Film Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

‘Fears of a rather unique take on the Jurassic Park franchise are swiftly rectified as it becomes a stereotypical run-of-the-mill dinosaurs attacking people film’

2018 in Cinema:

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Directed by: J. A. Bayona

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, B. D. Wong, Isabella Sermon, Geraldine Chaplin, Jeff Golblum

 

The sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World, which rebooted the Jurassic Park franchise into current day, sees Owen (Chris Pratt, Avengers: Infinity War) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) forced to return to Jurassic World under the pretence of saving the last remaining dinosaurs from a long-time dormant volcano which is threatening to erupt. However they soon discover they’re being double crossed and the dinosaurs are simply being saved to be sold on the black market.

At the beginning this film threatened to be an emotionally challenging and provocative film that engaged audiences in an actual debate on the life of dinosaurs (as they’re living creatures but they’re been genetically created), however those fears of a rather unique take on the Jurassic Park franchise are swiftly rectified as it becomes a stereotypical run-of-the-mill dinosaurs attacking people film. Which was disappointing.

While the film was a relatively fun ride, dinosaurs chasing people are always fun rides, the storytelling aspects to it were very poor. From the rushed debate on dinosaur lives to the extremely quick, and coincidentally timed, volcano eruption it set off a pattern of basic and/or confusing storytelling that littered the film. Why are there people buying dinosaurs on the black market? How did they even sneak dinosaurs into a large Californian estate? And how did they sneak them through any customs or border controls? Why does nobody have a phone? And towards the end why does nobody alert the police to a dinosaur’s escape? It felt like a set-up film mixed with the need to just have dinosaurs on the loose and came out a rather chaotic mess.

It also introduced yet another new dinosaur (there are apparently over 700 species of dinosaurs discovered yet these films constantly make new ones to out-do the previous film’s new dinosaur) and they give it a rather lengthy introduction as basically the scariest, most dangerous and vicious dinosaur ever known to man. A dinosaur that can be controlled by anyone and is relentless in its pursuit of its victim. Super fast, super strong, the ultimate designed dinosaur. So when it can’t catch up to a 10-year-old girl running down a corridor it is a slap in the face of us momentarily fearing it.

While storytelling issues plague this film (including a rather major reveal towards the end of the film which is immediately ignored thereafter despite the severity of the reveal), for the general audience that’s not what they’re going to see. These films are based around their dinosaurs and the action, and, for the most part, the film succeeds with that. While I disagree with the subsequent treatment of the new dinosaur, the Indoraptor, its design was very impressive. And some of the scenes with the dinosaurs suffering was beautifully and harrowingly told. One scene in particular shows the remaining dinosaurs left on the island dying, it was genuinely distressing to see. This came after the betrayal and the court debates on the lives of dinosaurs and it all worked so well (which adds all the more disappointment to see this potential be wasted). The relationship between Owen and both Claire and Blue, the Velociraptor he trained during the first film, is well told, harking back enough to the first film to appease the fans of Jurassic World but creative enough that you could have missed that film and still bought into it.

While the film is a fun ride, as always, it’s plagued by storytelling issues which are hopefully rectified by the next film. The action sequences are strangely done (a lot of the scenes are repeated three times from different angles which isn’t something you usually see) and some of them are quite farfetched (Owen jumping through a chomping dinosaurs mouth as it was waking, for example) but it’s still appealing to see and the soundtrack helps it along. I love the franchise and I love dinosaurs, but above all that I love stories being well told, and that’s where this film fell flat.

 

Personal: * *     Acting: * * *     Writing: * *     Presentation: * * * *

Overall Rating: * * ¾

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