Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review
We’re now onto the fifth instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise and the wait for a film worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the first continues. The wonder of seeing these amazing creatures brought to vivid life in Spielberg’s original has been slowly drained from each subsequent film to the point where they feel as generic as almost every modern day movie monster that took inspiration from them in the first place.
Spanish director J.A. Bayona is handed the baton by Colin Trevorrow for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the second in this current series. If you have seen any of his previous work, such as The Orphanage or A Monster Calls you will know he has a tendency of smothering his characters in overbearing sentimentality and true to form he doesn’t let us down this time.
The director may have changed but Chris Pratt returns as Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, the team who were once fully behind caging these artificially created dinosaurs on the island of Isla Nublar where people could come to gawp and be fed upon by the corporate monsters selling their wares. Except this time they serve as the bleeding heart brigade out to protect the dinosaurs from extinction as a giant volcano threatens to erupt on the now deserted island.
Luckily they have a helping hand in philanthropist billionaire Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and his slick suited assistant Eli Mills (Rafe Spall). The plan is to rescue the loveable killing machines and whisk them away to safety where they can live in perfect harmony far from the terrible destructive force of the human race. It all seems so perfect and tree-huggingly beautiful you might have to bite back the tears.
As you can imagine, the plan very quickly goes awry and it becomes one disaster zone after another. And that’s just behind the camera. Fallen Kingdom is essentially one long, uninterrupted action sequence that quickly keels over and dies due to its inability to take a breath. If there were one or two memorable set-pieces perhaps it could be justified but it follows the same repetitive cycle of events seen time and again in any number of monster flicks from the past few decades.
When not being dragged through the motions we are continually subjected to Michael Giachinno’s cloying score that pokes its nose into a succession of scenes attempting to force its shallow emotion onto the audience. It’s a lousy mechanism Bayona has continued to rely on in every film he’s made to date and it feels even more intrusive in a story centred around fake dinosaurs. Let’s not forget, they were stuck behind electrified fences for a reason. One scene in particular lays it on thick and fast as Owen, Claire and their team pull away from the island, the silhouette of a lonely dinosaur accompanied by its sad cries for help. You can almost hear the Justice4Dinos campaign on Twitter whirring into action in the background.
With each passing Jurassic film logic has become an increasingly distant ideal and Bayona seems to have done the inevitable and abandoned it completely. You expect a certain level of stupidity from characters in genre-led stories but Fallen Kingdom takes it to another level in service of setting up yet another action sequence. But create enough jump scares, show enough close scrapes and dinosaurs roaring directly into camera or bellowing at the sky and most people won’t even care.
In an age of such unbelievable technology it’s quite an achievement to make a film that is so forgettable dull and generic. Yet, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is far from alone in that regard and the opinion of this reviewer will have zero effect on influencing the money making template that will see at least one more to complete the trilogy and, no doubt, many others reeled off the production line. It’s a franchise that should be on the verge of extinction but Universal have the DNA safely stored away to resurrect it any time they please.