Directed by: J.A Bayona | Produced by: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, Belén Atienza | Written by: Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly | Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Isabella Sermon, Jeff Goldblum | Music by: Michael Giacchino | Cinematography: Oscar Faura | Edited by: Bernat Vilaplana | Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Legendary Pictures | Distributed by: Universal Pictures | Official Website
When director Colin Trevorrow created a remake to Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur galore with Jurassic World in 2015, it was a blockbuster hit with the theme of a desperate theme park tries to boost their selling ticket by creating a genetically modified dinosaur that sadly, ruins mostly of the park. The sequel tries a larger-than-big ambition to the hybrid dinosaur with slightly different approach. The new director, J.A Bayona, entered a bit of dark horror in the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, with quite a lot of bad guys and a more rational choice of shoes for Bryce Dallas Howard.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s first scene brings back Jurassic Park nostalgic when a technician is stalked by a carnivore dinosaur in the rain. Then the story goes on with a debate on whether Isla Nublar’s dinosaurs should be saved from the island’s volcano, which is about to erupt. On a US Senate hearing, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum, one of the link to the original Spielberg’s movie) believes that the dinosaurs should be left to die. Former park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas-Howard) is now building the Dinosaur Protection Group to save them, along with former park technician Franklin (Justice Smith), and veterinarian Zia (Daniella Pineda). With the Senate rejection to rescue the dinosaurs, Claire’s mission seems to be over until she is contacted by Benjamin Lockwood (John Cromwell), John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough, the last piece of link to Spielberg)’s partner in creating the cloning technology for all the dinosaurs.
At Lockwood’s estate in northern California, Claire meets Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) who is now running Lockwood’s foundation, and Maisie (Isabella Sermon), Lockwood’s granddaughter whom he adopted after her parents died in a car accident. Lockwood wants to proceed with a secret rescue mission to send the dinosaurs to a new island sanctuary where they will live without human interference. In order to do that, they have to save eleven species that believed to be the new starter for the new life. Mills are concerned of finding Blue, the last living velociraptor, and asked Claire to contact Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Blue’s former researcher and trainer. It was not long before they all know the true intention of Mills, and now they must save themselves from the new hybrid dinosaur created by Mills and Dr. Wu (B.D Wong), the Indoraptor. This seems to be a downgrade since the last Jurassic World introduced us to their larger-than-life hybrid creation called Indominus Rex.
There’s actually a story about a noble dinosaur-rescue mission that goes horribly awry with the essence of bad guys, but Director J.A Bayona’s work here is the only exception. He brings Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to his scale, a horror. Rather than increasing the scale and spectacle, he trades the green epic landscapes of Isla Nublar for a claustrophobic setting of Lockwood’s estate that ultimately makes the whole thing feel like an average haunted house flick. It’s all absurd, even for a movie about man-made dinosaurs, and it becomes even more ridiculous when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom strips away the majestic built-in sense of awe and wonder from the dinosaurs and turns the focus on the human characters, who are not engaging at all. However, this movie increases the engagement of audience’s emotions in the dinosaurs as actual animals. In the first half of the film, where a dinosaur faces certain apocalypse, we can feel more emotional than anything that happens to the human characters. The last scene of Owen and Blue also feels more intense than any other scene in this movie.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s characters are so bland and poorly written that the actors have little to do but look scared and run for their life, making it nearly impossible to care about what actually happens to them. The villains, Mills and his colleagues, become such cartoon images that it’s impossible to take the movie seriously. This is the kind of movie where we know Mills is bad because he yells at a kid, and dinosaurs are auctioned off to an international group of James Bond villains-wannabe. For you who aren’t already invested in Owen and Claire won’t find anything fresh here, unless Claire’s new and better choice of shoes.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of all is the way the film ends, by clearly hinting the setup for the third Jurassic World installment in 2021. In this world full of remakes and sequels, audiences seem to open up about the idea of deconstructing what they already had in mind about a franchise, in order to look upon a fresher idea. However, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom failed to do such dedication to the original sources, and ended up in losing the whole magic. There is action, and there are explosions, and there are dinosaurs running around that will thrill some audiences, but there is no kicking feels. It turns a once delicious franchise into something generic, flat, and quite forgettable.