Release Date: June 22, 2018
Studio: Amblin Entertainment
Director: J.A. Bayona
Release Format: Theatrical
Running Time: 128 minutes
Whenever there is a ranking of amazing movies out there, Jurassic Park is sure to be up on the list. So of course such a classic of American cinema would spawn its own franchise, and of course it would be a fool’s hope to believe that all of them would be good.
The powers that be saw the Jurassic Park franchise sitting there unused, and decided that they could squeeze a few more bucks out of it- Jurassic World was born. The first entry was a cookie cutter remake- sorry, “re-imagining”, wouldn’t want to upset any fans out there. It was totally different from the original, except for how the park goes to hell instantly, and there are two kids to save, and the T-Rex saves the day.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom attempts to shed the stigma of just copying the original series by being unique, and definitely not copy and pasting a worse version of The Lost World. The film fails on so many levels I have trouble believing that this many people got together and pushed this thing out to the public.
The movie starts out with some dino antics right away, some shady characters are trying to retrieve a key item from the ruins of the Jurassic World theme park- and of course, things go horribly wrong almost immediately. This prepares the audience for the veritable treasure trove of bad dialogue to come with an amazing opening line of, “Don’t worry, there’s no way anything could be alive after all this time”. Since we wouldn’t have a movie if this were actually true, the audience just rolls their eyes at the literal wink at them and tries to get back into the experience.
Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is back, it’s years after the first movie, and she works for an activist organization that has made it its mission to save the dinosaurs remaining on the island. I am fully willing to buy that, these dinos are animals, and I would imagine that the animal rights crowd would be all over this situation. What I am NOT willing to buy, is how after tons of people were murdered on this island, how the military doesn’t have it AT LEAST on lockdown- with the more likely scenario being America swooping in and carpet bombing the entire place.
Anyway, the island’s once dormant volcano is now ready to blow, so the need to save these dinosaurs gets escalated to maximum right away. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum of course) makes a cameo and helps to convince the government that they need to let nature take its course and not step in to save the now in danger dinosaurs.
Claire meets with Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) who was John Hammond’s original partner in the first Jurassic Park venture. Lockwood wants to honor his deceased partner’s wishes, and save the dinosaurs so they can roam free. We meet the head of Lockwood’s estate, Ken “way too nice to not be a bad guy” Wheatley(Ted Levine); he explains the plan to send a large team to the island and save as many dinos as they can. The only snag in the plan is that they need Claire to go to the island to activate the tracking system still somehow operational. Oh, and of course Wheatley also needs Claire to go recruit her ex-boyfriend because he is the only one that can find and wrangle the last raptor alive, Blue.
There is an exposition-heavy scene at a diner where Claire has to try to convince Owen(Chris Pratt) that he has to come with her to save the dinosaur that he raised. She tries to pull on some heart strings, but of course Owen has nothing to say but some attempts at humor- sprinkled in between a half-ass explanation of how they broke up between the two films. They can’t be together, because otherwise how would they have romantic tension between the two characters? We all know that was the BEST part about the last one.
It doesn’t take long for this movie to veer into Lost World territory. Bad guys want the dinosaurs too, and our heroes(along with two extras for comic relief) have to escape the island as it explodes in spectacular fashion, so they can thwart the evildoers and save the poor dinos.
This movie is brimming with terrible choices by the screenwriter. There is a subplot with another kid, that adds nothing to the story besides a very strange “reveal” that is more confusing than shocking. I guess she is there to create some tension, but I didn’t feel anymore from her than I did from Owen or Claire being chased around. We have a high profile dino-auction where the bad guys make a whopping 100 million dollars, and they are very happy about it, when it surely cost that much for the expedition and all the research going on in the background…so I guess breaking even is nice? We have an enhanced super dino assassin, that is just plain terrible at its job. Finally, we have the two leads barely even open their mouths for the entire film, they seemed to communicate mostly in looks of horror or determination.
It’s usually a cliche to say that “the best part of this movie is when it ended”, but this time it’s true: the ending of this movie sets things up for an actually interesting and promising premise for the next installment. Really seems like they came up with this premise, and the only way it could make sense was to make these two mediocre movies to set it up.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has a few fun action sequences, but is otherwise bogged down by plot holes and a bad script. With the set up at the end, I am admittedly looking forward to the next one- maybe we will finally get to see a movie worthy of the original.
Verdict: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a bad sequel to the first mediocre attempt to breathe new life into the franchise, it serves as nothing more than a stepping stone to a hopefully better third installment.
- Dinosaurs are menacing as ever
- Ending sets up a cool concept
- Swiss cheese amount of holes in the plot
- Subplot completely pointless
- Bad guys can't do math
- Copies the movie before with yet another enhanced dino
Decades of video games and comic books have molded me into the nerd with a heart of gold that I am today. I can go full fanboy one second, and then gleefully play devil’s advocate the next- life is just more fun that way.