With its stunning visuals and magnetic storytelling, Jurassic Park solidified Steven Spielberg’s legacy as one of the greatest directors of all time. This movie captivated the inner child among us when we witnessed larger-than-life dinosaurs that seem to leap out of our screens. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom stays true to what the iconic film is all about while setting up some higher stakes for the next movie.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom follows Owen Grady and Claire Dearing as they try to save the remaining dinosaurs in the Jurassic World theme park. A volcanic eruption threatens to destroy the island that threatens the existence of the creatures that are peacefully living there. The screenwriters, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, did a great job in creating a script that elicits empathy for these dinosaurs in peril. The movie has a thought-provoking message that allows the audience to care for the welfare of other sentient beings.
While the movie fell short measuring up to the 25-year-old original film, it is still enjoyable and visually compelling. Directing a reboot to a classic film is not an easy task just like we saw in the new Star Wars trilogy. If you copy most the elements on that classic, the reboot will leave fans disappointed and unsatisfied. However, if you introduce some changes out of nowhere, the spirit of the classic film will be lost. Fans will be dumbfounded and mad because of these radical changes to their beloved film. Yes, I am talking about The Last Jedi.
J.A. Bayona found the right balance of paying homage to the classic and reinventing the typical dinosaur film concept. The first act of the Fallen Kingdom pays its respects to the Jurassic Park. There is a thrilling escape sequence in the island as the characters avoid the spewed lava. In the end, I teared up because of the emotional scene involving a Brachiosaurus left on the island that is seemingly crying for help.
Except for that sequence, the majority of the first half of the film is a slow burn. We eventually figured out who the bad guy is and the fun started. The dinosaurs were taken in an enclosed setting. That made the movie more exciting yet suspenseful. We’ll see the dinosaurs roam this claustrophobic environment as the characters avoid being eaten. Fallen Kingdom utilized the classic haunted house-style in delivering thrills and tension.
Despite all that, I found that this movie is a bit flawed. Jurassic World was riddled with flat characters and a bit messy pacing. Unfortunately, I found those similar problems in Fallen Kingdom. They did try to provide a bit more characterization but it was still not enough. The villain is a cookie-cutter bad guy who exploits these dinosaurs for his own gain. The protagonists save the dinosaurs from harm and extinction. That’s it. Chris Pratt still gives a charismatic performance as Owen Grady. He is very likable and cool. I see no traces of Star-Lord there and he is consistent with this role since the Jurassic World.
I also saw an issue in regards to its tone and pacing. The dinosaurs were put into this island where they can freely roam. We get a classic pre-historic ambiance just like the original trilogy. When they were transported to a different setting, the tone drastically change. Like I said, it was more suspenseful. It was a slow paced film with not much happening in the first half. However, the third act provides a lot of enjoyment.
The film also introduced new dinosaur hybrids such as Indoraptor, which has the DNA of both Indominus rex and Velociraptor. The Indoraptor is smart just like Blue, the Velociraptor. In the end, Fallen Kingdom tells us that we are still responsible for other creatures, no matter how smart they became. Jeff Goldblum gave an impactful performance despite his limited appearance. His lines at the end of the film made us think about the future and how humans will coexist with dinosaurs.
Fallen Kingdom is a good monster film on its own. Sure, there will still be comparisons to the original movie. Although it can surpass what Steven Spielberg accomplished, the Jurassic Park spirit lives on to its powerful message and exciting premise.