In the summer of 1997 my father, grandfather, and I stood in a very long line outside of the General Cinemas in Mentor, Ohio to see The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the sequel to at that time and still is my favorite film of all time, Jurassic Park.
The aspiring paleontologist in me could not wait to once again see dinosaurs alive on the silver screen. Though the film was a lot of fun and filled with action, it fell short. The mystique of seeing dinosaurs come to life had already happened and the follow-up failed to take the dinosaurs into a new direction. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom falls into the same bland trap as its predecessor sequel did.
Three years after the collapse of the theme park, Jurassic World, the island has gone to pure chaos. Not only do dinosaurs run free, as they did the start of the original sequel, but now a volcano is about to erupt and wipe out all the dinosaurs just like a giant meteor did about 65 million years ago. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is recruited by philanthropist, Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), to return to the island to rescue more dinosaurs, mainly a velociraptor named Blue, in which Claire needs the help of Owen (Chris Pratt) to rescue Blue. After Claire reminds Owen that Blue is his BFF raptor the two of them and a few millennials travel to the island to save some dinosaurs and of course conflict ensues.
After following basically the same plot as Lost World for the first act, the film finally has a few twists and turns to keep it engaging. I was rather bored and checked the time often throughout the film until it finally reached the third and final act. Then it is plot twist after plot twist after plot twist. There are so many plot twists that it is rather easy to miss them. I wish they would lend of few of those for the second act so it was not a snooze fest.
The film fails create that sense of mystery and youthful wonder as Jurassic Park and Jurassic World did. The dinosaurs are already in this world and have been for quite some time. There are no new surprises for the viewers who are quite used to them. With Jurassic World they introduced the giant, aquatic dinosaur and the GMO super dinosaur. The opening scene of Fallen Kingdom highlights the giant aquatic dinosaur as some big surprise, but we the viewer have already had a full film’s worth of this big, bad dino to know it is going to ruin everyone’s day.
Look back at the opening scene of Jurassic Park. Highly skilled men are trying to transport a velociraptor in a well-protected cage and fail to do so, which results in the death of one of the workers. We barely even see a dinosaur, yet we are terrified of her and know from this foreshadowing we are about to see a whole lot more of them and they are very dangerous. The sequels can never live up to the first ones in the series because we already know how dangerous dinosaurs can be.
I am rather confused why Hollywood is now on the path of making sequels, which follow the same story as original films in the series. In the early 2000’s all the blockbuster films were reboots of popular films or TV shows from the 1980’s or older. Then, to no surprise, everyone got sick of those and Hollywood tried to be more creative. So instead they choose to reboot popular franchises but instead of redoing them from the beginning and creating more origin story films, they decided to have the story take place in the same universe as the original films yet follow the same plot points. Star Wars: Force Awakens is incredibly similar to Star Wars: A New Hope in terms of story. The Jurassic Park series followed this pattern with Jurassic World, but continued it even further with Fallen Kingdom. It terrifies me to think the series might follow the third Jurassic Park film, which is outright garbage.
Aside from the fact the film cannot live up to its predecessor or the original film, it is still however, a decent blockbuster film. Pratt is an excellent leading man actor who can maintain a being both an action and comedic star like next to no other in Hollywood today. The special effects for the dinosaurs are unprecedented with a healthy balance of CGI and animatronics. But like many other blockbuster films, it still falls into cliché patterns we have seen many times before onscreen, such as the hero saving the damsel in distress leading lady from drowning seconds before she is out of air.
What I like about the Marvel films, which always dominate blockbuster seasons, is they at least are original, or at least the comic book film industry is still new enough that their cliché troupes are not as noticeable. I recommend everyone to go see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in theaters, but if you are looking a great dinosaur film, then watch the original Jurassic Park for the millionth time.