No matter what anyone has to say about Jurassic World, I stand by my upcoming unpopular opinion. The fourth film in the franchise, also standing as a soft reboot for the franchise as well, is in my humble opinion the best sequel the Jurassic Park series has ever received and is one of the best reboots ever made. Although most may disagree, that’s my honest opinion from 2015 to now (Even After Re-watching It Right Before This Particular Screening), which means that my expectations for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom were high. A little too high maybe, but slightly lowered after every new trailer was released. But even so, Fallen Kingdom is a massive disappointment in every regard.
I had so much faith in director J.A. Bayona, with an admiration of his most recent work, A Monster’s Call, making me wonder how this visually creative director would handle a Jurassic Park film, and unfortunately it was certainly not what I expected. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a PG-13 rated film, but it stays safely closer to a PG than any of the previous entries in the series; especially the last film. Every moment that could have been made disturbing or tense is muted by the careless direction and constant cut-aways from the horror on screen. Even one of the best visual scenes in the film is ruined by a wrong choice of score, which will be further discussed in the later category. There was no fun to be had with these dinosaurs. No tension or thrill, but just predictable action that we’ve all seen before, while most resembling what came from “Jurassic World.” Beyond a few innocent mistakes on Bayona’s direction, the remainder of the film feels cheap and amateurish - clearly coming from a director who has never worked on such a big budget film nor ever had the desire to do so.
“The Park is Gone” is the official tagline for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and it is in fact the truth. The park is now gone, and we visually see the destruction of the park, so where does that leave us? That’s the frustrating factor of the entire thing. Where does Fallen Kingdom leave us with once the park is destroyed? This is not a major spoiler. Hell it’s the damn tagline for heaven’s sake. The issue is that the film doesn’t quite know what would make for an interesting story this time around, so it goes in a completely dull and predictable route, although not entirely one that I saw coming all the way through. The small amount of time the audience gets to spend on the island is interesting (at the very least), but is surely short lived - soon becoming a mess of unanswerable questions. The film evolves from another fun Jurassic Park film and into an odd, predictable haunted house|slasher film, revolving around a particular mansion for way too much of the runtime. It’s dull and as previously stated, is predictable beyond a doubt, as it began to make a huge fan of the franchise want to fall asleep watching.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
While I appreciate a good cameo when I can get one, Jeff Goldblum’s appearance was not only given away by the trailers but was ruined substantially by nearly every line, including a spoiler that gives away the ending of the entire picture. Chris Pratt returns as Owen, alongside his co star from Jurassic World, Bryce Dallas Howard, as Claire. The two don’t exert the same amount of chemistry as they do in the first, but their talents aren’t entirely wasted on this B-movie schlock. Although their forgettable romance is not a reassuring reason for anyone to gain faith in the film. However, in comparison with any of their fellow cast, they are genuine rockstars, while not coming off as obnoxious and generic entities. Daniella Pineda along with Justice Smith are the two lead supporting characters in the film, and their performances show nothing but lack of experience and quality in writing. Something I genuinely love to note when the opportunity rears its head, is the fact that child actors can be a nightmare for a movie of any quality and can easily sink a film if a truly terrible one is added to the foreground. This is the unfortunate case for actress Isabela Sermon, who drags this already phenomenally disappointing feature even farther down. As a quick nod to one of the head antagonists of the film, Ted Levine makes a pretty entertaining appearance, and it’s always great to see the man in a role again. Beyond Levine, the antagonists suffer from a lack of interesting character development on screen, partially due to the script and partially due to the weak portrayals the actors are issuing to their characters. This happens with nearly every other character who has not been mentioned to this point, including actors: Rafe Spall, BD Wong, James Cromwell, and especially Toby Jones.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
What happened here? John Williams’ original Jurassic Park score is one of the most iconic pieces of music ever put to screen and represents the magic that the original possessed in its marvelous special effects and thrilling story. Jurassic World built upon Williams’ score and made a fantastic score in its own right, which is one of the pure reasons for my love of the 2015 sequel. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is pathetic with its score, harming every dramatic moment with a cheesy, overdramatic instrumental. The worst of this comes in when quite possibly the best directed scene of the film, and the saddest of the franchise, is hindered by a score that doesn’t match the tone on screen, making it almost offensive to the beautiful death scene. The dinosaurs have lost their spark, and even their ferocious roars are humiliatingly mild when compared to the likes of the original reveal of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. The design is mildly forgettable and doesn’t create a memorable experience in this overly long experience.
Bayona is known for his subtle effects that dazzle when they appear due to their minimal presence. Fallen Kingdom needs CGI every second of the runtime, which doesn’t mean grand things for Bayona’s usual subtle choices. Fallen Kingdom surprisingly doesn’t possess even a moment of bad CGI, but instead an overabundance of it, having too much occurring on screen at once. The visuals are appealing to the eye, but don’t make a lasting impression on the brain - beyond just being decent. The makeup and costume design haven’t changed much from the previous film, but that’s not a bad thing as much as it just ultimately leaves a desire for something more. In actuality, everything in this category is fine. But, sincerely nothing more; visually it is all just fine.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a mess of a film, suffering from a lack of ideas and predictable plotlines. A insufferable score ruins most of the thrilling or dramatic moments, and a generic haunted mansion environment near the halfway mark makes the film suffer further. Fallen Kingdom is possibly the worst film in the franchise, destroying the park itself and spending a majority of the film’s runtime inside an isolated house that tampers on every typical plot point we’ve come to expect from the Jurassic Park series. The film avoids expanding on the elements of Jurassic World that made it entertaining and decides to explore the things that would have best been forgotten - which coincidentally is what Fallen Kingdom is...a film best forgotten.