MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’

Somewhat thrilling moments can't save this lackluster sequel.

Review by J.T. Johnson

DIRECTOR: J.A. Bayona
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Óscar Faura
WRITERS: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly
MUSIC: Michael Giacchino

In 2015, I actually enjoyed “Jurassic World”. I got to see a fully functioning park before everything went to hell, there was a formidable foe and the movie continued the idea of genetic manipulation. I also liked the two leads, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard).

That being said, I can’t quite get onboard with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, which starts off with having a lame subtitle that is easily forgettable. Despite this, the film does properly begin with the government questioning whether or not the dinosaurs on the island should be left to die thanks to the recently active volcano on Isla Nublar. I guess we’re going to forget that there was an entirely different island called Site B with plenty of dinos on it… moving on.

When the government decides to do nothing about the dinosaurs, Claire is contacted by Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell). He was John Hammond’s partner in the early development of the original Jurassic Park. He has decided to fund an effort to retrieve the dinosaurs and put them safely on a new island.

Claire convinces Owen to help her due to the fact that Blue, Owen’s velociraptor from the original “Jurassic World”, is still alive. Once there, though, they quickly learn that Lockwood’s right hand man Mills (Rafe Spall) has completely different ideas about what to do with the dinosaurs.

The movie is two hours long and for the first half hour, Claire is getting ready for the trip back to the island. For the next thirty minutes, we spend time on the island while Owen tries to track down blue with the threat of the volcanic eruption. For the last hour of the film, we are back at Lockwood’s mansion for a pretty exciting third act until you realize that there are way too many plot holes even at this point.

There is plenty of action in the movie and it is somewhat thrilling, but it never quite matches what we’ve seen in previous films. Even as I’m writing this review mere minutes after having seen the film, I’m having a hard time remembering anything specific standing out. The problem is that I’ve seen most of the good parts in the trailers and even this film’s story was ruined if you’ve watched enough of the marketing preceding the film’s release.

Pratt and Howard do good jobs once again as Owen and Claire, but I didn’t really like how they turned Claire’s character into something different than what she was in the first “World”. If I recall, she was a pretty aloof business woman who was more concerned managing the park than she was about the dinosaurs. In this movie, she acts like she’s been in love with them the whole time and even gives a speech about how wonderful it was to see dinosaurs for the first time.

It goes without saying that if you didn’t like “World”, then you are not going to like “Fallen Kingdom”. They even continue the whole weaponization subplot for using dinos as weapons. Even though I liked “Worlds”, even I thought that they could have done without that particular story thread and it’s just as unnecessary here.

The movie is already making millions overseas and will do enough healthy business here to warrant the already promised “Jurassic World 3”. When they do make that inevitable sequel, here’s to hoping that they can make something better than this, because right now, even I’m feeling that the franchise may have finally run its course.

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