So here we are three years after we got Jurassic World. Jurassic World was advertised the hell out of and was really heavily promoted given that it had been several years since another one of these films had come out. With the films now coming full circle it meant there was a reason now to keep going with these films, the last one had been a massive success and with that in mind there was a tonne of reasons to keep this franchise going, the ending of the film did hint at a sequel, but that’s is all it was, the thing was I wasn’t actually sure how they were going to do a sequel with the ways the franchise is left it really makes you wonder what the plan. Well fortunately some plan was put in place or unfortunate from a certain perspective, and now we have Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, however we have a new director this time, gone is previous director Colin Trevarrow who was meant to be working on Star Wars episode 9 although has since left the project and in is JA Bayona a director who comes mostly from horror backgrounds, his biggest successes being The Orphanage and the Monster Calls. The fact of the matter is though when I heard he was directing this follow up I actually thought he was an excellent choice since the Jurassic Park films always had a horror element to them and I thought with his work on a Monster Calls he could meet the criteria needed.
I have already gushed about how much I loved the original Jurassic Park and it is in my top ten favourite movies and I even reviewed Jurassic World three years ago for this site so if you want my full thoughts on that film you can check that out. But here is the question how does Fallen Kingdom stack up now that we have had a lot less of a time gap between sequels? With all of the other Jurassic Park films there has always been a considerable gap. Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom is possibly one of the shortest time lapses between movies and believe me the mere three-year cycle really shows. I feel stupid giving a plot synopsis on Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom given just how much of the plot is actually in the trailers, but basically the plot is that the island from the last movie is about to go up in a volcanic eruption and they have got to get out and how Bryce Dallas Howard’s character is leading an activist group trying to get the dinosaurs off the island into a sanctuary which is being headed by a guy called Eli Mills who is played by Rafe Spall.
They go to the island in the hopes that they save as many species of dinosaur including, but mainly, blue the trained velociraptor who was trained by Owen Grady who was played by Chris Pratt and again if you have seen the trailers you will know their intentions aren’t exactly how should I put this, good intentioned and the dinosaurs end up getting brought back to mainland America for an auction which includes a newly genetically bred dinosaur, the Indoraptor.
Honestly, it may sound like I have described too much of the plot but believe me there is virtually nothing in trailers that wasn’t in the final film. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has to be one of the most painful examples of a film which it told entirely through its trailer, particularly the final one which gives away way too many points of the plot, I was expecting several moments when it would surprise me and show something that wasn’t in the trailer, but it never came. In fact, there is so little of this movie that wasn’t in the trailer I am staggered that no-one has been asking for their money back.
That is not to mention the whole idea of animal activists trying to save dinosaurs is a plot from the Lost World, in fact this film borrows a lot from the Lost World to such an extent majority of the characters are carbon copies of the characters in that film. Rafe Spall’ character is virtually identical to the Ingen’s guy from Lost World and even the hunter is similar but at least in that one he was less of a cartoon character than this guy is.
Now I have commented that Jurassic World was the first where no main cast members return, and you may have seen the trailer where Jeff Goldblum reprises his role as Dr Ian Malcolm, good news you have seen all of it already he is basically wheeled in for that cameo and never moves away from that set. What is more his inclusion his entirely pointless you could have brought Sam Niel in for the exact same part and it would have made very little difference.
Now Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does start with a very interesting idea per say, the idea is that unlike the Lost World where it was inter corporate and military intervention threatening the dinosaurs, this time it is a volcanic eruption which adds a new extra level. Do we let these creatures that were never supposed to be around in the first place die out from a completely natural idea or do we conserve them and give them the same protections that any normal endangered species would receive, that is genuinely a good idea and has a chance to fix the problem which the Lost World had, although I think the film actually exacerbated it, the hard questions in this film are never treated like hard questions they are treated just like they have clear answers and that flies in the face of the original Jurassic Park.
