You don’t really go into a movie like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with the hopes of getting a masterpiece. You just hope that it’s thrilling in all the ways that a movie like this can be. To some degree, I think we kind of get that in this instance, but there are also a couple of major problems that prevent this sequel from being as satisfying as it could have been.
In the three years since the luxurious theme park known as Jurassic World was destroyed, the dinosaurs left on the island have had to fend for themselves. This appears to be working in their favor, but the island’s dormant volcano is beginning to come back to life. In order to save the lives of those animals, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs and uncover a conspiracy in the process.
In our Jurassic Park/World movies, I think most of us tend to want our action to be sensational and/or astonishing whenever possible. In terms of Fallen Kingdom, we’re in luck because the action reaches those kinds of heights more often than not. There’s a consistent high energy through most of it that creates a sense of intensity that you would hope for in a film about large dinosaurs threatening the humans they surround.
As much as I loved the action we are a part of here, outside of that and the aesthetically pleasant Bryce Dallas Howard, there isn’t much else to like in this movie. That wouldn’t be an issue if most of the movie was overflowing with action, but that simply isn’t the case. Instead, we get way too much of the stuff no one came to see to fill the time up.
This isn’t just a problem because it’s bland, unnecessary, and finds its way back onto the screen throughout the film. It also does some damage because it dominates the earliest portions of the movie. There was a point where I was hoping they would just finish up with this stuff in the beginning just so we could get to the dinosaurs terrorizing humans, but they felt the need to keep the dialogue heavy scenes coming in hopes of setting up things that didn’t even really need to be in the movie.
That sucks because feature length films on this scale should have more to offer than that. What makes it worse is that “the story” isn’t anywhere near that deep in the first place. All of the stuff we get during these periods should have been greatly reduced so we could have stayed with the fun stuff more often. Since this doesn’t happen, Fallen Kingdom struggles to be anything more than serviceable.
At worst, handling it the way I suggested may have turned this into something similar to Jurassic Park 3. While that’s not a fantastic movie, it stuck to the basics and gave us a number of enjoyable moments in a short period of time. Doing this helps mask plenty of the weaknesses that come with having a weak/thin story while potentially amplifying the effectiveness of the strengths that a film may actually have.
People who enjoy Fallen Kingdom more than I did will probably love the crowd pleasing elements that it utilizes at various points in the film. There are times where things work out the way plenty of people will be expecting when it comes to certain characters and outcomes. Of course, that’s always important when it comes to pleasing the public who are looking to see this type of picture.
There’s also a cameo from Jeff Goldblum that many will like. I thought he would be in the movie more, but that isn’t the case. In reality, his presence is ultimately pointless, but some may just be happy to see him return to the role. I’m guessing these types of things being included might help in allowing at least some to get more positives out of this than I could. If so, Fallen Kingdom will ultimately benefit from these additions.
In spite of my complaints, I’m still excited to see the final installment of this trilogy. They were able to give us an excellent level of action here, but they just needed to wrap some good stuff around it in order to make the movie function the way it needed to. So while they failed to make this sequel something special, I realize the potential for quality and excitement is always there. I mean, we are talking about movies where dinosaurs wreak havoc in the modern world.
Director: J.A. Bayona
Bryce Dallas Howard
Film Length: 128 minutes
Release Date: June 22, 2018
Distributor: Universal Pictures
- Score - 5/105/10