So, I wasn’t going to review this one for a while, not because I didn’t want to, but because I haven’t had time, and my writing process has been more chaotic than usual lately. Plus Incredibles 2 and Ant-Man and the Wasp came out before I got it up. But then I remembered that I already had this review half-written, so let’s dive into it!
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the big dinosaur movie of the year. It’s basically Jurassic Park 5, if you’re counting, although I’m still not entirely clear whether they wanted Jurassic World to be a sequel or a reboot. Jurassic World was definitely a rehash of Jurassic Park in a lot of ways, and it’s perhaps even more obvious that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a rehash of The Lost World: Jurassic Park (also known as Jurassic Park 2).
But did I like it? It’s middle of the pack, as Jurassic Park movies go. I do believe Fallen Kingdom was better executed that the first Jurassic World. It even told a better story…but it wasn’t Jurassic Park.
My rating: 4 out of 5.
If you’ve seen The Lost World (which I really liked, although its reviews are not great), you already have a basic idea of what happens in Fallen Kingdom. Isla Nublar, the island where the park was built, is being destroyed by a volcano, and John Hammond’s previously unknown business partner, Benjamin Lockwood, wants to send Claire and Owen (the main characters of the previous movie) there to save the dinosaurs. But Lockwood’s evil nephew wants to capture the dinosaurs and sell them, and Claire and Owen have to stop them.
And…all of that reads like am over-the-top rewrite of The Lost World. I didn’t realize just how close it was until I wrote this out. Island under threat? Check. (Although it was simply human interference before, not a volcano.) Evil nephew? Check. (And it was John Hammond’s nephew last time, although Lockwood’s nephew has far fewer qualms about killing people.) Dinosaurs captured and brought to a populated area as a money-making venture? Check. (Though Hammond’s nephew only wanted to start a new park, not sell them to Russian arms dealers.) Seriously, it’s like a caricature of The Lost World.
Let’s look at the positives, though. Fallen Kingdom was actually pretty well-written. There were serious plot holes in Jurassic World, but there were a lot fewer here. In fact the only really big one applies to both of the new movies: What about the other island? You know, Isla Sorna? The second island we saw in Jurassic Park 2 and 3? Aren’t there a bunch of dinosaurs there that are ripe for the taking? Okay, maybe the Marines firebombed the place at the end of Jurassic Park 3 or something, but considering InGen actually got Jurassic World up and running not long after that debacle, you’d think it would still be around. If it was, they could have housed the Indominus Rex there and saved a lot of trouble.
To be fair, the over-the-top action movie style of Fallen Kingdom distinguishes it quite well from The Lost World, and it’s a reasonably entertaining movie. That’s why I said that it tells a good story; it’s just a different story. I even think it’s a story worth exploring, and with Jurassic World 3 slated for 2021, I think we’ll be exploring it soon enough.
Note: of course, there’s still the overarching plot hole of any monster movie anywhere, which is suggesting that a competent law enforcement—or at least a competent military—could not easily take down any flesh and blood monster ever devised by God or man. (Even if it’s Godzilla. Seriously, just watch the 1998 movie. I may be one of the few people who actually liked it, and one of the reasons is precisely because they killed the monster with Hellfire missiles as soon as they got a clear shot, like what would happen in the real world.)