Movie review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the fifth entry in the ever-expanding Jurassic Park saga, and the second film in the reboot series. After the success of the original Jurassic World, a sequel was inevitable. That’s the rule of Hollywood, right? It has to be said that after the first Jurassic Park, the original trilogy’s quality dropped off quite significantly. So is Fallen Kingdom more brontosaurus, or velociraptor?

It’s been three years since the fall of the Isla Nublar theme park, and the world has basically forgotten about the dinosaurs. The unexpected eruption of a volcano on the island leads to renewed interest in the island, however, and reinvigorates curiosity in the abandoned dinosaurs. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is now involved in a pressure group hoping to rescue the dinosaurs from the island. Meanwhile, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is living as a recluse well away from dinosaurs of any sort. Both are recruited by the enigmatic Benjamin Lockwood to assist in an evacuation project. However, other parties are interested in the dinosaurs, and the rescue mission might not be quite as selfless as the pair have been lead to believe…

It’s a safe bet that anyone who goes to see a Jurassic World or Park movie is basically expecting one thing, and that’s dinosaurs. Fallen Kingdom doesn’t disappoint in that respect. The impact of seeing CGI creatures like this is becoming increasingly less effective though. Anyone who can remember seeing the original Jurassic Park will recall just how ground-breaking that was. These days, this sort of seamless, high-quality FX work isn’t just a selling point for a film; it’s expected. The graphics and effects of Fallen Kingdom are very good, but my point is that you are probably going to expect this anyway.

Fallen Kingdom does try to make some interesting points about responsibility. Just because we can create these majestic animals, does that mean we should? And once we have mastered this sort of science, where does it end? Do we have a responsibility to the things that we create? Although some of these issues are tied to the initial plot hook that gets Claire and Owen to Isla Nublar, they are not necessarily dwelt upon. Again, this isn’t really unexpected – because, as ever, it’s all about the dinosaurs – but there are a few interesting points here.

One thing that always perplexed me about the movies was this idea that dinosaur cloning techniques have become honed, but the surrounding science hasn’t been put to any other use. The original Jurassic Park novel by Michael Crichton made comment on this: for example, the discussions about “getting a dinosaur into every home” and so on. In Fallen Kingdom, a particular character turns out to be the result of an offshoot of the wider science of cloning. Not much is done with the character or where this goes, but it does put the world of Fallen Kingdom into some context. I do wonder whether this will go anywhere in future movies, though. Anything that detracts from the dinosaurs will probably end up being jettisoned in any further film.

The film’s ending is plainly sufficiently open to justify another movie. Like the science of cloning, the dinosaurs are now out of the bottle, and there’s no stopping them. While Fallen Kingdom isn’t the smartest entry in the Jurassic series, it’s entertaining, and it’s definitely better than the progressively worse original sequels. There’s probably still some life in the concept yet, and if you enjoy popcorn flicks with big action sequences and lots of dinosaurs, you’ll probably enjoy Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

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