Monster Clearance Sale
Fallen Kingdom clumsily comes to life, as best a fifth movie in such a series could. Crude moralizing and repetitious visuals spin a wacky story concerning a dinosaur auction. This comes after an eruptive first act as a volcano spews lava to sink the Jurassic World island. It adds up to lots of action and lots of people eaten by carnivores. It’s done with a glimmer of style, enough to give this ludicrous pro-conservation story a pass.
Video (4K UHD)
Insane black levels kick off this stunning Dolby Vision offering. As a team works on the island at night, deep shadows cloak them in darkness. Density is top tier, reference level stuff. That goes for contrast too, intense and saturated. Highlights stand out against the darkness of which Fallen Kingdom is fond of. Total image depth and dimension rank highly among the best UHDs to date.
Going by eye alone, Fallen Kingdom has the look of a 2K finished source. The sharpness isn’t there for this to be true 4K. Still, detail and definition fare well. Close-ups produce thick texture, especially on dinosaurs. Chris Pratt and company, increasingly sweaty and dirty as the movie moves on, install additional opportunities for high-frequency material.
With but a few exceptions (notably in the third act), color holds to a pleasingly warm, bright palette. Shots of the island in the first half boast outstanding greens with a touch of orange to heat the scene. Flesh tones remain unblemished.
Universal’s encode maintains absolute clarity. Instances of noise won’t fill one hand’s worth of counting. Digital cinematography keeps a clear window presence.
While a bit heavy on crush, Fallen Kingdom’s Blu-ray offers reference level depth and dimension. The play on light, free of noise, creates stellar imagery.
Bright color fills much of this movie with a tinge of warmth, an appealing dose of digital color grading. Flesh tones hold a level of heat, but not overcooked. Behind the saturation is plentiful detail. Skin texture fares well and consistently, with a bevy of dinosaur skin to take note of too.
Brilliant imaging manages to keep a busy soundspace active and natural. The opening scene with a hurricane’s worth of rain, crashing waves, helicopters, score, and dinosaur roars finds balance between these elements. Careful tracking keeps helicopter rotors in the appropriate space. As a dinosaur chases down a victim, each step carries over into the surrounds or stereos depending on camera location. Marvelous stuff. Later, as lava bombs start bursting free from a volcano, their path tracks faultlessly, placing characters in audible danger.
Of course the LFE reaches substantial levels. A gurgling volcano will do that, ominously serenading island scenes. Stomping dinosaurs send shockwaves out, satisfying the need for heavy activity. Roars will do the same, along with a few explosions exploiting beefy dynamic range.
Eleven featurettes, between two and seven minutes each, fill a lot of space in the menu option. There’s no play all. Footage seems like a cast-off from a larger documentary mixed with tiresome EPK footage. Skip a majority of it and you’ll miss nothing.
The good stuff starts with Fallen Kingdom: A Conversation which features Jeff Goldblum and others discussing their roles. Chris Pratt’s Jurassic Journal splits off into a dozen short featurettes, focusing on some lesser known parts of moviemaking like make-up and set dressers (this in addition to directors and others). It’s a blast to watch. A collection of clips from all five movies carries a corporate sponsor, and Justice Smith serenades the cast on the last day of shooting in a short performance.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World’s follow-up, Fallen Kingdom, is an awkward, wacky movie with a tinge of stormy night horror thrown into the mix.
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