JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

I honestly believe Jurassic World is one of the worst blockbuster films of this decade. The plot and premise are amazingly stupid. The characters are bland and poorly developed. The effects and action sequences are mediocre and unimaginative. The amount of fan service and meta commentary is unbearable. Worst of all, for a movie that’s so dumb, it takes itself far too seriously and doesn’t have much fun with the concept. For 2+ hours, it’s a miserable experience where one thing after another annoyed me more and more. I’m not saying the original Jurassic Park is some intelligent, deep cinematic masterpiece; it’s just a really solid blockbuster. To me, Jurassic World took everything that was great about the original film, and did everything the complete opposite way. 

In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a volcano on Isla Nublar, the island that hosts the Jurassic World theme park, is about to erupt. The eruption will kill all of the dinosaurs on the island, rendering them extinct once again. Huge debate rages over if we should save them, one of the dinosaur’s advocates being Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). When she receives an offer from Dr. Hammond’s old friend Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) to move the dinosaurs from the island to a sanctuary, she jumps at the chance and requests the help of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Owen agrees to come along to save the dinosaurs, but somebody may be having ulterior motives.

I find plenty of movies terrible, but Jurassic World is one of those films that legitimately annoyed me pretty much the entire way through. The only thing this sequel had to do to be better was not be irritatingly stupid. Well, it was definitely stupid, but never to the point to where I was annoyed. There are far less characters to focus on here this time around, which means a lot less simple, yet still obnoxious, archetypes to get in the way. Owen and Claire are our two remaining characters and they’re just as lame as before, with hardly any chemistry or development. Both Pratt and Howard are good actors, but their characters are lame and don’t work together as a fun pair. The new characters fill out your typical sci-fi action checkboxes: a techy guy, a dinosaur enthusiast and veterinarian, a scheming businessman, an idealistic and naïve old man, a kid, a Jeff Goldblum who’s just there for fan service and continuity. Nobody really has an arc, or any characterization thicker than a piece of cardboard. They’re all just there and when most of them serve their purpose to the plot, they’re promptly munched on by some dinosaurs. 

At least all of that dinosaur carnage was fun and that’s really the only thing going for these films now, since they lost everything about what made the original what it was. I was giggling a fair amount seeing people getting chowed down and thrown around by various dinosaurs, and there were even some fun dinosaur fights. Aside from the only good scene in the movie, the first Jurassic World sorely missed that chaos, making it much more boring. Direction J.A. Bayona at least gives us some more inventive spectacle here, with some very striking imagery and cool setpieces. The effects are much better this time too, which could have been due to the fact that they used a lot more animatronics this time around. The sound design was also very immersive and well done mixed. It’s still all meaningless and boring, though, as beautiful as it looks. I just don’t care about these characters and most of it is stuff we’ve seen before anyway. Another plot where the bad guys want to use dinosaurs as weapons? A precocious kid being chases by raptors? Dinosaurs being auctioned off to billionaires? Trying to save a species from extinction, but having reservations about doing so? It’s the same old themes we’ve seen time and time and again. At least the ending opens up some fun ideas.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was everything I wanted it to be: better than the last film. That wasn’t a very high bar for me, but the fact that I was just bored with this and not annoyed made me very happy. It’s still not a good film, with a shoddy script, cringeworthy dialogue, and poor characters, but that’s really all it is. Just not very good. If you want some solid dino destruction, then look no further, but really, this franchise should just go the way of the creatures it’s based on.

4.5/10

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