“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm uttered those famous words back in 1993, when Jurassic Park first sprang onto the big screens, and he returns for the most recent entry into the dinosaur-fueled universe, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (even if it is nothing more than a glorified cameo).
Replace the word ‘scientists’ with ‘filmmakers’, and you have a succinct one-sentence recap of this film. After 2015’s Jurassic World made enough money to fill several Scrooge McDuck vaults, a sequel was inevitable – it’s just a shame it was so lazily made.
A brief plot synopsis: after the events of the first film, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) travel back to the ruined park to track down the velociraptor Blue at the behest of a corporation whose true intents are, as usual, much more sinister than they outwardly appear.
One of the big themes of the original film was people underestimating the raw power of nature – represented in these movies by all the different kinds of dinosaurs. As one expects, it happens again in this film, but the way in which it happens is just so unbelievable, even for these movies.
The humans in this film not only believe that they can build a creature using DNA from the deadliest creatures to ever walk the Earth, but that they can control it as well. Nothing would ever go wrong, right? It’s a transparently lazy retread of the plot of the first Jurassic World, except it felt like the filmmakers said “how can we make this monstrous creature even worse?”
While Pratt and Howard are fine as usual in their roles, the secondary characters are at best unnecessary to the plot and, at worst, downright annoying. Systems analyst Franklin (Justice Smith) is reduced to comic bits such as screaming and being afraid of dinosaurs, while sassy paleo veterinarian Zia (Daniella Pineda) makes a very specific point about being a dinosaur vet despite…never having seen a dinosaur? How does that work? Maisie Lockwood, played by Isabella Sermon, is perhaps the most transparent plot device to ever join a Jurassic Park film, serving absolutely no purpose other than to set up a potential sequel.
The film is also chockfull of corny, silly moments – and not in a good way. One such example was Zia, who is in no danger to begin with, pick up a gun and point it at the dinosaur hunters (who outnumber her ten to one). They in turn respond by pointing their guns, and then moments later, they all lower their weapons. Why? Another moment is seeing the villainous Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) sit in front of a computer monitor, as his bank account grows in the reflection of his glasses. It’s all just so cartoonish, it stretches the limits of believability, even for a universe where dinosaurs are recreated with specks of blood.
If nothing else, there were some striking visuals. Watching a volcano erupt as Claire and Owen attempt to escape is pretty cool to watch (complete with a pretty entertaining moment involving Chris Pratt and molten lava), and the film’s lone emotional moment comes about halfway through. I won’t say what it is, but viewers will know it when they see it.
At the very least, the ending of the movie seems to promise a more interesting premise for a sequel, one that has the potential for a franchise reset in a very much needed way. As for Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom: maybe just wait for Netflix.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is currently in theatres.
You can find Shoaib on Twitter at @SNSAlli for plenty of other movie and gaming tweets. Also, sports sometimes because why the heck not?