Director: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard
Review Author: Tony
The original Jurassic Park isn’t just held in such high regard due to its groundbreaking effects and Spielberg’s renowned storytelling, it’s because it seamlessly integrated themes of the hubris of man, playing god, the chaos theory and the dangers of corporate greed. It showed the consequences of scientific discovery bypassing moral questions and also threw in a bunch of dinosaurs tearing shit up for good measure. It really captured the sense of scale from Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name. No matter how solid the script for any sequels to the first film was going to be how could they effectively present these moral questions again without watering them down for further dinosaur thrills
Jurassic World was a pretty effective soft reboot for the series that specifically targeted our nostalgic bone and all but erased the memories of the god-awful Jurassic Park 2 & 3. It was by no means anywhere on the level of quality of the first but for what it lacked in intelligence it made up for in thrills and a walk down memory lane. It tried to implement it’s own themes of corporate and consumer greed as audiences demand more so the scientists turn to genetics to keep up attendance numbers but this neat little idea becomes undermined by the films zanier moments of order obeying raptors. It was a thoroughly entertaining popcorn flick that glazed over it’s stupider moments with exciting set pieces.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is set three years after the previous film where the park is no more and the dinosaurs roam the island of Isla Nubar freely (yet again). The United States Senate faces a moral dilemma as a previously extinct volcano on the island has become active again and threatens to wipe out the giant reptiles for good. Jeff Goldblum shows up in a glorified cameo (that is far overhyped in the trailers) and convinces the Senate that dinosaurs are not to be messed with especially when genetically enhanced. Unhappy with the senates ruling to leave the dinosaurs to perish, Claire Bearing (former park manager turned Dino activist) takes an offer from a billionaire and his shady companion to launch a rescue mission for the dinosaurs with the help of old flame Owen Grady.
Even with some pretty underwhelming trailers and a pretty daft synopsis, there was still hope for a quality film due to the man in the director’s chair. J.A. Boyana has solidified himself as a damn fine filmmaker especially after 2016’s emotionally devastating, A Monster Calls. In the case of studios snapping up these smaller directors for massive films, we’ve seen directors like Jordan Vogt Roberts and Taika Waititi put their own stamp on the film where we can clearly see they were in the driver’s seat. This is not the case for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Outside of a wonderful opening scene and tense third act that utilizes the gothic horror (seen in Bayona’s film The Orphanage) the majority of the film is set pieces glued together by a truly terrible script and some headache-inducing dialogue. The set pieces are entertaining enough but the sense of wonder has quickly evaporated from this series. Jurassic World at least had nostalgia and a 15-year gap from Jurassic Park 3 to help overlook some of its failings in logic but Fallen Kingdom will have even the most engrossed audience members saying “Wait a damn second”.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 Guinness