Movie Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The next dinosaur filled adventure has arrived in theaters with the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This installment in the franchise was directed by J.A. Bayona and again written by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. The film picks up three years later with Claire Dearing and Owen Grady being recruited to return to Jurassic World to rescue some of the dinosaurs before a volcano eruption destroys it. Of course, Chris Pratt reprised his role as Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard reprised her role as former operations manager turned activist, Claire Dearing. In addition to these returning cast members, Jeff Goldblum and B.D. Wong also reprised their roles in the film series. Some of the newer cast members include Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Ted Levine, and Isabella Sermon.
The film opens with a retrieval mission that goes awry on Isla Nublar in the ruins that was once Jurassic World. It is quickly revealed that a once dormant volcano is now active on the island, which has prompted the question of whether the dinosaurs should be rescued or return to extinction. Claire Dearing is now an activist for the creatures, actively campaigning for senators and political leaders to rescue them. Claire is soon contacted by Eli Mills, the right-hand man of Sir Benjamin Lockwood, who had once been John Hammond’s partner. Lockwood has acquired a remote island that can serve as a sanctuary for the endangered dinosaurs, but they need Claire to convince Owen to help them save Blue, as she is the last of her species. Once they get to the rapidly deteriorating island, though, they quickly learn that things are not all as they appear.
So, I think I should begin by saying that there were things about this movie that I genuinely enjoyed. I liked that Bayona incorporated a little more horror and suspense into this installment, which seems appropriate as we are dealing with some terrifying creatures. I think that they managed to redeem the character of Claire Dearing, who completely drove me insane in the first film. There were some unexpected reveals along the way, which I thought were masterfully crafted, and I even enjoyed several of the new characters. A lot of the action sequences were well done, and for a movie about dinosaurs, I thought there were some excellent sequences with said dinosaurs. There were even a few emotional moments in the film that impacted me, and part of that reaction is due to Michael Giacchino’s beautiful score that was written for this film.
Now, there were also several aspects of the film that fell short, especially after watching it a second time. The villains are one of the weakest parts of the film for several reasons. One of which is their motivations, which is something I did not expect to have a revival after the outcome of Jurassic World. I truly thought we were past the whole ridiculous idea that Hoskins pitched in the first about weaponizing dinosaurs, and it only added to the cartoon caricatures that these villains often seemed to resemble. Also, there were just aspects of the dialogue, the story, and character development that were weak, and I think it is some of the same weaknesses that Trevorrow and Connolly had in the first one. Now, I realize this is a film about dinosaurs in 2018, so I have no trouble suspending some believability while watching this; however, I also have a hard time with characters who very stupidly don’t close dinosaur cages behind them.
At the end of the day, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does not come close to touching Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park from 1993, but I would say that it lands among one of the better installments in the franchise as a whole. It is a story about dinosaurs, and I think that the sequences with these animals are beautiful and terrifying. I still love the background that they have created with Owen and Blue, who is still the coolest dinosaur around. There are several moments that will make you jump, and the score is magnificent. Plus, they tried to add some deep, thought provoking questions in this movie, and in doing so, they have set up what the third installment in this trilogy is going to explore. For anyone who enjoys a fun, summer movie that includes dinosaurs eating people, then Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is worth a watch.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.