“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, B. D. Wong, James Cromwell, Ted Levine, Justice Smith, and Jeff Goldblum. Released on June 22, 2018, the film has Owen Grady and Claire Dearing attempting to rescue the dinosaurs from an erupting volcano.
The film is directed by J. A. Bayona, who also directed “The Orphanage”, “The Impossible”, and “A Monster Calls”. It is a sequel to the 2015 film, “Jurassic World", as well as the fifth installment in the “Jurassic Park” film series. Another weekend, another highly-anticipated sequel for me to look at. While “Jurassic World” wasn’t as well-received as “Jurassic Park” when it was released three years ago, its huge box office intake proved that the dinosaur-loving franchise is still going strong. I was one of the many people who enjoyed “Jurassic World” because of the cast and its amount of dinosaur-sized thrills and visuals that the film series is known for, and this latest installment looks like it will be no different. So far, it’s already performing well at the box office despite the film’s mixed reception from critics, but aside from all that, was it able to contain the fun and terror that made the original “Jurassic Park” film a classic?
The film marks a big step for director J. A. Bayona in terms of scale and budget as he is known for only directing moderately-budgeted films. He was tasked to expand the franchise and explore the themes that were introduced in “Jurassic World”, such as the dinosaurs being treated like regular animals, using genetics to play God, and using the dinosaurs for non-entertainment purposes. For the most part, he got the job done, but not without its flaws. The first half of the film dealt with Owen (Pratt) and Claire (Dallas Howard) trying to get the dinosaurs off of Isla Nublar before they become extinct (again), while the second half focuses on the main characters dealing with yet another genetically engineered dinosaur and the people who are plotting to sell the captive dinosaurs for money. It offered plenty of enjoyable, yet dumb, moments that you would normally see in a typical action blockbuster, but the story usually struggles in balancing its storytelling with its blockbuster tropes in the process. As I mentioned before, Bayona did a nice job at envisioning the film’s themes and its heart-pounding sequences, especially the volcanic eruption scene, but everything else somehow felt a bit flat compared to its predecessors. In addition to the two main leads making a return, the film also introduces some new characters, such as Justice Smith as the young hacker, as well as a couple of familiar faces from the “Jurassic Park” trilogy who only have minor roles. While most of the actors did their part in carrying the film forward, most notably Pratt, the other actors who are portraying the new characters were basically trying a bit too hard to make them as lovable as the characters in the original trilogy. Justice Smith was perfectly fine in his role, but in terms of providing some sort of humor, he was a mixed bag. Another thing that I enjoyed from the film were its use of visuals, especially the dinosaurs. Like its predecessors, “Fallen Kingdom” uses both CGI and animatronics to bring the different types of dinosaurs to life in order to maintain the franchise’s sense of realism, and I applaud the creators for keeping that trend going.
Overall, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is pretty much what you would expect from a film about people running away from dinosaurs, no more, no less. Its storytelling was a bit generic compared to its predecessors, but as a regular blockbuster, it was a tension-filled ride that’ll satisfy a few thrill seekers. It took me quite a while to generate my final thoughts on this film because even though I had a fun time watching it, I struggled to find the right words to describe the things that I enjoyed, the stuff that I thought could’ve been better, and my overall experience. All I can say is that the film is like “Star Trek Beyond”. A fun ride, but nothing too special. If you like the “Jurassic Park” films as well as “Jurassic World”, it’s possible that you’ll like this one, too.