Opening with an impressive $150 Million premier weekend, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom met all of my expectations – and that isn’t a good thing. That’s really unfortunate because this is a franchise that holds a special place in many people’s hearts. I walked out of the theater feeling that I was given a mediocre story with inconsistent characters, and a subplot that was really, really poorly fleshed out. But, hey – DINOSAURS! So it will continue make money.
Fallen Kingdom brings back the main characters of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) as well as adding heavy hitter from the original trilogy, Dr. Ian Malcolm himself (Jeff Goldblum). But I’ll warn you now – Dr. Malcolm’s presence is limited to just about what we see of him in the trailers, so don’t expect too much, (Spoiler?).
The cast is rounded out with the bumbling comic relief character in the form of IT genius (?) Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), the plucky female tough-gal in the form of Paleo-Veterinarian (which apparently is a thing now) Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), the mustache twirling villain without the mustache, Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine), and the youngest addition to the cast and the grand-daughter of the original co-founder of Jurassic Park – Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) who… who…. who I don’t know what the fuck she is all about.
While all of the actors did well with what they were given, the sad fact is that they weren’t given much.
The Jurassic World Story
In a post Jurassic World, well… world, Claire has gone from shrewd, no nonsense business woman to doe-eyed optimist with an agenda to save the world, (Or at least the dinosaurs in the world anyway) from a Volcano on the island that apparently no one ever thought would become active again. She is approached by a wealthy benefactor Eli Mills, (portrayed by Rafe Spall) who wants to help her with her agenda. He informs her that he has the resources to save eleven species – but most importantly to save the Velociraptor named Blue.
Blue is the last of her kind, and of course as we saw in the first trilogy, and as was reiterated in the first Jurassic World (2015), velociraptors are much more intelligent than we ever expected them to be – and Blue is exceptional even among her kind. Claire quickly informs Mills that they will never be able to capture Blue. To which Eli Mills responds, “We thought you might know someone who might be able to help.” Enter Pratt’s Owen Grady, who is now a recluse building his dream cabin with his own two rugged, manly hands. It’s now Claire’s job to mess that up by convincing Owen to go on this rescue mission to save Blue. But little do we know, (MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) the entity backing this expedition is being less than completely honest about their intentions.
Now if that brief overview of the film sounds familiar – it should. Theses are all elements from the previous films in the franchise. The wealthy benefactor, the reluctant park employee convinced to return, the dinosaurs in danger, a convoluted and awkward love interest, and RAWR! Even many of the visuals are taken right out of some of the previous films. While none of these things are implausible story-wise, the execution gives the film a heavily rehashed feeling. The relationships between the main characters feel hollow and any sexual tension between the leads is forced. The supporting cast is two dimensional and probably could have been replaced with any number of generic characters. And frankly the most meaningful relationship in the film seems to be between Owen and Blue – which coincidentally is also the most well flushed out in the form of flashbacks.
In my opinion it feels like the purpose of this movie solely to but the pieces in place for the sixth entry in the franchise – and that is just not enough to carry a film for me. It’s not all bad though, as there is one scene that is gut-wrenchingly emotional and nearly brought me to tears. Fallen Kingdom has it’s moments, but they are few and far between.
As much as I would like to tell you to skip this one, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is still a entertaining time at the movies if you don’t particularly care about expanding the lore or moving the story forward in any meaningful way. Also the special effects, sounds and score are a thing best experienced on the big screen.
Jurassic World is in theaters now. Have you seen it? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!