Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Director: J.A Bayona
Cast Headliners: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, others
Original Release Date: June 22nd, 2018
many ways can you skin a cat, or rather, how many ways can you make a
Jurassic Park / World / what have you film. Jurassic World: Fallen
Kingdom comes out after 2015's Jurassic World brought back the
franchise for a more modern era with its own attempts. There is a
sense that this is a true trilogy, more than Spielberg's own ones
were. However what's inside is a range of excitement from the
fascinating to the silly. However there's definitely some strides
forward for every stumble back.
Picking up after the collapse of the functioning park in the last film, a situation arises on Isla Nublar when a volcano is erupting that threatens to destroy all of the dinosaurs on the island along itself. Previous heroes Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) are recruited by friends of the older film's Hammond in Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) to go to the island and rescue as many possible..including the last trained velociraptor Blue. They're joined by hip young recruits in technician Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) and Dr.Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) along head of security Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine).
To the film's credit, it does attempt to do some different things with the formula. Yes there's an island of these prehistoric giant lizards escaping containment as has been seen 4+ times before. But there are some exciting sequences involving escaping the lava. It's pure mania of natural disaster, running dinosaurs , and multiple ridiculous moments that all the heroes due. This film, even more than the last one, throws some of the “realism” out the window and goes for the extreme. There's cool visuals in the creatures and environments yet there's also some CGI special effects that are rough looking to the point of almost shame. For every cool creature, there's almost as much something cheesy. It's unknown how much this is due to J.A Bayona being in the director chair for this is a bit different to his more dramatic, smaller scale work before.
However, his horror film influence is felt by a strong point (when it appears). This movie brings back some of that literal , night-time rainy darkness that was missing from the last one. There's some true jump scares and creepy moments delivered of course through a soft PG-13 lense. The other deviation is that, in one of several things borrowed from Jurassic Park 2 The Lost World , a large part of this movie leaves the island behind. It has to be seen firsthand but be prepared for some surburbia and laboratories and a criminal human element that's almost nothing like what has been seen before. The action impresses although it does drag at times but when it's fresh it's fresh (get ready for yet another genetic variant dinosaur in the Indoraptor..). Michael Giacchino's score continues his June trend to both effective and melodramatic effects. There may even be some moments of emotion with these beasts, particularly when they suffer.
The scientific , dino elements are more of the same which is fine enough especially when it's fun. Where things are a bit more shaky is within the cast itself. Pratt's Owen and Howard's Claire have a nice rapport again although this time their relationship takes a bit of a step back to the shenanigans at play. It's more of the same.. whether Pratt with his Star-Lord-esque swashbuckling machismo or Howard with her courage and caring. Pratt, when he's not pulling off unbelievable jumps or rolling around for a laugh (you'll see) does have some slight deeper stuff with his connection to Blue the raptor... be ready for some baby flashbacks that may warm one's heart. The younger recruits in Smith's Franklin and Pineada's Rodriguez attempt comic relief but more often annoy. Cromwell gives an alright performance to share a franchise connection and sincerity but isn't around much. Spall's Mill's does what he needs to do but ends up coming off as cheesy in his own way once the context furthers. On that prior note, trailers showed the return of Dr.Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) from the old films. It's unfortunate that he does not have much more than minutes of screentime contrary to what one may think. He has some greatly deep and slightly odd lines that may or may not be ad-libs but these sentences may amount to more than what he has. The more gruff personnel like Levine's Wheatley, Dr.Wu (B.D Wong) , and an eccentric auctioneer Gunnar (Toby Jones..such a unique actor …) do little more than add momentary cheese and exposition to the plot. Some of this stuff even feels just like 2015 again to an extent. What young Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) , the Sir's granddaughter, brings to the film and beyond may also land to a mixed reaction.
This movie definitely delivers some more same old dinosaur, jungle fun amidst its sea of lava and cheese. Somehow a human element that's both increased to better and worse off amounts occurs. It could have tapped into its themes more, and shown us less or more truthful things before release, but it just about delivers on what one would want. Here's hoping the next one has even more steps forward than back... and is further fresh without being too derivative. 7.7 out of 10