I’ve always loved the Jurassic franchise. It’s got dinosaurs, it’s got laughs, it’s got stupid decisions, it’s got Jeff Goldblum and it’s got just enough suspense and dino-surprises to thrill, but not keep you up at night. It’s fun. What more could you possibly want from a Dinosaur movie? Well, maybe a different plot for each movie, for a start.
Fallen Kingdom definitely pitches itself as a film covering a new dilemma: whether or not the government should save the dinosaurs from an erupting volcano on Isla Nublar. It eventually, however, falls back to the familiar adventures of a crazy hybrid dinosaur that doesn’t live up to it’s hype.
The Jurassic World crew are back and in slightly better form (because you see less of them)! Something I didn’t enjoy about the first Jurassic World, was how much attention was given to the characters. Characters I found challenging to care about. So much time wasted on developing relationships that could have been filled with more dinos eating things! Fallen Kingdom has got the action/dinosaur/character balance pretty spot on! Shifting the focus from the non-existent chemistry between Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and onto volcanic eruptions, bad guys and Dinos! Chris Pratt is, of course, the funny ‘man’s man’ character you remember and…enjoy? He still has to summon up some acting skills for the tender moments with his daughter, Blue, the Velociraptor. So that’s nice. Bryce Dallas Howard is still uptight, but admittedly a whole lot more badass this time round (I think she only yells “run” twice!). She’s gone from wanting to profit from dinosaurs and being terrified of them, to wanting to protect their dino rights (something that the movie itself points and laughs at). Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith join the cast as a no-nonsense dino vet and an easily terrified tech-wiz, respectively. Just some more stereotypical dino movie characters to make dumb decisions and delight us all. Rafe Spall is a welcome addition to the team as, Eli Mills, the man helping Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) co-ordinate the great dino-rescue (and maybe other things that I’m not telling you about)! Of course, we can’t get through one of these movies without a screaming child actor being chased by something raptor-like and Isabella Sermon, as Maisie Lockwood, sure can scream. Towards the end of the story, when she had served her plot purpose, they stopped bothering to give her lines and she just became a scream disguising itself as a human child.
BD Wong is back as Dr. Henry Wu who has concocted another genetically engineered hybrid monster called the Indoraptor. This time being auctioned off to the highest bidder and marketed as a deadly weapon for modern warfare. You can control who it kills through lazers (why???? how is that genetics?) and it can smell it’s target from a mile away except, apparently, when you’re hiding behind something within a few metres range of it. Just good for a bit of a laugh and some Maisie Lockwood screams, essentially. On the note of stupid things, why do characters enjoy letting dinosaurs out of their cages as a first option and not a last resort? “That guy has a gun”. “OMG! QUICK! SET THE RAPTOR ON HIM AND DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES”.
I’m probably being a little too harsh, because while I was watching Fallen Kingdom, I really did have a good time. It was fun, action-packed and it ended when it should have. There were some genuinely excellently crafted dino-scares and suspense throughout! A few people I know (not mentioning any names) may have even teared up in parts. However, the more I think about it, the more terrible I realise it is. There’s just so much that doesn’t make any sense. And therein lies the key to enjoying Jurassic World movies – don’t think about them too much. Accept that you are paying money to see dinosaurs chomp some stupid people and be satisfied with that.