Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom roared into theatres today and I was summarily disappointed.
This is a sequel to both 2015’s Jurassic World and the 1990’s Jurassic Park franchise, and while it tries to be a film unto itself it ultimately ends up being a botched together montage filled with references to the best bits of the previous films. The film sees Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing teaming back up with Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady in order to rescue the doomed dinos about to be wiped out by Volcanic explosions from Isla Nublar. They are ostensibly helped by Mr Mills, executor of the estate of Benjamin Lockwood, John Hammond’s retconned silent partner in his genetic ventures. I say ostensibly because even if you haven’t seen the trailers you would have been able to see Mill’s villainous twist a mile away.
The film starts out strong, with a Mosasaurus Laguna breakout that has been 3 years coming. A scene that could have provided some excellent story beats, but ultimately was wasted potential in a film that was full of similarly wasted moments. The performances were fine, with Pratt and Howard still having the same will they won’t they chemistry as from the first film, and the new actors are also good. BD Wong’s portrayal of Dr Henry Wu was particularly notable, as it is great to see a side character evolve into the overarching villain of the series.
Speaking of villains, Mr Mills takes quite the turn when he smothers Lockwood with a pillow and leaves his body to be discovered by Lockwood’s cloned daughter. This is presented as a big twist, but I don’t think I am alone in saying it wasn’t particularly hard to figure out with the way they telegraphed it.
The new big bad of this film is the Indoraptor, a raptorised version of the Indominus Rex which is described as being more intelligent and deadly than its prehistoric predecessor, but it also seems utterly incompetent. The one thing I can think of that showed its potential was when it lured the Roland Tembo knockoff into its cage and killed him. This would have been impressive, if the dino had not essentially smiled at the camera when pretending to be unconscious. It also dies fairly easily, being impaled on a Triceratops skull fossil which was also telegraphed heavily.
The villains are all one dimensional, with not a single noteworthy trait in any of them. They all just seem to be ripped from previous films in the franchise. Mr Mills is essentially Gennaro and Ludlow hybridised, the vague hunter guy is as mentioned previously, just a Roland Tembo knockoff, and Henry Wu seems to have gone insane just for pure ego.
The film is also slightly grim, with the deaths of the dinosaurs being shown in a monumental way that displays how real and deserving of rights they are. The film is also repetitive with the same bait and switch technique being used by the characters multiple times. I mentioned how the Mosasaurus could have led to better plot points, and I think that if this film had been more about trying to recapture dinosaurs loose in the world while dealing with a hybrid loose in a city it would have been a far more interesting film.
Fallen Kingdom does not violate the Jurassic franchise, its problem is quite the opposite in that it manages to hit all the right beats of a Jurassic Park film, but ultimately feels like a hollow, pithy jaunt through a ‘best of’ montage of the Jurassic Park franchise. I am not at all excited for the next entry, as I feel that they have completely missed the mark with this film and I am not interested to see where they take it next. There was so much potential for both an awesome film and a strong addition to the Jurassic Park franchise, yet they took that potential and wasted it. They were so focused on baiting out a sequel instead of making an interesting, entertaining film that they lost their way. Granted there were a few curveballs, such as Mill’s suffocating Lockwood, and the Ian Malcolm cameo was also nice, but ultimately they could have done so much more.
Verdict: Overall I would give Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom a 6.5 out of 10, for not being a bad film but also not being anything exceptional or worthy of the Jurassic Park/World name. I think Ian Malcolm put it best when describing this film, “They were so preoccupied with whether or not they could they didn’t stop to think if they should”.