a JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM musing
*No spoilers in the main section, but there is spoiler territory after my rating, so be sure to only read that part if you have seen the movie!*
During my #MarEuroña2015 tour in the Arctic Monkeys’ home of Sheffield, England, my brother and I had a few hours to kill, so we decided to watch JURASSIC WORLD at a local cinema. To my surprise, the screen was at least 30% smaller than what we expect here in the US. The sound was quite horrid in the theater and the rest of the audience was very rowdy. It wasn’t the best theater experience I’ve had, but it certainly didn’t help my enjoyment of the movie. I pretty much hated everything about the first JURASSIC WORLD, and the trailers for FALLEN KINGDOM didn’t lift my excitement any higher. (When the trailer ended before STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI back in December, the theater was quiet until a random person just yelled “HA!” and the rest of the theater applauded that guy.)
A few years after the events of JW, the ethics of keeping dinosaurs alive are put into question. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), now part of a Pro-Dino activist group, is enlisted to draw out her now ex Owen, played by Chris Pratt. The group, led by Rafe Spall’s Mills, needs Owen to use his special connection to save his Velociraptor, Blue, as the volcano on Isla Nublar is bound to erupt and deem all species on it extinct.
The story takes a turn midway through which I ended up liking more than I thought I would, which was nice. The script as a whole does not do this movie ANY favors, though. Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly wrote both JW movies, and Trevorrow directed the first. Most of the dialogue choices are extremely headshake inducing, as if the script was actually written by a low-grade 90’s writer on drugs. The decisions characters make are not well supported, mainly because the characters aren’t developed past their initial characteristics. Most of the actors don’t help the cause, either. (Major facepalm moments from the two sidekick characters on the island...) The dark, mean tone makes for an extremely frustrating watch.
It’s especially disappointing because most of the movie’s action sequences are done really well, thanks to some solid direction by J.A. Bayona, whose last film disappointed in different ways (see: A MONSTER CALLS musing). The escape from the island was surprisingly tense, and the underwater Roller Bubble exit gripped me and got my claustrophobia nerves going. The movie turns into a low-rent slasher film (albeit with some cheap, lame jump scares) and I was all for it. Pratt, Spall and newcomer Isabella Sermon put in some good work, too.
FALLEN KINGDOM is a little better than I thought it would be, and where the movie ends up could be fun to explore, but Trevorrow will be coming back to direct that so back down goes my excitement level… I never really had a connection to this Jurassic Park franchise (I realized I had seen JURASSIC PARK for the first time in full when I saw it in August 2017), so it’s hard to be so rah-rah about it.
RATING: WHY DID I WATCH THIS?
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)
When the little girl, Maisie, opened the gate, I got weirdly pretty upset. Again, it was a disappointment, as the story could have explored the ethical dilemma of her being a clone, just like the dinosaurs and her grappling with that idea, if only that reveal had happened 30-45 minutes before. What resulted was a lame character choice that came out of nowhere and made a frustrating movie even more tough watch.