Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review

In its attempts to play up in the clouds, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom falls right on its face with a ridiculous and unbelievably dumb plot. It’s jarring for both long-time fans and average moviegoers and is an entry that many will even believe doesn’t belong in the franchise.

Three years after the event of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom brings us back to a world where dinosaurs are on the verge of extinction once again due to a volcano eruption. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), now the leader of an activist organization to save the dinosaurs, is asked by an eccentric billionaire, Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), to help find a group of soldiers bring the dinosaurs to a new island. But she knows she can’t do it alone so enlists the help of Owen (Chris Pratt) to find Blue, a velociraptor Owen trained at Jurassic World. However, once they make it to the island, deceitful soldiers cause big problems as they also attempt to escape the island before the volcano erupts.

One of Fallen Kingdom’s biggest issues is that it asks its viewers to care and understand everything their plot is trying to make sense. It wants us to have a say in the debate the film attempts to strike up on whether or not the dinosaurs should become extinct again, but never gives us enough of each side to make us feel involved. The film also seems to have its own opinion anyway as it only gives us the idea of dinosaurs becoming extinct again from a short and shameless cameo from Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm.

And sadly, his arguments has way more substance to it than the other as Claire and Owen are never convincing with them wanting to save the dinosaurs. Claire has never come off as exactly loving the dinosaurs back at Jurassic World, so it’s a little odd to see her suddenly change her whole personality to fit the film’s plot. She is clearly supposed to be the leader in the film’s argument to save the dinosaurs, her motivations are never really becomes clear.

 

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Claire is meant to be more cowering than courageous in Fallen Kingdom. Thus only perpetuating the “damsel in distress” trope. PHOTO: NPR 

 

She is no longer the strong character than some might remember her being as her character is clearly just there to give Pratt’s Owen a real love interest. She has turned into a total “damsel in distress” and viewers will feel like her relationship with Owen is incredibly forced and very unnecessary.

Owen being back, sadly, isn’t much better as the writers also seemed to forget what his character was like in the previous film. Viewers will feel like this new Owen has more in common with Marvel’s Star-Lord than the Owen they knew from Jurassic World. Pratt also does his character no favor as he is clearly “phoning it in” with his performance in this movie. In all honesty, Pratt and Howard seem like they don’t really want to be in the movie and their previously established chemistry seems totally gone.

The film also asks its viewers to care about a sub-plot that is established with Cromwell’s Lockwood and bleeds way too much into the main plot. In the beginning, they attempt to retcon, retroactively establish new continuity, that Lockwood is strongly connected to John Hammond and the creation of the original Jurassic Park.  This is a lot for the filmmakers to ask fans to swallow and accept and his plot never really makes sense in the overall story. Not to mention, there is an insane plot twist with his grand-daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon) that is incredibly laughable and dumb.

The rest of the cast is filled with uninteresting and trope-filled cartoon characters that are led by Justice Smith’s Franklin. The character is clearly meant to be the comic relief, but becomes incredibly annoying and unfunny as his routine of being afraid of everything becomes incredibly old really fast. The other characters also never really add anything to the plot and many probably wouldn’t even remember that they were even there.

 

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Viewers will never feel like this when watching Fallen Kingdom. PHOTO: pridepublishinggroup.com

 

The dinosaurs have also become characters in the film now as Fallen Kingdom’s special effects give the dinosaurs facial expressions and emotions. This effect works for the most part and it creates fun moments for audiences to enjoy. However, this effect can also lead to some odd moments that feel a little too cartoony for the serious moments the film tries to evoke.

Fallen Kingdom’s biggest flaw, though, is that it attempts to feel like a Jurassic Park film but only with the skeletal frame of what a Jurassic Park film is. The film’s opening captures what the films traditionally feel like, but this feeling and style is gone once the film dips into family drama. The action and suspense is constantly undercut by the film’s use of fake-outs to drive suspense but will only make viewers stop caring. It goes for a shock and awe ending over a satisfying one that feels a part of the story. The score is meant to be nostalgic, but more often than not feels shoved in and unfitting. Not to mention, it is constantly trying to make itself feel a part of the franchise by copying moments from the previous films. All of this only makes viewers realize even more that Fallen Kingdom only feels like a Jurassic Park movie because it has dinosaurs in it.

Disappointing doesn’t even describe the lows that Fallen Kingdom hits for the franchise. Its dumb plot won’t ever make viewers care and the only thing that Fallen Kingdom has remotely in common with the other films in the franchise is that they both have dinosaurs.

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