Friday, June 22

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Dir: J.A. Batons

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Toby Jones, BD Wong, and Jeff Goldblum

“Jurassic Park” was released 25 years ago and paved the way for advancements in special effects and helped establish the formula for the summer popcorn movie. Revisiting this film today and it’s impressive to watch how effectively everything still works in the film. The dinosaurs are awe-inducing while also being fairly intimidating and threatening throughout the film; the velociraptors are simply perfect villains. Add the struggles associated with humanity’s decision to play God and the film continues to position itself as a highlight of the summer blockbuster category of films that do more than offer big explosions and destruction.

The sequels in the “Jurassic Park” saga have moved from an innovative exercise in filmmaking, to a simplistic demonstration of a business model put to good work. That doesn’t mean that it can’t still be fun, and even as the franchise grew there seemed to be enough spectacle to keep everything entertaining from film to film. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” makes some bold if altogether peculiar moves, taking the action off the island and onto the mainland. 

The dinosaurs are in danger. Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) are invited back to Jurassic Park, however the circumstances for their return is a rescue mission to save the dinosaurs left on the island which has now become an active volcano. However, there is more to worry about since this rescue mission is less about good intentions and more about leveraging the dinosaurs for money.

There is still something completely mesmerizing and captivating when the dinosaurs rumble onto the screen in Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park”, a sensation that was reignited in small ways in the flawed reboot “Jurassic World” from a few years ago. That grandeur and spectacle of design along with the essence of nature and history inherent in the ancient animals is lost in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”. 

These elements are replaced with nonsensical storylines that resemble plots found in bad science fiction B-movies. At this point, 5 films into a seemingly unstoppable franchise, it wouldn’t be a bad choice to completely embrace the B-movie sensibilities and go full throttle in a new direction. Surprisingly in the few moments when the film does embrace these characteristics, it flows with all the fun of an amusement park ride. In one of the most amusing scenes in the film a volcano erupts, the dinosaurs charge away from flowing lava, and the humans are left to dodge, duck, dip, and dive from all variety of dinosaur fare. It’s one of the few scenes that completely embraces the presence of dinosaurs in the environment.

The most unfortunate misstep however is the misuse of the real stars of the film, the dinosaurs! The intimidation factor associated with the shear magnitude of these animals is lost as the film progresses into a rescue mission that finds the team invading a Northern California mansion/castle where the dinosaurs are locked in cages that don’t seem big enough to hold them. In the final 30 minutes the film digresses into complete chaos, with a chase scene that involves a newly designed dinosaur, a curious young girl (Isabella Sermon) who lives in the mansion, and more bad guys than the dinosaurs have opportunity to torment. 

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” doesn’t make much sense which is the main problem here. When the awe factor of technology fades, which it has since the release of the original film 25 years ago, it’s really important that the script connects. Still, it seems like director J.A. Bayona is having all kinds of fun playing with the dinosaurs, whether manipulating the tone to resemble the beats of a horror film, unleashing a stealthy T-Rex to disrupt moments of tension, or simply using them as obvious vessels for plot movement, it’s aiming for fun with not much filler. That may be the perfect 2 hour time waster for some movie fans. 

Monte’s Rating

2.25 out of 5.00

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