In the sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s Oscar®-nominated blockbuster comedy, the Templeton brothers—Tim (James Marsden, X-Men franchise) and his Boss Baby little bro Ted (Alec Baldwin)—have become adults and drifted away from each other. Tim is now a married stay-at-home dad. Ted is a hedge fund CEO. But a new boss baby with a cutting-edge approach and a can-do attitude is about to bring them together again … and inspire a new family business.
Tim and his wife, Carol (Eva Longoria), the breadwinner of the family, live in the suburbs with their super-smart 7-year-old daughter Tabitha (Ariana Greenblatt, Avengers: Infinity War), and adorable new infant Tina (Amy Sedaris, Netflix’s BoJack Horseman). Tabitha, who’s at the top her class at the prestigious Acorn Center for Advanced Childhood, idolizes her Uncle Ted and wants to become like him, but Tim, still in touch with his overactive youthful imagination, worries that she’s working too hard and is missing out on a normal childhood.
When baby Tina reveals that she’s—ta-da!—a top secret agent for Baby Corp. on a mission to uncover the dark secrets behind Tabitha’s school and its mysterious founder, Dr. Erwin Armstrong (Jeff Goldblum), it will reunite the Templeton brothers in unexpected ways, lead them to re-evaluate the meaning of family and discover what truly matters.
Lisa Kudrow and Jimmy Kimmel also reprise their roles as Ted and Tim’s parents.
Building on the success of the first film, which earned more than $500 million worldwide, The Boss Baby: Family Business is directed by returning filmmaker Tom McGrath and is produced by Jeff Hermann (Kung Fu Panda 3).
Genre: Animated Comedy Cast: Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Ariana Greenblatt, Jimmy Kimmel, Lisa Kudrow, Eva Longoria, James Marsden, Amy Sedaris Director: Tom McGrath Producer: Jeff Hermann
“I am never mad at the end of movies. All I wanted from this movie was to be entertained and it could not even do that. And, I liked A Wrinkle in Time. Well, at least until I started thinking about it.” – My friend, after the conclusion of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Expectation are a fickle thing. Even when you think you have them properly adjusted for a particular movie, that movie can take those expectations and feed them into a wood chipper. Even movie reviews can do the same thing since you were probably expecting that last sentence to end with a dinosaur play on words and got a Fargo reference instead. There is a reason why my year-end review has two categories specifically dealing with shattered expectations (both good and bad). Even after more than ten years and hundreds of movies, my expectations are often proven wrong. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom just was not one of those times.
I am in the minority of critics who thought the first Jurassic World was a giant, redundant waste of time (71% of 314 critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it the ol’ thumbs up). I realize that I gave Star Wars: The Force Awakensa giant pass on being basically a remake of A New Hope, but I maintain that The Force Awakens was at least a wildly entertaining movie in a franchise that jumped off a cliff fifteen years earlier, and also a franchise that everyone was clamoring for more of. Conversely, there was nobody out there screeching for a return to Dinosaur fun-land, especially after watching the two Jurassic Park sequels, and Jurassic World was only the tiniest bit entertaining. Of course, the billon-dollar box office take of Jurassic World indicates that people just did not know they wanted more bad Jurassic Park sequels, so what do I know?
He’s really just a big teddy bear.
(Side note: My son watched Jurassic Park for the first time and loved it. While hi-def TVs make it harder to ignore the green-screen technology of 1993, the film holds up amazingly well twenty-five years later and watching it again was a reminder of how bad all three sequels were. Also SPOILER ALERT.)
My two biggest problems with Fallen Kingdom’s predecessor were the invention of a cross-species dinosaur (the Indominous Rex) and reducing raptors down to trained attack dogs for soldiering purposes. Rather than learning from these two mind-numbingly dumb plot devices, Fallen Kingdom doubles down on them.
This time, the bullshit dinosaur is the Indoraptor – a cross between Indominous Rex, a raptor, Krampus, and the Predator’s dreadlocks. Indoraptor has been genetically engineered for military purposes, specifically that when a laser sight is focused on an object and an acoustic frequency is triggered, Indoraptor will attack it. Congratulations, you are now slightly stupider after reading that last sentence (and watching this film). I am no weapons expert, but if you have a laser sight – which is almost certainly attached to a gun, as it is in this film – would not a cheaper, less dangerous, and more efficient method of killing an enemy be to fire that gun? Ha-ha – of course not.
