Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

"Welcome... to Jurassic World."

This movie is an odd one, trying to stretch the genre to a new place. While they are to be commended for trying something different, it mostly fails in the attempt.

Starting with the good stuff: the cast is good all around. Bryce Dallas Howard returns as Claire, and is the primary lead of the film. Switching to sensible shoes, she takes an active role in the plot and serves as an anchor for the events of the film. She is also the emotional heart of the story, having been the most affected by the events of the last film. Chris Pratt’s character Owen also returns and is mostly the same as before, but instead of being the focus, he serves as mostly convenient comedic relief and the main action character for the big stunts and fight scenes.

James Cromwell and Ted Levine have supporting roles as characters that affect large portions of the movie, but end up without much to do. Daniella Pineda as Zia Rodriguez and Justice Smith as Franklin Webb were more prominent as the two scientists, and honestly, they were some of the better attempts this franchise has made doing these kinds of supporting characters. Isabella Sermon plays Maisie, the token child character, and does have some importance to the plot, but that plot element didn’t really work since it was strongly telegraphed and left us with totally unanswered consequences.

Somehow, some of the dinosaurs felt like unique characters with distinct personalities. This led to some engaging stuff on the island, and perhaps the movie should have stayed in that setting. While the final act of the film was fun in a way, it was sabotaged by its own need to branch out and not tell the exact same story again. The exploration of themes and parts of the world we haven't really seen before came across as incomplete and one-dimensional.

But the special effects, for the most part, were amazing. While the grand set pieces were very impressive visually, they lacked the same level of awe we felt since Doctor Grant fell to his knees in Jurassic Park. Yet they were seamless and gave the creatures a sense of life that sold the emotions and peril the dinosaurs experienced during the course of the film. One moment in particular actually made me a little misty; it had a brilliant use of music and cinematography to elevate the scene.

Where the film really fell down is with the villains. I won’t go into spoilers talking about who they are, but suffice it to say they weren’t really memorable or exciting and felt almost superfluous, added simply to create artificial conflict. Most of their actions were also very predictable, and their fates equally as predictable. The only real stand out for me was the obligatory dinosaur baddie, which again I won’t spoil but dominated a good chunk of the final act of the film. The dinosaur special effects really showed how far things have progressed technologically in the years since the original.

Ultimately, the movie was uneven, overly plotted and occasionally dull with some shining moments of spectacle and character. In other words, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a harmlessly mediocre mess.

2 out of 4 genetically created dinosaurs.

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

3 comments:

Billie Doux said...

A nice review, J.D. I'm not even sure if I want to see this one at home. But the photo you chose is absolutely gorgeous.

Malcolm Parry said...

This film is not a good film. That's me putting it as frankly as I can. What enjoyment there is does not come from the plot, the characters or the setting. The few bright moments are all action and the lingering feeling of 'wow-what-a-cool-dino'.

I think someone put it best when they asked if fans if they could name the first name of Chris Pratt's character from the first film. Forgettable, but not even enjoyable.

Good review though :)

An Honest Fangirl said...

I actually really enjoyed it. It's not art. At all. Or even that great of quality. But I came to the theatre wanting to watch dinosaurs eat people, and that's what I got, so I'm happy. And I actually teared up during the scene where the left the island because I'm soft and love dinosaurs and want them to be happy.

The movie did what I wanted it to do.