The dinosaurs return, the science experiment that has gone wrong numerous times, you would think that people would get savvy to the idea that dinosaurs shouldn’t really be brought back from extinction, but what do I know?
After the collapse of Jurassic World on Isla Nublar, the island is on the verge of blowing itself up through the active volcano on the island. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) return back to the island to save the dinosaurs funded by one of the original minds of Jurassic Park. While trying to save the dinosaurs, they are betrayed and the company that are funding the mission don’t want to save the dinosaurs but to use them as weapons.
Anytime a ‘Jurassic Park’ film is released, it is an event. The brooding brass section of the Jurassic Park soundtrack, the wonderment of the dinosaurs and the pure adventure makes these movies a measure of pure spectacle. This film makes me hate being somewhat of a critic of films but I went to see this film with my partner and she was grinning throughout. Where she was grinning I was picking apart this film. This was a film of spectacle, style over substance and for some this will not satisfy.
This is far from Jurassic Park, it is not as grandiose or as breathtaking but maybe it is unfair to try and compare to one of the greatest films of all time. I remember watching Jurassic Park as a kid, it made me love dinosaurs. The reveal of the Brachiosaurus, the T-Rex car scene and the deadly velociraptors. It was like a child had made a film with his toy dinosaurs. It was the closest you can get to a perfect summer blockbuster. The issue is that anything that follows it will pale in comparison. I sat there watching the film just saying to myself that this isn’t Jurassic Park.
The magic and wonder of Jurassic Park isn’t there for this film. As a viewer we are lambasted by CGI, that in today’s cinema you really need to do something spectacular to amaze the audience; Fallen Kingdom fails to do that. The film hardly spends any time on the island and mostly stays within one house. They attempt to create new dinosaurs for a new audience to love but they all look the same and at times couldn’t tell which dinosaur was which. There is only so many variants of a T-Rex/Velociraptor breeds you can get away with. The T-Rex is still the most feared of the dinosaur and I don’t understand why they don’t use that fact to their advantage.
Chris Pratt is a good Chris Pratt but that is really all he is, he is more fun when he has Marvel behind him and Bryce Dallas Howard is also good but it is a shy away from Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill and Laura Dern. The film is also in the shadow of Jon Hammond, who is referenced throughout the film. None of the characters have great chemistry and lacks the charm of the original characters. There is a small cameo from Jeff Goldblum but it stays as a small cameo. I had fun watching this film but it did lack that magic and adventure that is so key to this franchise. Jurassic World had its flaws but a whole new park and some amazing action pieces it was a great fun adventure. Fallen Kingdom has some good action pieces but lacks that adventure.
However, some of Fallen Kingdom greatest moments was it’s most intimate, the scene with the new dinosaur within the house creates some really good tension. It mirrors the kitchen scene with the velociraptors in Jurassic Park. The last act of the film becomes a pseudo-monster horror film. Also when the volcano explodes on the island the whole scene of the stampede of dinosaurs was thrilling to watch and created some heavy and emotional scenes seeing these dinosaurs trying to escape death. This film has some great moments that made me forget about the critic inside. I was able to put my brain at the door for moments throughout and the film had its moments but for me that is all it had.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a film of spectacle, a true sense of the metaphor of leaving your brain at the door. These films will forever live in the shadow of Jurassic Park but where Jurassic World had some magic and charm, Fallen Kingdom lacks this. It was a film that had its moments, I jumped out of my seat, I smiled and laughed at bits but I sat there and I didn’t feel any magic or adventure. There was a small glimpse of this on the island but that is all it was. I enjoyed more than I thought from the trailers. I wasn’t overwhelmed or underwhelmed. It begs the question if whelmed is actually a valid world to describe this film. This film was fun but it did not have the magic that this franchise has grown accustomed to.