Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom blows the "first" film out of the water in every way that counts. It's big, loud and frightening in all of the right ways, capitalizing on director J.A. Bayona's visual flare and the franchise's now-roots at being mostly popcorn cinema.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn’t the type of movie that is going to earn any praise from those seeking a smart Hollywood blockbuster that has somehow recaptured the magic of the original Jurassic Park film. Since The Lost World, this series has mostly been an up-and-down rollercoaster of B-movie storytelling with a never-ending budget for dino-destruction.
The only difference between Fallen Kingdom and its predecessors is that director J.A. Bayona understands what kind of movie that he’s making and fully embraces it. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is big, loud and incredibly dumb, but it’s also frightening and practically a horror movie at times.
The introduction of the new Indo-Raptor is part terrifying and part silly, with logic mostly going out the window, yet Bayona manages to capture the creature through the eyes of Freddy Krueger, having it sneak up in the rainy darkness to tear through flesh.
The plot for Fallen Kingdom is so silly that I forgot to even mention it. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) went from theme park extraordinaire to dino activist (what the?), while Owen (Chris Pratt) gave up on the world and decided to build a house in isolation.
The problem is that the island that was once Jurassic World is about to have a volcanic eruption and Claire has been summoned to help save the dinosaurs from yet another extinction.
What we don’t know is that there’s also some backdoor dino-sales going on, involving all sorts of sleazy people that are hoping to buy a dinosaur and somehow cause terror on their enemies? That part isn’t exactly clear, but it really doesn’t matter at this point.
In order to enjoy and appreciate Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, one must accept that logic really doesn’t have a place in this film and that if you’re willing to throw it out the door then the film will greet you with open arms and lots of big-budget fun.
One thing that director J.A. Bayona has that previous director (and also writer) Colin Trevorrow doesn’t is a visual sense of storytelling. Fallen Kingdom is absolutely breathe-taking at times, capturing the volcano eruption with incredible urgency and thematic flare, while also honing in on the film’s second act, which is covered in rain and darkness.
Trevorrow tried to top Spielberg and failed miserably, while Bayona takes the best bits of previous Jurassic films and makes them into his own.
He also ups the dinosaur carnage, giving us several extensive action sequences that highlight the animals and even gives them a little character.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is less worried about its actual human characters and more worried about giving the dinosaurs a little depth. It’s an odd concept, but it works.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are almost pointless to the film’s overall plot and the audience as a whole. One could argue that they keep the film moving from location-to-location, but that’s about it.
The real focus is the dinosaurs and they are on full display in glorious B-movie fashion. Action is almost never-ending as the film progresses through each scene like a carnival ride that keeps getting better and better with each new thrill.
Bayona captures the size and scale of the dinosaurs with his trademark shooting techniques that aren’t going to elicit as much emotion or impact as a Spielberg film, yet will still leave you reeling. There was one particular escape-the-island moment that almost brought me to tears.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom might be the dumbest Jurassic Park film, but it’s also one of the most entertaining. If I had to rate it, I would say it’s tied with The Lost World as my second favorite Jurassic Park film, right behind the original.
It outdoes Jurassic World in almost every regard, moving the series in a new direction, while still capturing that familiar magic. Only this time Bayona makes it darker and scarier, which is something I’ve always wanted from a Jurassic film.
The writing is almost non-existent, but the spectacle and movie magic is pumped up to eleven. Shut your brain off, drown yourself in a large Coke and buttery bucket of popcorn and sit back while Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom thrills and engages you in a way that most blockbusters simply can’t.
Also, the setup for the eventual sequel is absolutely nuts. I cannot wait to see how they pull this one off.