Few movies have been able to match the magic of the vintage Jurassic Park—groundbreaking special effects, majestic action, memorable characters, and an unforgettable John Williams score, all combined for a cinematic extravaganza unlike any other. Although the Jurassic Park franchise has somewhat declined over the years—thanks to some below average sequels—the original remains, to this day, the gold standard for any monster movie.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is the fifth entrant in this storied franchise. This one ventures outside the now familiar “forest island” setting that has become synonymous with Jurassic Park. The second half of Fallen Kingdom is instead set on the premises of a sprawling mansion. However, despite the attempts at originality and some decent action setpieces, the movie is bogged down by a script filled with every cliché in the book—boring dialogue, and generic one-dimensional villains.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom begins much like the original Jurassic Park—disposable workers being torn to death by terrifying dinosaurs at night. This is the first of the many hat-tips to the original, sprinkled throughout the movie. The main plot follows the events of the previous movie as the world comes to realise that there is an active volcano on Isla Nublar which is threatening to wipe out all the dinosaurs. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the former park manager of Jurassic World, now leads a dinosaur rights group. Summoned by billionaire Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and his suave associate Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), she leads a mission to rescue the dinosaurs from their imminent death and safely transport them to a new sanctuary where they can roam free from human interference. After a little persuasion, she manages to steal macho Raptor handler and former love interest, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), away from his log-cabin building enterprises to join her on the expedition.
On the island, we are treated to some classic Spielbergian “Jurassic” shots—the main character seeing a dinosaur for the first time in all its glory, and the now repetitive 'character running away from a stampede of dinosaurs' shot. Despite this, there are some nice action setpieces, and, on the whole, the plot is tied well to the previous movie. When some of the dinosaurs are consumed by the lava from the volcano, we feel a sting of sorrow for the creatures who have been with us for so many years.
The second half is when the movie diverges from the normal Jurassic World formula. The story, mainly due to a sub-par script written by Colin Trevorrow, feels far too outlandish on many occasions. Director J.A. Bayona’s horror sensibilities and crafty camerawork are the only things that keep the movie afloat. The dynamic cinematography and riveting score are the only saving graces in the second half. There is one particular reveal in the second half of the movie that is completely unnecessary, seemingly included only for cheap shock value. The finale, masquerading as an epic faceoff, is frankly a little underwhelming, as we have seen the same sequence play out in many of the previous iterations.
As for the characters in this movie, we have Chris Pratt, basically doing his best impression of Chris Pratt, and Bryce Dallas Howard, your run-of-the-mill, garden-variety female lead. They are unremarkable in the roles. The new characters, however, are far more in the hit-or-miss category. On the good end, we have Justice Smith, a computer technician whose “fish out of water” moments were generally humorous and well enacted. There is also Maisie Lockwood, who is the young girl in the movie. Although her story in the movie is terribly written, with some pointless reveals, the actor who plays her does a good job and she could have used some more screen time. On the flip side, the main villain Eli Millis is your typical incompetent greedy businessman who tries to exploit the main characters. His character is extremely one-dimensional and follows every single bad guy cliché.
Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom will go down as yet another competently made, yet uninspired addition to the long line of movies in this cinematic universe. Although lacking the magical realism that the first Jurassic Park movie so expertly captured, it is still, on the whole, a reasonably enjoyable experience.
Film: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Director: J.A. Bayona
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell, Justice Smith, Jeff Goldblum
Rating : 3/5