As for the raptor pooch – named Blue and returning from the last film – we are now told that this former killing machine feels empathy for humans and shown Blue as a baby cuddling with Owen (Chris Pratt) in old videos. Awwwww. I guess that makes two bullshit dinosaurs. Incidentally, Blue is the most sympathetic character in the film and Michael Crichton’s remains just burst into flames.
Isn’t he just the cutest wittle thing?
One last thing about dinosaurs before we get to the, erm, plot – has anyone else noticed that the T-Rex is little more than a deus ex machina, or Deus Rex, if you will (and I will!)? Just when a protagonist is about to become chow for a dinosaur, Deus Rex (I told you I would) comes out of nowhere (somehow sneaking up on everyone like a ninja) and chomping down on the threat while ignoring the tasty humans. It was cool the first time in Jurassic Park when Deus Rex (you cannot stop me!!) saves Alan and friends from the raptors because it was unexpected. Now, it is just annoying and tired.
All of this bullshit fits nicely into the larger pile of bullshit masquerading as plot. Or in the case of this film – plots. Plot number one – rescue the dinosaurs from an erupting volcano on the island where the theme park was destroyed. This entire plot plays out within the first forty-five minutes of the film when it should have been the entirety of the film.
(Side note: Please, do not think about the fact that multiple organizations capable of cloning dinosaurs did not notice they built their theme park next to an active and dangerous volcano.)
What took you so long?
Plot number two – the rescue mission is actually a cover for a mysterious organization led by the most obvious of bad guys to collect the dinosaurs in order to auction them off to weapons dealers, big game hunters, military generals, and other equally detestable people.
Plot number three – predictably, the indoraptor escapes his cage in the mansion where the auction was taking place (along with where all of the dinosaurs were being stored; please do not ask) and we are back to the plot of all five of these films – do not get eaten.
Plot number four – save the little girl of the man (Benjamin Lockwood) funding the original rescue operation. What would a Jurassic Park/World movie be if children were not in danger? The little girl in question is Lockwood’s (James Cromwell) granddaughter, Maisie (Isabella Sermon). Or is she? I will not spoil her reveal for you, but I promise you it came straight from the M. Night Shyamalan book of bad and pointless plot twists.
Unlike my friend, there were a handful of moments during the film when I was entertained, though mostly for sarcastic reasons. The first involved Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Pratt) trying to draw blood from a T-Rex in order to give Blue a blood transfusion. No, seriously – I am not making that up. It sounds really dumb on paper, but the actors and director (J.A. Bayona) pull it off. Or my brain quit for a minute. At any rate, the second and third were lines of dialogue that made me laugh out loud at their absurdity.
I swear to you this scene works.
Line one – When questioning if the batteries in the trackers implanted in the dinosaurs would be dead or not, the response given was “the batteries are powered by body heat and movement, so the batteries never die.” Um, no. That is not how batteries work, even in a world where new dinosaurs can be invented and brought to life.
Line two – when trying to figure out where to get blood for Blue, the paleobiologist (Daniella Pineda) says “any dinosaur with the same number of fingers will be compatible.” Smell that?
I was also entertained by Chris Pratt delivering all of his lines as if they are gallows humor; like a guy who drew the short straw to feed the cobra. He is joking about everything because he knows he is about to die. True, he was only dying on the inside, but it hurts just as much.
Life finds a way. Anyone? Is thing on?
Finally, Jeff Goldblum making a depressing cameo (returning as Dr. Malcolm) tickled me. He is arguing to Congress (really, do not ask) that the dinosaurs should be left to die and delivers a line of dialogue that is accidentally meta. “How many times do we have to learn this lesson?” There is no way the writers are that self-aware, so the only explanation for that line is that they are taunting the audience for watching terrible sequel after terrible sequel. I do not believe audiences will heed the taunt, but I am hoping my expectations are proven wrong this time.
Rating: Ask for all of your money back, but only if you asked for all of your money back for the last Jurassic World. The rest of you are seemingly cool with paying for bullshit.
Among other things, here’s what I said about Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2 – “It felt like two hours of dudes fucking around on a film set for two-plus hours and calling it a movie.” Thor: Ragnarok is those same dudes throwing an epic party where everything goes off perfect and everyone talks about it for the rest of their lives. Lucky for you, everyone is invited.
(Mild SPOILERS and I’m sorry for all of them.)
