Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the follow-up to the 2015 megahit, Jurassic World, and is the fifth film in the Jurassic franchise. Following after the events of Jurassic World, the park has fallen and sudden volcanic activities have forced a crew, led by Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), to go to the island in order to save the dinos. I’ll be blunt here: on a story and character conception, Fallen Kingdom is a dumb film. It makes absolutely no sense, but you’ll enjoy just about every minute of it because it’s a good, old fashioned, brainless monster film, and all the better for it.
Fallen Kingdom has a strong start. As we open, we see the crew scouring the remains of Jurassic World. This scene is full of tension and compared to the first film, this film already feels more competently made (J.A. Bayona is a better director than Colin Treverrow). This makes the terror even more effective, and very “Spielbergian” with things like the T-Rex being revealed in lightning, a silhouetted Mosasaurus, and a crew member climbing a ladder for his dear life are especially striking. There were several moments where I found my feet moving from all the action on the screen. It’s good, fun, blockbuster filmmaking.
This franchise is all about the dinosaurs and sometimes humans have to take a backseat to all the mayhem, but as with the previous films, there are actors worth noting. Chris Pratt returns as Owen Grady, and while he’s fun for silly expressions, it does occasionally feel like he’s going through the motions. Claire, on the other hand, feels more toned-down, less sarcastic and nicer, especially when it comes to her interactions with Maisie, a young child. If I’m being honest, the chemistry between Owen and Claire wasn’t all that convincing for me. I bought the relationship between Owen and Blue, a raptor, more. Blue is my favorite character from this film and the original Jurassic World because this raptor has a real personality, and story-arc, and it’s just great. Rafe Spall plays the main villain, Eli Mills, an assistant of Lockwood (played by James Cromwell), John Hammond’s former partner, who attempts to capture the dinosaurs, because he thinks it’s the right thing to do, following in Hammond’s footsteps. Toby Jones plays an auctioneer selling off the dinosaurs, and Justice Smith is Franklin Webb, an admittedly annoying computer expert who helps Claire and Owen. The real reason, however, we go to these films is for the dinosaurs, and seeing them cause a massive rampage is worth the price of admission alone.
The special effects are quite improved over the previous Jurassic World. While there are no model dinosaurs to be found, the CGI (computer generated images) feel more refined and less fake, in general. The score by Michael Giacchino, while not the most subtle piece of music, is nonetheless rolicking fun monster music with some emotional bits and short references to John Williams’ Jurassic Park theme thrown in for good measure. As to be expected, there are several references to the original Jurassic Park, sometimes to the detriment of the film, and at other times, in a loving tribute way.
Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom is a movie that very much defies logic. The characters make monumentally stupid decisions, and on a basic story level, the movie fails in every possible way, but that doesn’t really matter, because it’s a really good time at the cinema. I really couldn’t ask for more.
Now Playing in Hanover at the Nugget Theater Monday through Friday at 1:20, 4:00, and 6:40 PM, Friday and Saturday at 1:20, 4:00, 6:40, and 9:10 PM and Sunday at 1:20, 4:00, and 6:40 PM.