The original Jurassic Park was about man playing god and the consequences from it, just how far can you go? And even with the best plans in place there is no guarantee that something won’t go wrong. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom doesn’t have that it is simply greedy humans wanting to sell the dinosaurs to anyone who will buy them, and the animal rights activists try to save them and also this film is so long, it comes in at nearly 2 hours and 10 minutes, that is way too long for its length. It is like as a result the film has to pad the run time with some of the most contrived excuses for set pieces. The original Jurassic Park did have to also come up with several reasons for us to see the dinosaurs but they did it in a much more organic way and in that sense it was designed to show off the revolutionary special affects which still hold up to this day, speaking of which the special effects were something I complained about the most when in my Jurassic World review saying that I wished there had been more reliance on practical effects over the CGI and that they had blended the two worlds together like the original film did.
If I am going to say something positive about Fallen Kingdom, at least it doesn’t do that, there are some genuinely quite good practical effects in this film and it is very clear with modern advances in robotics they have been able to really give these things an authentic feel. In fact, I actually think the effects are an upgrade from the original Jurassic World.
The film and the storyline are also phenomenally crap, what’s more the film has an air of a bad fan fiction as well especially with the element of the character of John Hammond who supposedly helped with the genetic research for the original Jurassic Park (who when you look at him is clearly doing an impression of Richard Attenborough and failing miserably). He is not in the film long enough and some of the revelations about him don’t seem to pay off since they don’t really mean anything in the long run. In fact, the plot twist which may seem shocking at first but until you really step back and realise it is absolutely meaningless.
The plot really relies on some of these characters acting in some of the dullest ways fashionable and in some of the most contrite scenarios, the lead auctioneer for example is played by Toby Jones who I am convinced is trying to take over from Alan Rickman as that British actor who always plays the villain stereotype and he fails miserably. What’s more the acting across the board is pretty dire but I think that is more down to the poor direction and the direction of the bad script, though I will say I think Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard still have a very good chemistry together. And also, the only other returning cast member other than Jeff Goldblum is B D Wong who is reprising his role from the last film and whilst his role has been slightly expanded it is not just as much as I was expecting.
I think this film was pretty insulting throughout its run and had a real lack of likeable or even smart characters which the first film did quite well, while the only reason the dinosaur’s got the upper hand in the film is that some people got in way over their head. With this film it is kind of the opposite but what’s more it has outdone the Lost World by having one of the dumbest ending I have ever seen, it actually looked like it was going for a quite mature response to the topical question and I actually thought for a brief moment that it improved my thought of the film and then they “copped out” what’s more the dinosaurs feel like they have been really castrated of their majesty, oh sure, we get more of the T-Rex this time which is brilliant! but the dinosaurs have also had their majesty reduced in similar other ways, what’s more the Indoraptor which had been made from the DNA of the Indominus Rex from the last movie feels even more like a Frankenstein monster than the Rex was, and it does make you wonder why these films need to invent a dinosaur. The worst example is the Velociraptor, these have gone from being one of the most frightening and dominant hunters in all film to your pet dog. I am not joking they really treat the Velociraptors like they are like a viable pet. There is virtually no sense of how dangerous these animals are that the first film gave out, and a lot of their intelligence is squandered.
I am not mincing my words here Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom is by far the contender for the worst Jurassic Park film. The film offers nothing new, doing several homages to previous films which makes you wish you were watching those films instead. In some of the worst examples is actually repeating shots and what’s more although the effects are somewhat improved the story is still written crap and most of the biggest moments are given away in the trailer and many of them are absolutely meaningless. The main point of the film isn’t really there, and the writing is appalling. The film offers a tough question but then proceeds to “chicken out” with it and is just one dull drag. I found the film to be a phenomenally poor film and it feels like the opposite of Jurassic Park.
Jurassic Park is at the end of the day a film about science gone wrong and the risks we take when we try to mess with the world. Fallen Kingdom tries to do the exact same thing but with half the effort, and I don’t want to blame director J A Banaya since I feel he was crippled by the studio process.
The film is set up to be another film to turn into a 2nd trilogy of Jurassic Park films but to this I say maybe it’s time to call it quits. On a plus side if they do go with a planned sequel I would have genuine interest to see where they would go with it, although considering I have not been a complete fan of Jurassic World or Fallen Kingdom I don’t imagine they will do that much with it. I feel that Fallen Kingdom is potentially one of the worst films of the year.
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