The film picks up two years after the events of Age of Ultron, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) dangling in a cage, then bantering with a fire demon. This scene is extremely important in that it sets the tone of the movie at roughly a beer and a shot into the party. Serious, semi-moody Thor is no more, replaced with a Thor who has obviously been hanging out with Star-Lord a lot. Immediately following this scene is another in which Odin (Anthony Hopkins) is eating grapes while watching a revisionist version of Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) death. Since we all remember the end of Thor: The Dark World, we know that isn’t really Odin and Thor confronts him. Like the opening scene, this one is all fun and giggles and the tone is now the same as you answering the door at the party and greeting the guy with the cooler full of Jell-O shots and he is Jeff Goldblum.
Fun Bobby is here!
In a movie bursting with great actors and brilliant performances, you can’t go wrong picking any of them. For me, Goldblum as Grandmaster wins because the role fit him to a tee. Grandmaster governs a planet that is one giant garbage dump (literally), running gladiatorial death games as the main entertainment. Grandmaster is Dr. Malcolm, Jack Sparrow, and The Dude hitting a bong while hosting a game show. Brilliant is almost an understatement in this case.
The rest of the movie is a series of those scenes featuring characters as awesome as Grandmaster. It’s scene after scene of max fun, silliness, standout performances, and perfectly timed jokes. And, it gets even better than that because this movie has a plot and also moves us much closer to Infinity War. Ragnarok is a prophecy foretelling the destruction of Asgard, as Thor and Loki learn from the dying Odin. They also learn they have an exiled sister, Hela (Cate Blanchett), the God of Death, who draws all of her power from Asgard. Pretty ominous, right? Don’t worry. She is easily having as much fun in this movie as everyone else and Hela is weirdly endearing. Anyway, she follows Thor and Loki in one of those rainbow teleporter tunnels and makes it to Asgard, while knocking Loki and Thor out prior to their arrival (that’s how they end up on the trash planet). Unfortunately, Heimdall (Idris Elba) disappears with the big sword that works the teleporter, so she’s stuck in Asgard and can’t begin her conquest of the universe. You might think the party just took a turn for the serious, but Blanchett is the one doing keg stands and kicking everyone’s ass at beer pong.
Best. Party. Ever.
That’s the crux of it and it’s so simple. Thor must escape the garbage planet to stop Hela from going on a conquering spree. Where it ties into the greater MCU narrative is in the supporting cast and where the movie ends up when the credits roll. And what party isn’t complete without the main body of guests? Since standalone Incredible Hulk movies have not gone well, and Ironman and Captain America got their buddy film, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) returns after disappearing during the climactic battle against Ultron to form another Avengers buddy movie with Thor. Since there is no way you haven’t seen a trailer for Ragnarok, you already know that Thor has to face off against Hulk in Grandmaster’s arena and it is you doing navel shots and everyone dancing to Love Shack (baby).
Dancing with you is Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) who is as badass as anyone in the film in a fight and seems as if she’s been part of this franchise since Tony Stark blasted out of that cave so many years ago. The chemistry she has with Hemsworth and Ruffalo defies belief and she damn well better be invited to the next party. Behind you is Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who didn’t stay at the party too long (one scene), but reminds you why he’s always invited. His scene is more of a foreshadowing of things to come, but he gets to show off his power and match witticisms with Thor and Loki. If Strange’s toying with Thor and Loki and casually dismissing them means anything it’s that he’s going to be pivotal when Thanos finally makes his move. Finally, that’s Skurge (Karl Urban) over there in the corner, wanting to join the dance, but not sure how to. He seems out of place and uncomfortable and nobody remembers inviting him. He hangs out with Hela for survival purposes and is basically a lost puppy dog for most of the film, but damned if he doesn’t bring it when the life-sized Jenga challenges are thrown down. Ok, I’m really stretching the analogy, so let’s wrap this party up.
Who wouldn’t do shots off that?
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen actors visibly having as much fun in a movie as in Ragnarok. The ease in which these characters come to life in the most entertaining ways possible is astounding, even for such seasoned actors as these. I especially loved unrestrained Hemsworth and Blanchett knocking their performances out of the park. The movie pushes the boundaries of action-comedy to the brink of absurdity, but there’s just enough restraint to keep it from crossing the line. Yeah, there are tiny moments of stupidity (they couldn’t resist a bad poop joke, Hulk somehow stays Hulk for two solid years, and Hulk even manages to speak in almost complete sentences now), but what epic party doesn’t include the guy puking in the bushes? Everyone else helps puking guy to a bed to sleep it off, then they all sing 80s rock ballads until they’re hoarse. By the end of the night, they all pass out together in one giant mass of bodies in the living room, waking up with all their clothes on and realizing, with a smile, that everyone is still just friends. It’s the party of the year, friends.
Rating: Worth ten times (or more) what you’ll pay for it and you won’t stop talking about it for months.