I already wrote a love letter to the original Jurassic Park in my Jurassic World: Evolution review, so I will skip that and get straight to the point: Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom sucks. Sure, it doesn’t reach the level of Jurassic Park III, bugt it’s still pretty freaking bad. It’s so disappointing that I am going to opt out of reserving spoilers, so be warned if you’d like to see the movie with a fresh set of eyes.
The film opens with the US government, yet again butting their heads into something outside of their jurisdiction, deciding on the fate of the dinosaurs that are being threatened by an active volcano on the island they inhabit from the previous film. Claire Dearing, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is on the front line of a non-profit organization petitioning to save the dinosaurs, which fails to sway the government to intervene. Lucky for Claire and the dinosaurs, Eli Mills, played by Rafe Spall, steps in as a proxy for one of the late John Hammond’s previously unnamed partners of the original park, and wants to set up a nature preserve on a private island for the dinosaurs. Without permission or authority, the project has already been started, but Mills’ group of hunters and mercenaries have been unsuccessful in tracking down Blue, the only remaining raptor surviving from first film. Because of this they need Claire to track down Owen Grady, played by Chris Pratt, to assist in bringing in his former “pet.”
Starting off strong, it doesn’t take much time for the inevitable double cross to take place on the island, leaving Owen, Claire, and their new cohorts to face volcanic eruptions, mercenaries, and free roaming dinosaurs. This premise sounds like it would be a thrilling adventure, but the execution feels more akin to being The Lost World 2, since this is almost the exact same plot of the second film in the franchise. Sure, some scenes are amazing, but they are far and few between, often falling flat due to poor editing. A prime example of this is takes place early on, when Owen finds himself tranquilized and alone in the forest with freshly spewed lava inching towards him. Pratt’s execution of this scene is flawless in creating tension, with him trying to flail about to move out of the path of danger, but soon cuts away, never showing the audience exactly how he made it out alive. It’s as if someone gave up in the middle of creating this scene and just decided to let him survive because he’s one of the main characters, and arguably one of the best things about the movie offering a number of hilarious one-liners and bringing his normal swagger to the performance. This makes the wide-eyed and often boring performance of Howard to be even less believable, yet again proving that she has no business being in Hollywood other than having her father’s name. While the other actors offer respectable performances, none stand out in any meaningful ways.
The plot holes don’t end here, and while I know this is a fictional film and requires the suspension of disbelief, the writers seemed to have forgotten their own rules set forth in the previous films, such as the giant hamster balls that are used in the last film. If you remember, Jimmy Fallon’s cameo explains that the spheres are bullet proof, and can withstand a .50 caliber bullet. Knowing that, I am still wondering who decided to let Owen shoot holes through the glass using a standard pistol and then pry the glass off with a knife.
My biggest issue with the film is the incorporation of the previously unnamed partner’s granddaughter, Maisie Lockwood, played by Isabella Sermon. While she is portrayed well by the young girl, late into the film it is revealed she’s not his granddaughter, but a clone of Lockwood’s daughter, which is what drove a wedge between the longtime friends. With Hammond being dead for around 20 years, I find it hard to believe this is what caused an issue with them, as the young girl is barely 13. Additionally, the reveal is thrown out so casually, it’s as if it was improvised during filming and is never fully fleshed out.
The original Jurassic Park holds up well even today, almost 30 years later, due to the fact that the late Stan Winston created a number of animatronic dinosaurs in addition to the CGI. This entry relies heavily on CGI which works for the most part, but I found many scenes to be overly obvious that the actors are looking at a tennis ball or other inanimate object that was placed in the shot. The biggest problem with these dinosaurs is there simply isn’t that many of them, with their screen time clocking in at what feels like less than half the film’s entire runtime. And at a little over two hours, this feels much longer than it is; my wife agreed saying it felt like we spent the entire day at the theater.
While the film is watchable and fares better than a SyFy channel movie of the week, it’s hardly worth your money. I would strongly recommend waiting for it to release as a rental, opposed to spending the ungodly amount of money the theaters are asking these days.
4 out of 10
- Chris Pratt
- Major Plot Holes
- Feels Long
- Poorly Edited/Written
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom was directed by J.A. Bayona and written by Derek Connolly in conjunction with Colin Trevorrow. It was released in theaters on June 22nd, 2018. The film was not provided to us for viewing.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth your time, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great movie that you can feel confident about paying money to see in theaters or at home. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate movies, please let us know.