I admit that, thanks to my dinosaur-loving inner child, I do have some bias towards the Jurassic Park franchise and am therefore more likely to forgive any flaws that turn up in the films. I enjoyed Jurassic World, and I was looking forward to seeing what Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom would bring to the table. Even if you can’t recapture the magic of the first film, there is surely plenty of material you can come up with for a world where dinosaurs have been brought back to life. Fallen Kingdom does surpass Jurassic Park III, the weakest of the previous installments, in that the story has a point and is a proper continuation of what came immediately beforehand. Unfortunately, it feels like it could have offered the audience much more than what it ultimately delivers. If you weren’t a fan of Jurassic World, I don’t think Fallen Kingdom will win you over.
Three years after the events of Jurassic World, the dinosaurs roaming free on Isla Nublar are being threatened by an impending volcanic eruption, and there is fierce debate as to whether action should be taken, or the resurrected and ultimately unnatural animals should be allowed to become extinct once again. (No mention is made of Isla Sorna from the second and third films, where it may be assumed that the dinosaurs have already died out.) Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the former operations manager of Jurassic World, is recruited by John Hammond’s old business partner for an unsanctioned operation to rescue and re-locate as many dinosaurs as possible – with fellow former employee Owen (Chris Pratt) tagging along as only he can capture Blue, the one remaining Velociraptor. However, when the team arrives on Isla Nublar, it’s not just the volcano they have to worry about – something more nefarious is going on.
If you’re looking for dinosaur action, you’ve come to the right place with this film. It kicks off right away with some hapless mercenaries falling foul of the T-Rex and Mosasaurus, and goes from there. The whole thing is well-paced, and I never felt bored. The volcanic eruption sequence – which looked like it might be the climax following the first trailer – is suitably exciting and frantic, even if there is some application of ‘movie physics’ regarding how close you can get to molten lava without burning. Several new dinosaurs are thrown into the mix for some variety, including Baryonyx, Carnotaurus and Stygimoloch – even if the dinosaurs still don’t look as good as in the 90s, the visuals are satisfactory at least. The genetically-engineered Indominus rex from Jurassic World gets a successor in the Indoraptor, which is only really used in the third act; as it turns out, less is more.
Once you’ve calmed down from the excitement of the first half, however, the film ultimately turns out to be generic, predictable, and lacking in layers, besides the old story of man suffering the consequences for greed and being too careless with scientific progress. The characters, both old and new, are unmemorable – though at least the obligatory child isn’t an annoyance. The villains are a two-dimensional crew, consisting of two greedy businessmen and one great white hunter; they make some incredibly stupid decisions just to ensure that the plot goes in the direction it needs to, and they’re so obviously going to end up as dinosaur food that they might as well be sprinkling themselves with salt and pepper every now and then. Sadly, Jeff Goldblum’s much-anticipated return to the role of Ian Malcolm is wasted; he only appears in two brief scenes at the beginning and end, with barely any opportunity to show off his classic Goldblum-ness.
My advice is to take Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom as a basic dinosaur-themed action adventure – on that level, it manages to be an entertaining experience in spite of its flaws. Rating: 3.5/5.
I did enjoy the first film, so this one looks like it’ll entertain…at least for the first half.
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It is certainly entertaining. And the second half’s not really that bad – it’s just when things had calmed down and I realised there wasn’t much more to the film.
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