Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

 

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the events of Jurassic World. An active volcano on Isla Nublar has made things critical. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) leads a Dinosaur Protection Group that’s working hard to save the remaining dinosaurs. After the government refuses to aid in a rescue, Claire is approached by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) with a dino-life saving opportunity.

Lockwood’s proposal is simple: Go to Isla Nublar to help track the dinosaurs (they need her hand-print), Lockwood’s team will ship the creatures to a new island where they can roam free, but she must bring back the highly intelligent raptor named Blue- she’s the last of her kind. To get Blue, Claire must enlist the tracking services of Owen (Chris Pratt).

Owen, Claire, and two of her assistants (played by Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda) head to Isla Nublar to save a group of disorderly dinosaurs. As if herding dinosaurs isn’t tough enough, this all takes place during a volcanic eruption that’s literally sinking the entire island.

That part of the story is crazy and the rest of the movie is absolutely insane. Without spoiling anything it involves a double cross, Chris Pratt pretending he’s Leonardo DiCaprio on Quaaludes, a nosy child that scales buildings like Spider-Man, another genetically enhanced dinosaur that breaks free, a dinosaur breaking the 4th wall, and not nearly as many human casualties as expected.

A lot happens in the second and third act. So much that it’s almost impossible to digest. Once the story leaves the island, it takes on a very strange narrative about black market dinosaur sales. First, how is this even a market? The same group of people that would show up in the Hostel movies show up for this dinosaur auction. Second, everyone shows up to this auction in all black. Was there a group text? Is it a black tie criminal event? What kind of Noah’s Ark ship do they have that lets them transport that many dinosaurs? How do they all fit in these tiny cages? Even crazier, the dinosaur slave auction happens beneath a mansion. How can nobody hear 20 dinosaurs stomping around? It’s like Han’s Island in Enter the Dragon, but 1,000 times more devious.

There’s a ridiculous reveal that almost made me throw my phone. The reveal is so dumb, not just because its lazy writing, it’s because it makes zero narrative sense. If [insert stupid spoiler] is true, why are you wasting time selling dinosaurs? The [insert stupid spoiler] is way more valuable than dinosaurs, and it’s not even close. By that point in the story, I immediately wanted everyone to be eaten by a dinosaur. It would’ve made for a much better ending.

The dinosaur stuff is cool and easily the most interesting part of the story. Of course there isn’t enough it. The newly designed Indoraptor is terrifying and looks like something out of a nightmare. They take this terrifying creature and have it creeping through a little girl’s window like The Boogeyman. What a waste of a cool design. The few dinosaur moments are fun; all the human moments are trash unless they’re being eating by a dinosaur.

So much of what this movie delivers is a rehash of other Jurassic movies. Imagine the first Jurassic Park is a piece of paper. Let’s say someone copied it but the copy was all wrong. The image was off=center, it was smudged  and barely legible. That copy would be Fallen Kingdom.

Our buddy T-Rex saves the day numerous times. I’m still amazed a 32,000lb T-Rex can sneak up on people. B.D Wong makes another Cobra Commander style escape right as the villainous plans fall apart – that’s the most consistent thing about this franchise.

There’s literally a scene where a dinosaurs smells a gas leaks, realizes it’s in danger, and outruns an explosion like some 80’s action star. Yes, a dinosaur outruns an explosion. They might as well have the dinosaur with a machine gun, bullets strapped across its chest, and a cigar sticking out its mouth.

The biggest problem its the story being incredibly boring. Jurassic movies have one job: Be entertaining. Sadly, this film fails at consistently doing that. There’s not enough of the fun stuff and a lot of the stuff nobody cares about. Not to mention there’s not enough Jeff Goldblum.

In Jurassic World, Owen is a guy who uses his knowledge of dinosaurs to save himself and others. This time, he’s just a regular guy. His dinosaur knowledge rarely comes into play, so nothing interesting or fun happens with his character. It’s such a disservice to Pratt and his acting talents. The character Jurassic World began building could’ve been compelling; instead he’s just a sweaty lovesick guy in a brown leather vest.

For a film about cloning dinosaurs, Fallen Kingdom has zero of the DNA that makes the Jurassic Park franchise fun. It’s a waste of talent, cool dinosaurs, and ultimately a waste of time.

Grade: D+

 

Advertisements