get it? But seriously, Jurassic World surprised a lot of people in 2015 by grossing over $200 million in its opening weekend (one of only six movies ever to hit that mark), but that had a lot to do with the fact it had been 14-years between Jurassic movies. Fallen Kingdom won’t hit as high as its predecessor, but it will still put up a big number this weekend.

What opens next week? A couple movies that will be eaten off the toilet by Jurassic World like that lawyer in the original. A sequel to the 2015 drug cartel movie Sicario and a promising comedy featuring NBA players in makeup/costume to look like old men that play street hoops.

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