Following on from 2015’s great reboot on the classic Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom delivers some fantastic set pieces, but is ultimately let down by a bland and boring script.
When Jurassic World was released in 2015, it did exactly what everyone thought it would do. It remade Jurassic Park in a modern era, upped the steaks, made the dinosaurs bigger, and honestly did a pretty good job of it. A sequel was obvious and so here we are, the second of three new films in the series. What Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does well is continue the legacy of the old films. Unfortunately, I think that also means that it hasn’t added anything new to them.
The story takes Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) back to Jurassic World to save the dinosaurs after a volcanic eruption on the island threatens them to extinction again. Naturally the action pieces are phenomenal, with stunning CGI and brilliant sound design creating vast and exciting moments. The eruption sequence provides particularly thrilling action, which is quickly followed by a tense underwater scene appearing to have been filmed in one shot. Surprisingly there are also many poignant moments, with one scene actually getting me to shed a tear. The theme of animal rights and whether dinosaurs deserve them is a refreshing take on a modern issue, and serves the film well.
However, what lets the film down is its bland script and bog-standard character types. While Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are endlessly watchable, many of the other performances were unoriginal and dull. I was particularly surprised that Rafe Spall’s character was underwhelming, considering he is being played by an actor of his caliber. The character checklist includes the angry army man, the rich megalomaniac, the awkward tech geek providing comic relief, and all this is probably down to a weak script that required those character types to drag the film along. There were several moments in the film that I thought were as ridiculous as the false teeth and hair worn by Toby Jones’ character, and I felt they were purely there for the sake of a set piece rather than to aid the narrative. While a fantastic intro hooks you into the narrative, the first act totally loses you again as they fall into way too much business and nowhere near enough dinosaurs. Not only this, but I didn’t feel the ending packed enough of a punch to satisfy me, and I wasn’t nearly as gripped this time as I was during the finale of the previous film.
Overall then, this film feels very much like the dragging middle part. It concludes plot lines of the first one while very much setting up the plot for the third one. While the film is certainly an entertaining popcorn blockbuster, I felt it falls down when compared to its predecessor.
Also, I’d like to get #wherewasjeff trending. Goldblum was dragged in for two tiny monologues purely so they could be used as a narration in the trailer. What a waste of an actor like Goldblum, I only hope Dr Malcom returns for a much better part in the third installment.