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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (5/10)
Director: J. A. Bayona
Runtime: 128 Minutes
I was a fan of the first Jurassic World movie, it didn’t do much to reinvent the fracnhise but I thought it was a worthy successor to Spielberg’s classic. From the trailers I already knew I wasn’t going to be a big fan of Fallen Kingdom, it’s darker, horror minded approach wasn’t sitting very well with me. I was questioning whether it would sit well with the wonder that Spielberg set the foundation for. A wonder that the first Jurassic World captured perfectly. I was right to be worried as sadly this was the movies biggest downfall.
Fallen Kingdom is set 3 years after the first movie and the park is now closed. Claire and Owen’s relationship didn’t work out, but this time she goes to him to ask for help to get the dinosaurs of an island that’s about to explode by an erupting volcano. What Claire and Owen don’t know is that the profiteers that hired them both are busy gene-splicing together another dinosaur, even smarter and meaner than the Indominus Rex from the last movie. Humans just never learn that splicing together dinasours will never work out well. Neither is bringing them to the city, which Lost World so thoughtfully showed us.
I have many more issues with this movie. As mentioned before I was never a fan of the darker approach this movie was taking the franchise in. I was worried it was going to feel out of place and not gel well with Spielberg’s style. Sadly they keep his style and the mixture of both tones don’t work, Fallen Kingdom trades in the large landscapes for a more claustrophobic setting. It made the movie feel more like your typical horror flick than a Jurassic Park movie, the characters were hiding in a darkly lit house whilst a monster walks around looking for them. Tell me you couldn’t imagine seeing that in a horror movie. It’s such a shame that the script doesn’t do anything to help the movie either. I loved everything on the island and felt that the story should have focused more on the dino rescue mission that goes horribly wrong. The writers seemed so disinterested with this part of the narrative and wanted to get through it as fast as they could and get everyone off the island. Unfortunately everything off the island isn’t very good.
My god are the characters just the worst. Claire and Owen are fine, Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt do good in both their roles. Although I do think Pratt is becoming quite a one note actor, all his best roles seem to be playing a silly, wimsy action hero. He really needs a good dramatic role to show of his true acting talents (Passengers doesn’t count). I hated almost every other character in this movie, Franklin was absolutely irritating, if you are scared of pretty much everything on the island and even the thought of a T-Rex frightens you then don’t go to the island. All the minor characters make such stupid decisions that it eventually gets painful to watch, stupidly leaving the cage door open to a new prototype dinosaur. There’s a scene Involving a women and an elevator that made my head hurt because what she does is that ridiculous. The characters are so bland and thinly written that all the actors do is look scared and run. Even Chris Pratt which I usually always like makes some dumb decisions. Because of the actions the characters do it makes it nearly impossible for the audience to care about any of them. I won’t spoiler it here but there’s a twist in the movie (If you can even call it that) that makes less sense the more you think about it.
Fallen Kingdom tries it’s hardest to make us care about the dinosaurs, although I personally didn’t care I can definetely say that the audience will get much more emotionally invested in the dinosaurs than the humans. There’s definetley a moral to the story about genetic engineering and how we shouldn’t mess with animals but it all gets washed away by the constant stupidity of the characters and the messy tone of the movie. I do appreciate that the movie gets it’s audience thinking, if something is created by man, does it have the same right to exist as something created by nature? The movie asks it’s audience this question at the beginning of the movie and throughout it’s runtime we question whether we think it’s true or not. The movies ending really doesn’t help it, it’s extremely stupid and if they just stopped and thought about what they’re doing (Much like Owen keeps telling them) then I might have had some respect for it. It’s obviously trying to set up the next movie in a big way and to it’s credit I do really want to know what direction the franchise will take with its next installment.
Overall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is one of the worst movies in the franchise. Is it as bad as part 3? probably not. Is it on par with Lost World? Maybe. Fallen Kingdom tries to give it’s audience are real hard asking question about genetic engineering and do we have the right to choose whether a creature lives or dies. I appreciate the movie for trying this but unfortunately it’s extreme lack of likable characters and poor mix of tones let’s the movie down tremendously.