Chris Pratt in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Movie Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) *Close. The. Park.”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the first film in the Jurassic series to try to break away from the franchise’s format.  All of the previous movies essentially consisted of dropping humans in a dinosaur environment.  The Lost World (or “Dinos eat San Diego”) played a little with this in the least entertaining part of the second film, and it is the film Fallen Kingdom resembles the most.  While I give it kudos for trying to do something different, there’s little else to laud in the latest summer sequel to underwhelm.  Fallen Kingdom is burdened with a truly awful script from Colin Trevorrow and serves as little more than a pothole infested bridge from Jurassic World to 2021’s Jurassic World 3.

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

(Spoiler Warning)
Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the events of Jurassic World.  Isla Nublar, site of both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, is facing a catastrophic eruption from its volcano that threatens to wipe out the remaining dinosaurs.  Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is working with a dinosaur rights advocacy group trying to save the animals when she’s contacted by John Hammond’s old partner about a rescue mission to the island to save the dinosaurs that will also require her ex-boyfriend/employee Owen Grady (Chris Pratt).  What, indeed, could possibly go wrong?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Colin Trevorrow, who directed the first film, wrote Fallen Kingdom’s screenplay.  Jurassic World relied heavily on nostalgia to work to the extent it did.  The follow-up is marked difference both in formula and tone.  It’s a darker film in the sense that everything is dimly lit and humorless, but it never succeeds in being either gripping or frightening.  The original Jurassic Park was Spielberg’s last great summer blockbuster and managed to mix intelligent thrills with genuine scares.  All of the sequels have been a mixed bag of cool moments in flawed films.  Fallen Kingdom attempts to staple a disaster movie first hour (Jurassic World: Isla Sploda) to a horror movie second half (Jurassic World: Dinosaur Infested Mansion Mayhem 2018) and fails to deliver the good from either genre.  The back half of the film seems like it’s trying to do an homage to the old Universal monster movies…but with dinosaurs…in a California mansion.  I have to admire the ambition, but it just ends up as misguided excuse to set up what undoubtedly is the plot of the third film (Jurassic World: Hangry, Hangry Dinosaurs Munch America).

Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The nostalgia well gets a less intense workout than the previous film, but in case you were hoping for a special cameo from the “Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear” rover rearview mirror…then you are in luck.  As far as cinema cameos from quarter-century old SUV mirrors go, it blazes new territory.  The legacy characters teased in the film’s trailers have next to no screen time in the actual film.  Mocking incredibly inept geneticist Henry Wu is usually one of the best parts of a Jurassic film, but he has maybe five minutes of screen time.  That’s a lifetime compared to the minute or so Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm gets.  Despite being the anchor of all the marketing, all he does in the film is give two snippets of Congressional testimony that’s fairly dry even by the standards of Congressional testimony.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

One of the most amazing things about the original Jurassic Park is how well the dinosaurs have held up over 25 years.  I still think they’re the gold standard.  Fallen Kingdom’s CGI dinos still fall short of the blend of CGI and animatronics employed in the first film and the confluence of them on the island and especially in the mansion really show the seams of the F/X work.  The scene in the first film where you see the brachiosaur for the first time and goggle along with the main characters embodied all the wonder and joy of having these animals come to life on the screen.  Seeing them auctioned off as weapons in a basement is just a depressing path to end up on from a franchise that has seemingly run out of tricks.

2.25/10



Jurassic World 2 Poster

4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) *Close. The. Park.””

  1. Some thoughts…

    1. Are the dinosaurs all really small in the second half of the movie, like velociraptors, or is the mansion roomy enough to accommodate larger ones? This is the only actual question I have, but it’s bugging me.

    2. So Hammond’s former business partner wanted to get into human cloning, and Hammond refused to go there, and it caused a schism between them? Are we to understand that Hammond was the judicious, responsible, clear-thinking half of this partnership? I think the world dodged a bullet when the two of them parted ways.

    3. The movie will kill overseas. Why give Jeff Goldblum an actual role? A cameo will be enough to get him into the ads, those ads will generate a huge opening weekend in the states, and presto! the rest of the North American theatrical run becomes an afterthought. Art? HA!

    4. They squandered the volcano. This series should end with the dinosaurs getting wiped out by a large-scale natural disaster.

    “God kills dinosaurs.”

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    1. No, the mansion is just Citizen Kane huge. The T-Rex is running around the fricking thing. Yes. Hammond was the reasonable one and the clone lets all the dinosaurs out of the mansion because “they’re just like her”…audible eye roll. I went with someone. I did not choose to go. Please, bring on more MCU because I’m very close to rage quitting film.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I was not planning on seeing this, and your review cements it. You and I, and indeed all of North America, really are afterthoughts to the people bringing us this movie. Of course the movie is bad… what does anyone expect when a movie tries to appeal to every human being, everywhere in the world? You get a homogenized, obvious movie, drained of all subtlety and uniqueness.

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