Summary: Owen and Claire head back to Isla Nublar to save some dinos and then some.
Somewhere over the past few years, the Jurassic Park franchise became The Fast and the Furious– a really solid, likeable first outing, memorable action sequences, fairly grounded, driven (pun intended) by character dynamics. And then some dummy decided to make a sequel. Aaaaand another one. And another one. And they added a crap-ton of CGI, removed any interesting side characters that posed some real, honest questions to give more screen-time to star mugging, the same MacGuffins, the same plots, and the same thing over and over (Let’s go back to the park! Get the codes to the bomb!). (Thanks, Universal, also responsible for the similar Transformers series and perhaps Pacific Rim is on its way too. Cringe. This is a solid plan.)
While The Fast and the Furious has become… government mercenaries with MMA compadres (I dunno, I haven’t seen them), Jurassic Park has somehow become a B-action series that randomly throws animals together into some sort of hybrid-Franken-Dino, not too dissimilar from the stuff we used to make fun of on the SyFy channel. That’s right. Jurassic Park has become Sharknado. (I can’t take credit for that analogy and I forget where I saw it but I agree with it one hundred percent. Kudos to whoever wrote that.)
It says enough that the name of the bad dino in this outing is… an Indoraptor. That’s right. An Indoraptor, a stone’s throw away from Indosaurus and all found on the same page as “Unobtainium.”
I can’t lie- I was entertained by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. I’m fine with this kind of bad action, “crazy stuff that would never happen, but it’s happening” movie. I just don’t know when it made that turn. Last we left off, Jurassic World was trying to bring back the science fiction elements and those grey areas (failing miserably, I might add). It’s like they still haven’t quite figured out the whole reboot yet. Fallen Kingdom is unintentionally hilarious and implausible. Implausible in the sense of- I mean, I don’t go to these kinds of things for scientific accuracy. That would just be irresponsible of me. Implausible in the sense of dumb- there are a lot of whys and a lot of “what in the blue hell?” going on here. Why is this child randomly hugging this stranger and not the woman that she saw before that she knows is a good person? Why is this man unaffected by lava that is four inches from his face? How the hell did a truck land on a boat and no one heard it? How does the boat crew mistake a guy with the build of Steve Urkel for one of their own? How does Chris Pratt hop into the one delivery truck that doesn’t have a driver assigned to it? How strong are these walls that a dinosaur can run into it and it doesn’t cause the whole thing to collapse? Jurassic World has to be one of the most nonsensical movies I’ve seen in the theaters in recent memories.
Then there’s the whole other issue of just… a really bad script. You thought that “The park is gone” tagline was bad? Here’s some actual dialogue, when the crew lands in Costa Rica:
“It just got really hot.”
[head nods towards a volcano] “It’s about to get a whole lot hotter.”
It’s like it’s full of one-liners from 80’s action movies- and they’re not executed well and the same tropes are shown over and over again. The Indoraptor tapping its toes is fun the first time, and gets old real fast after. The t-rex roar? Happens at least three times. How much do things need to be overdone and oversaturated? It’s just not exciting anymore. Pratt, after finally having won me over in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Infinity War, is back on my “What are you actually good at?” list. It’s not entirely his fault- there’s little to no character development for anyone.
Listen, I would have loved to see a Pratt-centric story about how he was like, a dolphin trainer or something prior to the opening Jurassic World, got roped into raptor training, and had trouble distinguishing Blue from a pet, a pet from a scientific experiment, what have you, but it never goes there. And that’s fine. There are so many ridiculous movies out there that I fully enjoy but because they understand they’re ridiculous. What I’m saying is- I would have rather this movie go full out silly-willy-nilly over this false pretense of being more than what it actually is. Instead, Fallen Kingdom pretends to be a smart sci-fi movie by pretending to ask some of the hard morality questions hybrid-dino movies should be asking and play up the paternal themes. Really, it half-asses these things before cutting away to the action. The script simply isn’t strong enough to pull off the emotional arcs- saying something along the lines of, “Owen, you’re like Blue’s father” three or four times isn’t going to cut it. Having just recently viewed off two of the recent Planet of the Apes movies (reviews coming soon!) which were hugely successful in pulling off interspecies dynamics and asking allegorical questions, this is really hard to watch.
Also, there’s a whole other subsplot, side plot, whatever you want to call it about Hammond’s questionable partner Lockwood that just… doesn’t need to be there. The connection to the main idea of the movie is piss poor. I don’t want to get too far into it because 1> ugh and 2> no spoilers, but it’s entirely unnecessary and all of that time could have been spent elsewhere, like maybe trying to develop more chemistry between Owen and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) (seriously, that is lacking no matter how much they try to sell the relationship), or maybe even a shred more of Claire’s personality. I still have no idea who she is or how her mind works. And I’m not sure where the fallout of this particular storyline is going to go or how it’s going to play in the third part, but I’ll just put it this way: it seems like they’re trying to turn Jurassic Park into part Apes, part Logan, and part Resident Evil. That’s right. Resident Evil. And not the first one- the third one.
If that all seems like a bad idea, it’s because it probably is.
I think you could absolutely watch Fallen Kingdom for entertainment value. I did and I had a good time, giggles and scoffs and all. The horror elements are well done, there are some things like my Darth Maul dino that are fun, and there are some really creative moments in here. However, I think if you are looking for something like OG Jurassic Park, that asks those morality questions and speaks to human nature and motivations- don’t try and find that here.
Let’s all just hold our fingers and hope they don’t try and do a Fast and Jurassic crossover.