- “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” comes to theaters this weekend, and sadly, it’s not as good as “Jurassic World.”
- The latest addition to the “Jurassic Park” franchise takes itself way too seriously.
Three years after “Jurassic World” hit theaters and revamped the “Jurassic Park” franchise with a record-breaking $208.8 million opening weekend, and an incredible $1.6 billion worldwide earned at the box office, the sequel is here, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” And honestly, don’t get too excited.
“Jurassic World” gave a nice dose of nostalgia for the original “Jurassic Park” movie directed by Steven Spielberg in 1993, but “Fallen Kingdom” (in theaters Friday) falls into the usual sequel trappings that, well, the sequel to “Jurassic World,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park,” fell into as well.
In trying not to repeat the things that made the first movie so great, “Fallen Kingdom” turns into a bland continuation instead of a fun companion.
In “Fallen Kingdom,” we are back into the story three years later. The park in Isla Nublar has been abandoned, but with a volcanic eruption on the island coming soon, a major debate has been sparked about whether the dinosaurs on the island should be saved or left to become extinct once more.
- Universal Pictures
Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) has launched an organization to help save the dinosaurs, and one day while hustling with her follow volunteers for donations, she gets a call from Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), a former partner of John Hammond, the man behind the cloning of the dinosaurs and the brains behind Jurassic Park (played by Richard Attenborough in the first “Jurassic Park” movie).
Lockwood has a proposition for Claire.
Claire goes out to Lockwood’s massive estate to hear him out. Lockwood’s second-in-command, Eli (Rafe Spall), informs Claire of their plans to extract all the dinos on Isla Nublar and take them to an island sanctuary to live out their days. All they need is Claire’s access to the computer system on the island (remember, she was the operations manager at the park in the last movie) and Owen (Chris Pratt) to come along and track down the Velociraptor he raised, Blue.
Outside of a thrilling opening scene to the movie in which a team retrieves DNA from the remains of the Indominus Rex from the last movie, things get dull until Claire and Owen, who interrupts his ambitious house-building project to go on the mission – I mean, he had the house all framed out, should he really have stopped building? – touch down on the dino island.
It doesn’t take long for Claire to get into the system or Owen to find Blue (along for the ride is a geeky IT guy, played by Justice Smith, and a no nonsense paleo-veterinarian played by Daniella Pineda). But with the now-erupting volcano and the pissed dinosaurs all around them, there are a lot of challenges.
This time around, franchise staple Dr. Wu (played by the ageless B.D. Wong) has crafted an Indoraptor – a hybrid of the Indominus Rex and a Raptor – that is scary as all heck and gets loose by the end of the movie.
It leads to a thrilling conclusion back on the Lockwood estate, as Claire and Owen uncover a sinister plot and befriend Lockwood’s granddaughter, Maisie (Isabella Sermons), in the process. (Did you really think one of these movies wasn’t going to have a kid character in it?)
But the biggest problem with “Fallen Kingdom” (outside of not nearly enough Jeff Goldblum) is everything is taken way too seriously. Like “Jurassic World,” there’s nothing in the sequel that we haven’t seen before in a summer blockbuster movie (from the long-winded exposition to the stale plot points), the only glaring thing is director J.A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls”) tries to be more dramatic than the other movies in the franchise, and offer “real” stakes. That’s not what this franchise is about.
Despite all that, though, the final few minutes of the movie have you excited about the inevitable third chapter in the reboot franchise. I don’t know how the heck they did it, but despite everything I didn’t like about “Fallen Kingdom,” I’ll be first in line to see part three.