Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018): 7 out of 10: The fifth in a series of Jurassic Park movies and the second of the soft reboot trilogy, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom borrows from both the second Jurassic Park film The Lost World: Jurassic Park and the Resident Evil series of video games. Owen and Claire (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard) are back as the bickering love interests set to rescue the dinosaurs from Jurassic World as a volcano threatens to destroy the island and make the dinosaurs extinct again.
Although very well directed (by J.A. Bayona) and with good special effects, the story fails this sequel as the premise of the film it doesn’t make any logical sense and the characters (particularly Pratt and Howard) do little to engage the audience throughout the silliness.
In all fairness, the first Jurassic World had a pretty flimsy premise as well. The idea that people are tired of looking at dinosaurs is laughable. I mean look at all the cruises to the Galapagos to see turtles, Antarctica to see penguins, whale watching tours to see well whales, or even bloody dog shows. A Saturday afternoon at an Everglades alligator farm will quickly put a lie to the idea that people don’t enjoy seeing dinosaurs eat chickens.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s premise is that we need to save the dinosaurs from extinction because the island they all live on is blowing up. The first flaw in this masterpiece is that there is another island far away from this one, also filled with dinosaurs.
Jurassic Park Site B island is not some piece of trivia. It was the location for both The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III.
Okay, so maybe the current characters didn’t know about this secret island on might say? Jeff Goldblum (who is wasted in this film, by the way) was the star of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. I would expect that during his congressional testimony, he might bring the other island up? Plus, it was the T-Rex from that island that ate San Diego. I don’t think it is a secret.
There really is a bigger problem with the plot than just the what about that giant other dinosaur island the film series is conveniently forgetting. The dinosaurs are man-made creatures (notice the lack of feathers and the fact the velociraptors are not eighteen inches in height and 33 pounds like the genuine ones were.) Which means we can just make more dinosaurs. We can make them any size and color and disposition we want. That is kinda the theme that has run throughout the entire series. These dinosaurs are not extinct if we can make more.
I like both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as actors, but their characters have no chemistry in this. Pratt leaves most of his charisma in his trailer when he tries to go full action star and Bryce Dallas Howard acts like she should be running a PTA bake sale. The two millennials they bring along on this trip grew on me, but a wiser script would have had them eaten.
The relationship between Pratt and the velociraptor Blue in this film also has some issues. They took away the Blue may turn on Pratt angle from the first Jurassic World and retconned her as an adorable pet. Pratt calls Blue the second most intelligent creature on the planet and she is the focus of the rescue. I am not buying it. Blue can open doors, is an intelligent and ruthless hunter, and responds to treats and laser lights. If the velociraptor slept eighteen hours a day, it would be my cat.
I credit the film for trying something new in its second half. Cribbing heavily from Resident Evil, Carnosaur, and the movie Taken of all things, the adventure in the mansion wasn’t what I was expecting when I saw the ads. (what I was expecting was giant aquatic dinosaurs eating surfers and yes I waited for the whole movie for that and yes I am still upset.)
The second half of the movie really is straight from the Resident Evil 2 video game, right down to the little girl who (I am calling it here) probably has velociraptor DNA. Honesty, it sticks a lot closer to the plot of Resident Evil than any of the Paul W. S. Anderson movies managed to. I love the twist. I just wished I liked the characters and the movie more. The opening bit with the guys trying to get the bone underwater in the dark and rain is excellent, as is the final montage (Where my surfer eating dinosaur finally makes a too-brief appearance.) The rest of the film is fun but somewhat disposable.