Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom looks great. If taken as a series of still images, some of which have an almost classical painting quality to them, it’s great. To look at anyway.
See what I mean?
But ultimately, it’s a hollow film. There are no new ideas, but rather a mish-mash of previously covered material across the 4 previous films. It’s like someone took all these varying concepts explored in the earlier movies, dumped them in a blender and turned it on. What came out was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. It also suffers from poor character motivations, clashing with established characterizations from Jurassic World before it. Everything feels retconned and awkwardly forced to fit with whatever it is they have planned for the inevitable next film. In fact, the one new idea they do introduce in Fallen Kingdom is totally out of left field and utterly ludicrous within the context of a film franchise about dinosaurs. The filmmakers suffer from the same issues they’re forcing into the films… the idea that basic dinosaurs are not good enough. They have to keep inventing new, crossbred never-before-seen dinosaurs who are bigger, meaner and even more blood-thirsty than the humdrum T-Rex and, yawwwwwn, Velociraptor (because these two fucking monsters aren’t impressive enough?).
And so the filmmakers introduce the idea of human cloning at the end of Fallen Kingdom. It’s a random question whose answer is two simple words:
This idea has no place in Fallen Kingdom, but plays like a post-credits sequence to tease the next film in the series.
The plot of Fallen Kingdom continues elements from the last film and goes all in. Bad guys steals dinosaurs, bad guys sells dinosaurs to more bad guys. Dinosaurs get loose. A common theme that has been run through the ringer at this point. But hey, at least in this movie, the dinosaurs only eat bad guys, so that’s a plus. For the good guys anyway. For the audience, it’s a total cheat and undercuts the dread and menace inherent in a story about giant wild animals free from empathy who are turned loose on their food supply. The cast is great, again, but mostly wasted. Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, but is relegated to the role of Chorus in a Greek tragedy. His scenes occur solely in a courtroom as he testifies before some official body whose point I’ve already forgotten. His lines are all thematic commentary the audience doesn’t really need. We get it. Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt have pretty good chemistry, but the filmmakers have decided to waste that fact by completely underwriting their relationship, which at the time of the film has devolved into ex’s. Also, in a broader sense, why even cast Chris Pratt in this film if you’re not going to take advantage of his talents? He has little to do in Fallen Kingdom, other than to run around and look ruggedly handsome. He has exactly one good line in the whole film. Such an odd choice to cast someone with great comedic timing and then hamstring that talent with stilted and sparse dialogue.
The only way I would have any interest in the next Jurassic film is if they go full-bore Planet of the Apes. Fast forward several years to a planet overrun by free-roaming dinosaurs, with humans an endangered species. I’d pay to see that. Otherwise, probably not.
I left Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comparing it to the most recent Godzilla movie that came out in 2014. It was exquisitely shot, but to what end? There was far too much focus on bland human characters and whatever the hell they’re up to and not nearly enough on the giant goddamn monster wreaking havoc across the planet.
I hope the filmmakers behind the next film, Jurassic Planet (or whatever they decide to call it) wake up to the fact that dinosaurs are fucking awesome all on their own. Lots and lots and lots of dinosaurs… is even better. You do not need more dinosaur-y dinosaurs. And don’t let a bunch of boring humans doing stupid bullshit get in the way.
p.s. We could have seen The Incredibles 2 or Hereditary instead of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Balls.