Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith
Director: J. A. Bayona
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: It’s been three years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who’s still missing in the wild, and Claire has grown a respect for these creatures she now makes her mission. Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom makes one of the grave mistakes that trilogy movies should never make. That mistake is that every movie in a series should feel like it has a purpose. I never felt as if Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was anything more than a placeholder for the next movie to come out. While the effects and cinematography were nice, the story was just too generic and bland for me to enjoy.
The film follows Claire (Howard) in her attempt to save the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar from extinction as the volcano on the island has become active and is ready to erupt. After recruiting the help of former raptor trainer Owen (Pratt), the two head out to Isla Nublar with the assistance of a private company. After their plan goes wrong, it is up to Claire and Owen to make sure the dinosaurs are safe and that humanity is not impacted by the actions of the dinosaurs. Starting with the plot, nothing about it felt as if there was anything original or urgent about it. It felt like the same plot we have all seen in hundreds of action movies. The antagonist, Eli (Spall), fits every cliché that an action villain should have. His dialogue literally could have been, “I am a bad guy and I do bad things for money and power because I am a bad guy,” and we would know exactly as much as we did after a viewing of this movie. Speaking as someone who really enjoyed the original Jurassic Park, it is troubling to see a movie that was based on the ability to drive fear and suspense into the hearts of millions reduced to a generic action movie. Regarding the other characters, at least Pratt and Howard are serviceable in their roles. Pratt navigates the line between caring and comedic constantly while Howard does a good job of navigating the multiple ethical dilemmas that her character faces. Unfortunately, those two were teamed up with the worst characters in the movie; Franklin (Webb). Franklin is scared of everything, so naturally that makes him a prime candidate to interact with animals that would rip him to shreds. The issue with that is that we already have Pratt, who provides the necessary comic relief, and we have Maisie (Isabella Sermon), who represents the fear that these dinosaurs dole out onto people. So then what is the point of Franklin in the movie? He does not add anything original and only serves to annoy the audience. One of the other grievances I have is that one of the things most noticeable about the Jurassic Park franchise is that you could always count on one or two really intense dinosaur battles at some point. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has barely any dinosaur battles and the ones that occur are relatively tame. The Jurassic Park films are known for being these huge, epic scenes of beautiful effects, but this film is just devoid of these moments. Maybe if the film focused a little bit more on being an independent story and less about just being a stepping stone for the films that come after it, then we could have had something that came close to capturing the magic of the original movie.
Overall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not necessarily a bad movie, but it just fails to live up to the massive expectations that were set before it. You can only ride the success of the movies that came before you for so long until audiences start to catch on and stop going to see it. While I cannot see that happening to the Jurassic Park films anytime soon, hopefully these problems are fixed before the next film is released.
Overall Score: 5.5/10