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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Movie Review

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Movie Review

Rating: C (Average)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

Jurassic Park was a landmark movie for visual effects, while also crafting a spectacular thrill ride with both an awe and a fear of dinosaurs. Somehow, the sequels have not come close to the same level of excitement and intrigue as Steven Spielberg’s initial film. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom continues the disappointing trend of underwhelming follow-ups with the plot taking some rather silly turns and giving us characters not worth caring about. Even the dinosaurs aren’t as interesting as they once were and while director J.A. Bayona crafts a few decent set-pieces, the film as a whole doesn’t quite click together in a satisfying way.

Fallen Kingdom begins with an impressive and genuinely thrilling sequence on the remains of the abandoned and destroyed Jurassic World theme park. It is one of the rare scenes where Bayona’s horror film background helps creates a chilling tone and it presents a promise that maybe this chapter will finally recapture the same Spielberg magic as the first film and there are even shades of Jaws. Once the principal characters show up and the story truly starts revving its engines, the disappointment sets in. Exploring similar territory as The Lost World, it appears they will explore an environmental angle on the ethics of keeping dinosaurs around, but it’s not fully developed.

Fallen Kingdom mostly involves an evil businessman plot and it begs the question why Jurassic Park films even need villains, when the carnivorous dinosaurs already exist as threats. The first film knew it just needed Dennis Nedry to shut off the electricity and then disposed of him quickly. In addition to the men in suits, there is also the obvious military guy, this time with an odd tooth fetish. The heroes aren’t that much better, with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard given one-dimensional and uninteresting motivations. The rare spark comes from Daniella Pineda’s veterinarian and while her characterization is as simple as the leads, she showcases an awe towards the dinosaurs that makes her an endearing character. Meanwhile, Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as Ian Malcolm for a few scenes that could have been cut out and not affected the film in a major way.

Aside from the aforementioned opening, an underwater sequence is also well done. However, the rest of the action involves a lot of running around and little suspense. The filmmakers’ solution for upping the ante is by making the dinosaurs incredibly intelligent, which turns one particular scientific creation into a Jason Voorhees-style monster. The dinosaurs have gone from natural predators to slasher villains. Fallen Kingdom goes particularly off the rails when further plot points are revealed that are incredibly silly, even by the standards of this series. It’s astounding thinking back to Jurassic Park and wondering how Michael Crichton’s initial story of bringing dinosaurs back to life got to this point.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom seeks to be a spectacle and that’s fine, but the sight of dinosaurs stomping on the screen is not enough to get past the run-of-the-mill feeling of this latest movie. J.A. Bayona is a talented director and some of his flair for the scary comes through in a few scenes, but it can’t quite escape a series that has been desperately trying to recapture the initial magic ever since the second film. Jurassic World featured a meta-commentary on people no longer being wowed by dinosaurs. That oddly applies to the film series as well. There are only so many times we can smile at a Tyrannosaurus Rex roaring at his human prey.


Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison