Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the sequel to the financially successful 2015 film Jurassic World. The sequel is directed by A.J. Bayona as World director Colin Trevorrow takes a back seat as executive producer and writer. Despite this change of direction from the first, this film still suffers in not only the story department but thematically as well, as Fallen Kingdom is a jumbled mess of stereotypes, tired tropes, and unclear thematic conviction. All of this is coupled with the fact that both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard needlessly reprise their roles in the film, as both of their characters are laughably reduced to wasted potential, even more so than in the previous film.
Opening with a court room scene that addresses the violent ending of the previous film, the filmmakers try desperately to win over the audience from the previous film, when in reality most are likely savvy to the fact that this sequel truly has no reason to exist—its story is a pale imitator of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. This added ‘social commentary’ on species preservation ends up going nowhere as the film starts off with a firm message from Jeff Goldblum’s character, Ian Malcolm, about how dinosaurs had their moment of life on Earth but then—defying all character and structural logic—makes a complete 180, as he decides that the world needs to live with dinosaurs and that a new era has dawned on this ‘Jurassic World.’
As the story begins, we see Howard’s character, Claire Dearing as the head of a dinosaur preservation campaign that is trying to secure government funding to relocate the dinosaurs to another island that doesn’t have an active volcano—a rather large mistake that the designers of this second park somehow overlooked. Despite the fact that the park that she was responsible for running in the first film, being a colossal failure that resulted in the deaths of tens of people. But this of course is glossed over so that the filmmakers can try to get across some sort of environmentally conscious message that is also anti-big corporation—both of which are ultimately directionless in what their goals are or what kind of message the filmmakers wish to convey. The biggest justification for these themes to the audience is contained in the line, “I just had to,” uttered by Isabella Sermon’s character, Maisie Lockwood.
While on the topic of characters in the film, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady has absolutely no development in this film, which echoes a similar lack of growth from the first film, where he just barely learned to care for a small group of friends and loved ones. This is completely retconned at the beginning of Fallen Kingdom, as his character is again alone in the woods, with both children from the first film gone, leaving it yet again up to Claire who must go and seek him out for the sake of the plot. This paper thin line of reasoning doesn’t just stop with the protagonists, as the main villain of this film, Eli Mills, played by Rafe Spall, is an extremely one-dimensional businessman whose only goal is to get more money by selling the dinosaurs that were taken off the island.
These glaring issues with the core themes of the film and the character motivations and story make Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a jumbled mess that tries to hopelessly capitalize off of the name of the first one without actually providing anything new at all in the Jurassic Park franchise. The plot remains as stale as the previous few films, with characters and themes that are one-note and meaningless to the point where their inclusion does not even warrant the film’s existence. The fact that the two faces of the first Jurassic World film were able to be roped back into this film considering the state it’s in is dumbfounding to say the least.