Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
SHOULD I SEE IT?
You already have your tickets. It’s alright. Completely understand.
Fans of the previous Jurassic World and larger Jurassic Park franchise, will be looking for more and more nostalgia and wonder from the impossible seemingly proving possible.
Those who like this film point to the escapism, popcorn-chomping nature of the movie. From some, this is perfectly acceptable summer movie fun.
This is not a good movie. And everything people are frustrated with this time around… (I may have mentioned back in 2015, just saying…)
There is literally nowhere else to go. This is a property that is less a movie and more a series of scenes strung together, tied together by a nebulous screenplay, which lacks originality or innovation.
Everyone looks bored and going through the motions.
While it is trivial and somewhat trite to make this observation, here goes anyway.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom only exists to take your money.
Now I know, I know…every movie that sells a ticket is wanting to take your money, and complaining about this is a little like throwing a fit because water is wet all the time. However, stick with me here, because I am not sure Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a movie, as much as a means with which to sell merchandise, and get kids amped up on concessions and free swag the ticket takers might hand you on your way into the theater.
Five movies in, and with accomplished director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, When a Monster Calls) at the helm, Fallen Kingdom gives us an opening scene I swear we have seen played out countless times in any number of monster, or angry beast movies.
A technician, feverishly trying to complete a task in a torrential downpour, is going to be left behind by a helicopter crew when they see the threat of a rampaging dinosaur impossible to overcome. Panicking, he abandons the project at the last moment, the helicopter drops a ladder and with gnashing teeth at the soles of his shoes, he escapes.
He then laughs at the fact that he seemingly cheated death, until a massive monstrous beast leaps out of the water below and swallows him whole. (And no, this is not a spoiler. IMDb shows you this in a still image released from the studio.)
Great. Didn’t this happen in the last Jurassic World movie? Doesn’t this happen in any number of the Sharknado films?
Point being: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has nothing to offer us other than rehashed bits of chaos, destruction, and mind-numbing plot developments that seem to only exist as a stop-gap between rampaging dinosaur sequences.
If sea monster chomping isn’t enough for you, Bayona, working with a “script” by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow, re-introduces us to Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing by first showing us her shoes. Because, as some of you may recall, one of the biggest complaints of the 2015 film centers around the impracticality of Claire running through countless scenes of peril and danger in tall heels. And so, we see her, in an elevator, wearing tall high heels.
These are the jokes folks.
From there, Fallen Kingdom gives us a cameo from Jeff Goldblum at a congressional hearing, and then sets up the story of a volcano starting to show signs of exploding on Isla Nublar, the home of the former Jurassic World theme park, which was busted up beyond repair in the 2015 film. Claire is now a dinosaur-rights activist and, as fate would have it, finds herself forced to reconnect with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to help relocate dinosaurs in danger of becoming extinct.
Add to the mix Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), the manager of the Benjamin Lockwood estate (Lockwood assisted with the cloning of the original dinosaurs), who shows Claire a brand-new island sanctuary that the dinosaurs can be relocated to. Lockwood (James Cromwell) assures her the location is safe, will be without human contact, and Mills expresses a curiously specific interest in Blue, the last velociraptor on the planet, lovingly nurtured and trained by Owen in the previous film.
As efforts are made to move the dinosaurs, I think it is safe to say we all know where this is going – which is precisely the problem. Connolly and Trevorrow’s script offers no surprises and a paint-by-numbers story. Everything is telegraphed, other than an occasional jump scare, which is used lazily and merely to nudge us awake.
Eventually, we learn that some folks involved in this new venture may have ulterior motives, and things are not quite like they appear to be for our dinosaur-saving duo. And honestly, for the kids in the audience, they could care less about the story and just want to see more big, scary dinosaurs.
Very early on we realize there is nothing left to tell about the Jurassic World story. Five films in and we have nowhere really left to go. Goldblum’s character offers some insight into where a future film may go, but, in execution and presentation, if you have seen one Jurassic Park/World movie, you have seen them all, by this point.
Everyone seems bored, Pratt especially, showing a stunning lack of fire and charisma, which has made him a top-tier, bankable movie star in other cinematic universes. Howard tries to sell this mish-mash as meaningful and important, continually undercut by a script that has no idea how to make anything matter. The introduction of two young tag-alongs, Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith), seems like a good idea to freshen things up a bit – however, they are little more than window-dressing, directionless, with their existence rather pointless.
Sure, the dinosaurs look awesome, but we have seen that. Bayona can properly put together an action sequence, but so do lots of filmmakers. Connolly and Trevorrow show they can write a meaningless story that wastes 128 minutes of everyone’s time, as many have done before them. So, in those instances, everyone involved achieves something.
But what do we get? Well, boredom. Complacency. A movie we have essentially seen four times before. Sadly, this return to Jurassic World feels perfunctory, one borne from obligation where no one has any ideas on how to make this a journey ever worth taking again.
CAST & CREW
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Danielle Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldblum, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon.
Director: J.A. Bayona
Written by: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Based on characters created by Michael Crichton
Release Date: June 22, 2018