Just because a reboot to an iconic franchise scores $1.6 billion at the box office, that doesn’t mean we need a sequel. Case and point – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Isla Nublar is on the verge of an impending volcanic eruption. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) reunites with Owen (Chris Pratt) to lead a rescue operation and retrieve the dinosaurs. Things go further south when they’re double crossed and find that the operation’s financier Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) wants to auction the dinosaurs to arms dealers.
Five movies into the series and have we learned nothing about cloning dinosaurs? Have we not learned to avoid a dinosaur island? Have we learned to not bring dinosaurs home? Fallen Kingdom is a redundant sequel filled with stupid characters that make bad decisions.
Jurassic World was my first review on Donttalkaboutmovies and I found that movie great entertainment. The jokes were funny, the characters were fleshed out, and it had a dumb B-movie spin that embraced the sci-fi, disaster, and monster genre tropes. Fallen Kingdom is a misfire. Underdeveloped characters screaming every five minutes isn’t funny or compelling. However, director JA Bayona does embrace the genre tropes occasionally.
Fallen Kingdom is beautifully shot and filled with some terrific visuals, utilizing shadows. The opening five minutes is a thrilling homage to Jaws and Jurassic Park that features one of the funniest dinosaur kills in the franchise. Bayona understands dark humor, as there are a few more moments scattered throughout the film. Though, the praise for Fallen Kingdom is obviously minimial.
Between Boyna’s directing and Colin Trevorrow’s script, both are more concerned with paying homage to the first two Jurassic Park films than making their own film. After seeing callbacks to the T-Rex entrance and the velociraptor kitchen sequences in Jurassic Park and the dinosaur breakout scene in The Lost World, I wanted to scream, “WE GET IT!”
The filmmakers also can’t decide if they wanted to make an artistic hard sci-fi film, a B-horror movie, or a continuation of Jurassic World, resulting in severe pacing and tonal inconsistencies. There’s a human clone subplot that feels like a separate movie and pretentiously concludes to set up a third installment.
Performance wise, Fallen Kingdom is a mixed bag. Pratt and Howard both give serviceable performances and have decent chemistry. James Cromwell delivers a solid performance as John Hammond’s dying partner, but is shamefully underused. The great character actor Toby Jones has fun as a sleazy auctioneer, but I can’t tell if he was intentionally trying to do a Gary Busey impression.
We have one more Jurassic World film due for release in 2021. Afterwards, here’s hoping that producers listen to Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm and leave the dinosaurs alone.