Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom shows all the promise of a sequel to a reboot of another franchise Hollywood is dying to keep hitting until it stops bleeding money, that being for me, not very much. I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of the 2015 reboot Jurassic World, but I was pleasantly surprised, it was a fun movie and kept me entertained, so I thought I would give it’s sequel a chance.
Yet, I was still disappointed.
To start off with, the first 15 minutes or so of the movie will have you believe that we will be following the story fo Claire Deering (Bryce Dallas Howard) and her hunky ex-lover/ dinosaur whisperer Owen’s (Chris Pratt) attempt to rescue the ‘assets’ from a volcano eruption threatening to wipe them out… again. With the help of benefactor Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), former business partner and friend of John Hammond, and his shifty looking right-hand man Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), they hope to move the dinosaurs where they will be able to roam free, uninterrupted by mankind. However, this is another film that has fallen into the hole of just giving away most of the movie in the trailer, so you will already know we’re being led astray. This failure to keep any secrets from the plot, as well as it’s undeniably predictable plot, gives away almost the only twist the film has to offer and has you just waiting for patiently for an event that will leave you unsurprised.
A problem I had with the 2015 film is that our hero, portrayed by Pratt, felt a little bland compared to our strong female lead portrayed by Howard. I will admit, there has been some improvement in that regard by playing more to Chris Pratt’s strengths, using the charm and humour that makes him so great as Star Lord in the MCU. However, he has seemingly now become a character without any weaknesses, after seeing him run through a pyroclastic flow and almost touch lava without harm, you just expect him to be fine after every situation and never really be in danger. You wouldn’t be surprised if he just ran up to a T-Rex and defeated it with a swift punch to the jaw, then followed it up with a smug little quip.
The rest of the cast is a myriad of walking clichés. You have the suit cladded antagonist who wants to sell the dinosaurs on the black market. You’ve got the unhinged expedition leader in charge of capturing dinosaurs. You’ve got the two trusty sidekicks, one is a genius capable of hacking every door in their way but is terrified of everything that moves, the other being the edgy activist that labels herself as a Paleo-Veterinarian despite having never seen a dinosaur. You have the old rich man whose trust is being betrayed, only to be discovered by his innocent nosey little granddaughter. That’s just to name a few and they act exactly how you imagine, every single one of their actions is just overtly predictable based on their archetype.
The premise of saving the dinosaurs in this film causes a slight shift in how we interpret the creatures. We are no longer in fear or awe of them, we are now forced to empathise with them and their danger, this is heightened by them now having a somewhat unique personality. However, most of the time they come off as goofy and you are no longer scared of these prehistoric monsters. This causes the tone of the film to become confused, most suspense-filled moments, for me, were ruined by seeing the actions of the dinosaurs in previous scenes. Add this to the predictability of the plot, the suspense is killed by just knowing that our heroes are going to escape this pickle.
The film ends with a clear setup for further sequels, which I have no doubt they will make considering the billion-dollar box office hit that Jurassic World. This left the movie with some loose ends, some information revealed throughout that just seems to go nowhere. Is this something that we are going to look back at? Throughout the movie, there are hints as to who the little girl’s mother is when this is finally revealed the result is just underwhelming, what was I supposed to do with that information, is it a setup for the next movie?
Overall, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom attempts to counter the dinosaur fatigue we may be experiencing by changing our perspective and putting them in danger rather than us. However what made the original Jurassic Park film so great was the combination of awe and suspense created by these natural predators, Fallen Kingdom just doesn’t seem to have that magic anymore. Pair this with a predictable plotline and clichéd characters you end up with an overall pretty boring film, that’s attempts at suspense fall short due to the goofiness of the dinosaurs. However, the CGI is truly amazing and lifelike (I guess that’s what comes with $170 Million budget), and they do play more to Chris Pratt’s strengths as a fun action hero.