Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Movie Review
If you view the original Jurassic Park as the pinnacle to which all of its sequels should strive, then the Jurassic World movies are clawing in the wrong direction. Entertaining though it might be, the newest entry--Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom--has essentially evolved into stupid spectacle at this point.
Your satisfaction with the film may rest entirely on how much stupid you can handle.
Fallen Kingdom wobbles like a T-Rex doing handstands because, at its core, it makes so little sense. The previous Jurassic World wasn’t great, but it was largely fun, action-packed entertainment, but what it more than hinted at was where the franchise was headed, an exploration of the weaponization of dinosaurs that makes no fucking sense no matter how you look at it.
For Fallen Kingdom to work, it means it must rely on this shaky, stupid premise, which in turn means that every character, villain, plot point and action scene needs to be stupefied to match. The result is a movie that has some decent if far-from-memorable dinosaur action scenes that rely on characters making the absolute worst decisions at every turn, as if they were trapped in some hammy B-grade horror movie where the babysitter keeps running up an unending flight of stairs instead of out the doors she repeatedly passes by.
For moviegoers who just want truly mindless action, Fallen Kingdom serves its purpose, but for those of us who still feel nostalgic for the original, in which Spielberg made a movie about smart people who made one core bad decision (bringing dinosaurs back to life), this movie just has too many laugh-out-loud, hands-in-the-air moments to ignore.
- The villains are one-dimensionally evil. Also, why can’t the dinosaurs be the villains once again?
- How come Blue the Velociraptor, after years of being alone, now suddenly will not just be nice to Chris Pratt but also to all of his friends? (and his new friends, played by Justice Smith and Danielle Pineda, are both obnoxious caricatures)
- How is a largely paralyzed character able to survive fast-moving lava by slowly rolling away?
- Why is there a dumb waiter that opens into a highly secure facility?
- Why risk your life with a T-Rex to save a velociraptor?
- Why is a big reveal regarding the youngest character dropped at a completely random and improbable time and then never referenced again? (seriously, end the movie on this or something)
- Why not open the outer doors to let fresh air in rather than let all of the dinosaurs escape?
- Why would you turn the lights off to escape a dinosaur?
- Why would you, after realizing a carnivorous dinosaur is in the room, run further into the room?
- How could Chris Pratt get consumed by a steaming hot ash cloud and still survive unscathed?
Just to name a few.
Despite all that criticism, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom moved fairly quickly for me and was entertaining throughout, even if Jeff Goldblum’s return is completely wasted. As cheesy as it is, the volcano sequences are generally fun, and as absurd as the “house of horrors” third act is, director J.A. Bayona is able to elicit a moderate degree of tension.
If all you need from this movie is something along the line of a script that involves “dinosaurs chomp chomp humans run dinosaurs chompy chomp-chomp,” then Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will fill the void in your shattered soul. If you’re looking for something even remotely intelligent, prepare to be underwhelmed.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.