I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not all that enamoured with the Jurassic Park/World franchise. I like the first one and it’s still genuinely stunning animatronics work, and pioneering CGI effects, I wasn’t so much a fan of the second and third instalments, I found that the quality dipped significantly with each film. However, I recently returned to the series to see if the first Jurassic World caught my attention, and it must have done, because I subsequently booked to see its sequel, covered here.
Four years after the events of Jurassic World, Claire Dealing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) are recruited by a representative of one of the original founders of Jurassic Park to mount a rescue mission to save the dinosaurs who remain on the island from a catastrophic volcanic eruption, only to later realise that the dinosaurs are being sold on for nefarious means.
Fallen Kingdom is not above wallowing in the odd cliche in it’s run-time, and at its worse feels like it’s running through a checklist of cinematic cliche, but for all that, it really isn’t a bad movie.
I think the worst criticism I can give is that its plot is entirely predictable, most of the reason for this is its plot points were given away in the trailers, to a somewhat suspect degree, as you’ll realise when you watch. Its twists and turns can be seen a mile off by anyone with any foresight, and the villain’s reason for being so cruel is so flimsy it’s laughable.
Through all this though, I couldn’t bring myself to hate it, it delivers on its promise of dinosaur action and takes an unexpected, yet quite welcome, turn down Gothic Horror Boulevard in the third act that adds some colour to it’s cheeks. The excitement is phased out quite nicely as to not feel rushed, yet doesn’t seem to drag either.
Characters contrivances aside, the plot feels somewhat like a Frankenstein’s monster of elements from previous films; from The Lost World, we have the greedy businessman trying to profit from the dinosaurs and from Jurassic World we have the genetic mixing of dinosaurs, which I suppose is more of a running theme dating back to the original as opposed to ripped from the previous film, but it does feel like more of a retread of the last film in parts.
As mentioned a few paragraphs ago, the film takes a Gothic horror turn towards the final portion of the film, and it certainly delivers the jolt of energy the film needed, as suddenly there was a tense atmosphere, of desperately trying to escape a hyper-evolved being, it’s incredibly effective and very well directed too, there are some really incredibly impressive shots to be found in the final third, all of which added nicely to the series’ visual flair.
Speaking of visuals, the design on the dinosaurs is as polished as ever, especially in the close-up work with the T-Rex and the Indoraptor (the new big genetically-created Dino) for a series that pioneered visual design it’s nice to see that it’s still carrying the flag, so to speak, in that regard.
The main reason I enjoyed the first Jurassic World film was for Chris Pratt’s performance as Owen Grady, the ex-navy officer turned animal behaviourist. Pratt is an unquestionably charismatic performer and I find his ability to carry a film stunning, and with better material comes a better performance and he nailed the role in the first Jurassic World movie that made me eager to see more this time around.
Unfortunately, I don’t really like the character development he and Claire go through between films, the couple splitting up between films cliche is another that the film gladly slips into, and I never personally bought their chemistry as a couple the first time around, not to discredit either performer, I just didn’t feel a spark between them. I do prefer Claire’s character this time round, as she feels more rounded than before.
One final gripe I had is one I also had in the previous film, I found the child character incredibly irritating. Now, I’m not a fan of child actors, or children in general to be quite honest, it’s very rare I ever feel like a child actor has added anything to a film and here she just serves as a screaming mouth on legs, this must be a thing with Colin Trevorrow’s writing as I found the kids in the last movie annoying too, and they weren’t so much characters as plot devices, as is also the case here.
To sum up this sequel, it’s a fun few hours of dinosaur related thrills, marred occasionally by cliched characters and a predictable plot, seek it out if you enjoyed the last one, but I wouldn’t blame you if you waited for the Blu Ray release, but you could certainly do a lot worse, Jurassic Park III for example…