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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a very bad film. It is however a fun kind of bad, chock full of story decisions that are so strange and silly it's hard not to at least be some way charmed by their stupidity. My favourite example features a heroic velociraptor, Blue, rampaging around a science lab. In an impressive display of chemical safety knowledge, Blue realises that a hydrogen gas cylinder leaking onto a sparking electrical supply is about to explode. We are then treated to a dinosaur running and leaping away from a huge explosion, Diehard style. Sadly Blue does not also shout "SHIIIIT!!!"
As to the story, the Dinosaur Island of Isla Nublar is about to be destroyed by a volcanic eruption. The American government (apparently on the behalf of everyone else) decides they aren't going to do anything to save the dinosaurs, and so our heroes from the previous movie agree to team up with a multi-million dollar corporation to rescue the "de-extinct" animals. This story makes up less than half of the two hour movie though. In a shocking twist no Jurassic Park fan could ever see coming, the multi-million dollar corporation is actually evil and wants to unscrupulously profit off of the rescued dinosaurs. This makes up most of the other half of the movie, before it changes tact again, this time into a slasher movie with a super dinosaur.
I wish this whole story was told from the perspective of Blue, the action movie protagonist dinosaur. In a movie full of unconvincing CGI and even less convincing actors, Blue is the most likeable character. I compare her to the likes of Bryce Dallas Howard, a real human actor who returns from the previous movie; Her main character development is that she wears more sensible footwear. She is in this story because the bad guys need her handprint to unlock one door. With that done, she spends most of the movie staring gormlessly at the CGI. Her character was criticised a lot in the last movie, so this one tries to give her a couple more dramatic moments. The most bizarre of these is her choice to trap the world's last remaining dinosaurs and watch them painfully die in a room flooding with cyanide gas. It's another one of those hilarious movie decisions.
I think I prefer the inventive silliness. When its not doing that, the movie makes lots of unnecessary call backs to Jurassic Park. We have a little girl trying to shut a hatch in the face of a charging dinosaur, invisible t-rexes hiding off camera, and a surprising number of scenes of characters messing with impressive circuit breakers. Each time it happens, George Lucas whispers in my ear, "it's like poetry, each stanza rhymes with the last".
I was never bored during Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom. I won't go so far as to call it "so bad its good". Instead, it lives in the same category as b-movie dinosaur flicks like The Valley of Gwangi; objectively bad and stupid, but still a charming film.
One can easily feel some mandatory requirements (from Comcast/Universal shareholders?) stemming from its predecessor such as Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke (some men's ludicrous and irrational obsession with creating dino hybrids for war), which made its predecessor dangerously veer on Z-grade movie premise, I was almost expecting something akin to the infamous climax of X-Men Origins: Wolverine with some mad scientist playing with the hodgepodge Theropod du jour from a control room — thankfully that didn't happen.
Juan Antonio Bayona did his best to circumvent those ever-present clichés, and not without merit nor without a few good surprises. The volcanic eruption (warning, massive Tear Jerker on this one), the allegedly increased use of animatronics, the use of a few horror tricks in the climax and the — much improved — CGI are all great, the mandatory child is a vast improvement over "I can't even remember their names" from the previous film and we're left with an interesting new situation that's likely to be dealt with in the next film.
Overall, better than Jurassic World.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a very, very silly film. But I liked it.
I like dinosaurs, okay?
In all seriousness, JWFK is probably the best Jurassic Park film since the original.
No, I mean it.
None of the Jurassic Park sequels, including this one, are great; but JWFK stands above its peers by simply being different.
The film follows Chris Pratt as Owen and Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire as they are once called back to Isla Nublar in order to save its population of dinosaurs from the island’s erupting volcano. Needless to say, complications arise in the form of Owen’s old raptor, uh, “daughter” Blue, a rich eccentric billionaire who seeks the dinosaurs for his own, nefarious reasons, a new hybrid dinosaur even more dangerous than the Indominus Rex from the last film and said rich billionaire’s own granddaughter, who has a few secrets of her own.
JWFK is silly and shallow, but it does have a lot of genuine qualities. The dinosaur action is great, bolstered by a use of practical effects; Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are compelling leads, Blue the velociraptor is great and her interactions with Owen leads to an actually very affecting moment, newcomer Isabella Sermon is an endearing actor, J.A Bayona is easily the best director the franchise has had since Spielberg, leading to a film that is absolutely gorgeous, and the film moves at a good, breezy pace.
Furthermore, Bayona’s direction finally leads to a Jurassic Park film that feels different from the original. Whereas the two Park sequels (and, to a lesser extent, Jurassic World) all tried to capture the slow burn feel of Spielberg’s original, this film goes in a completely different direction. The film feels akin to a dark fairytale, with the aesthetics, the music and even the whole final act being set in a dark mansion with an evil (yet, surprisingly personable) monster reflecting this. This change goes into making JWFK feel fresh, and I quite enjoyed it because of this.
JWFK isn’t a great film, but it is a very fun one. I can definitely see why someone wouldn’t like it: it’s shallow, it’s not very introspective and it is, as I have said several times, spectacularly silly.
However, I will just say that, much like Rampage earlier this year, ''JWFK;; is the kind of film that I would have loved as a kid.
Take that for what you will.
I give Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a hearty recommendation.
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