'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' Review (2018)
Like Real Dinosaurs, Creativity in this Franchise Seems to be Extinct
Jurassic Park filled the world with wonder and amazement when it first came out in 1993. It revolutionized special effects and amazed people at what film could create. In 2015, Jurassic World demolished the box office and turned the franchise into an action spectacle instead of just a fun, adventure film like the first. It became a bit of a ridiculous romp with weak characters but crazy dinosaur action which made Jurassic World a fun blockbuster even if the story was a bit lacking. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom capitalizes on Jurassic World's success, but takes the franchise to such far levels of ridiculousness that it's hard to take it seriously now.
When the island where the now abandoned Jurassic World amusement park rests is threatened by a volcanic disaster, the world must decide whether the dinosaurs on the island should be rescued or whether they should be sent back to extinction. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) are recruited by an organization led by a former colleague (James Cromwell) of Hammond, the creator of the original Jurassic Park, to go to the island and help save the dinosaurs. However, there is a more elaborate plot for why the dinosaurs are being saved.
Howard and Pratt reprise their roles from Jurassic World and both of them are good. Pratt is probably the most likable character but he basically does the same thing from the first movie. There really wasn't any evolution of his character. I actually did like Howard more than I did in the first movie. She is no longer money driven and is more independent than in the first. She doesn't run around in high heels and she is given more to do.
Two new additions were Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith as two of Claire's assistants who go to the island with her. They were likable characters and they had some humorous moments. They had a good dynamic with the two leads. Cromwell does a good job as well as someone who just appreciates and respects the dinosaurs for what they are. Another new character is Isabella Sermon as Cromwell's granddaughter and she gives a good performance, however, there is a backstory given to her character that feels so forced and is so incredibly stupid that it is really hard to accept. It really took me out of the movie when I heard how ridiculous it is.
The villains in this movie are so painfully generic that they don't even need names. There is nothing unique or interesting about them. They want to do dumb, dangerous things with the dinosaurs just for money. The main villain is played by Rafe Spall and he is fine in the film, but is given poor dialogue and ridiculous motivations. The amount of dumb things they do for money is laughable.
Another villain is played by Toby Jones and he does this weird, cartoony accent that is hard to take serious. He also makes horrible decisions. The writers made the villains so unrealistically dumb just so certain plot elements could happen from their dumb decisions. You would think that after 5 movies people would learn not to mess with carnivorous, killer dinosaurs but apparently the money is worth the risk.
I give J.A. Bayona a lot of credit because he made this script work the best that he could. This film has a lot of gorgeous imagery and does a lot of creative lighting tricks to show the dinosaurs. The first half of the film when they are saving the dinosaurs from the volcano is actually a lot of fun. It is fast paced, has a lot of cool effects with explosions and dinosaurs, and really keeps you entertained throughout. There is even one specific sequence that made me a bit emotional.
However, the screenwriters really made Bayona's job hard in the second half. This isn't a spoiler because they show it in the trailer but they create another genetic hybrid dinosaur. It has an awesome design and it's entertaining whenever he is on screen. But it just happened in the last movie. It's hard to make it seem unique and different when it just happened in the first movie. Whenever the dinosaurs are on screen, its a fun movie, but when it focuses on the stupid people then this movie falls apart. Bayona does a lot to make the movie visually interesting, but he can't save the script.
The film ends on a note that sets up a potentially interesting third film, but the way it is set up is awful. It's so evident that the writers knew where they wanted to go for the third film, but had no idea how to get there. Every person in this movie is put in danger because of people's dumb decisions. Luckily, the dinosaurs in this movie are awesome, especially the raptor, Blue, and the T-Rex. The relationship between Blue and Pratt is handled well and gives the audience some connection to the dinosaurs.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a bitter disappointment. It's not horrible, but the script is unbearably dumb. I'm someone who enjoys The Fast and the Furious and even I thought this was too much stupid for one movie. Pratt and Howard are definitely the most likable characters in this franchise, but even then they are pretty weak characters. When the dinosaurs are on screen, the film is a lot of fun but the humans are awful. The first half is pretty good, but the second half really kills the film. Bayona does what he can to save the script, but it's not enough. Also, if you've seen the trailer, you've basically seen this movie beat for beat. Whatever you thought of the trailer is probably what you will think of this movie. I like what this movie is setting up, but I really don't like how they did it.