I urge you guys to reminisce on the sense of amazement you felt watching Jurassic Park however many years ago, amazing right? Chances are that we’ll never experience that feeling again in regards to the Jurassic Park franchise. Watching these incredible dinosaurs of Jurassic Park was a landmark in cinema history, from a technological and story telling standpoint. In 1993 Steven Speilberg made a family film while blending aspects of horror, science fiction and action to make the perfect summer blockbuster.

That was than, this is now.

Set three years after 2015’s franchise reboot Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that has emerged as active and ready to change the landscape of Dinosaurs. While uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet, it’s up to Owen Grady and Claire to find a way to put a stop to evil corporate plans that put the whole planet at the risk of extinction.

After making an Argentinosaurus huinculensis (google it) sized amount of money, it was inevitable that we’d get a sequel. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is finally upon us, and as the fifth movie in the franchise it provided some high expectations from myself when J.A Bayona (A Monster Calls, The Orphanage) became attached to the product for his first blockbuster directorial debut alongside some impressive trailers.

If only someone told me the best parts of the movie are in the trailers.

Director J. A. Bayona tries his very best and employs every trick up his sleeve and delivers from a directorial standpoint to stimulate our senses, but writers Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly deliver an absolute mess of a script…again. Bayona fills this film with clever shots and visual cues reminiscent to the original, these shots truely leave you in awe. Filled with wide shots and striking the perfect balance between animatronics and CGI to create the perfect visuals for a dinosaur. Bayona also manages to extract much better performances from his actors than Trevarrow— especially Howard, who gets to move Claire away from the her wide-eyed incompetence and downright annoying character in Jurassic World toward a much more independent and likeable character.

There are a couple of moments of excitement in the first half of the film that had me giddy in excitement just realizing this may be the best installment since the inaugural Jurassic Park. The film has a thrilling opening as you watch a bunch of no-name henchmen become fodder to a sea-beast. And there are tense moments as Owen struggles to survive with Claire and a computer geek named Franklin (we’ll get on him later) whilst rescuing the dino’s from the volcano.

Too bad that’s where the positives end.

About half way into the film, the movie decides to take a turn and become a whole thing in it’s entirety and fails miserably.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom did something that I have never thought that it would do, the film makes dinosaurs feel ordinary. This film takes the larger than life, breathtaking creatures we love, and turns them into less than spectacular. This all includes the Indoraptor, the mediocore (at best) deadly new breed of dinosaur they have created.

Fallen Kingdom’s characters feel like collateral damage and drag down the film in it’s entirety. Pratt does his best with the work he is given and so does Bryce Dallas Howard but the rest of the human cast is either filled with cartoon, mustache twirling villains or screaming and clueless human beings. Fallen Kingdom introduces two new side characters, Zia (Daniella Pineda) and the Jar Jar Binx of the Jurassic World universe with Franklin (Justice Smith), not to mention the extremely forced in character played by young child actress Isabella Sermon. If the dinosaurs didn’t need flesh to scratch and rip apart, the franchise would benefit by making the Dinosaurs top billing and I wish I was joking.

Fallen Kingdom kicks off with a moral question that teases and pokes at the philosophical dilemma of the original.Should humanity save them or should we let them die as they were never really supposed to be around in the first place and were only made due to human curiosity. But this dilemma lasts approximately five minutes at the beginning of the film and is swept under the rug until the last 10 minutes of the movie.

Originally I wasn’t going to mention it because I thought it would be spoilery in it’s nature but I have an obligation to tell you that there are returning characters from previous films that are more cameo’s than anything, that downright destroy and hate them as characters.

There is some fun to be had with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on it’s surface level and if you have no emotional connection to the predecessor you can enjoy Fallen Kingdom as a monster movie. But that’s not what Jurassic Park is, and unfortunately that’s what the franchise has become. Fallen Kingdom is essentially a stepping stone(aka filler) and serves as a means of leaving the park behind in favor of the inevitable final chapter that this film has been building up to, and that’s a shame. Fallen Kingdom is everything that I feared that the original Jurassic World was going to be, a downright mess of a film due to the incompetence of understanding what made the original so pure and amazing.

Grade:D+

Ananth Para
paramana@mcmaster.ca

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