I clearly recall my reaction to the news that they were going to make a Jurassic Park sequel waaay back in 1997, Spielberg was back? I’m in. Goldblum was back? I’m in. They are using the sequel book “The Lost World” written by creator Michael Crichton as the source material? Whoa, whoa, hold up. Not a good idea. I read the the book a couple of years before and it was awful. It read like a blatant cash grab that was a pale imitation of the original, just bigger and badder like most terrible sequels and just because Crichton (an author who I simply adore) wrote it doesn’t make it worth making. But I had enough faith in Spielberg to give it the benefit of the doubt. Needless to say “The Lost World” is not my favorite of the Jurassic films, and I believe I am in the minority of the people who prefer “Jurassic Park III” over second one. Then I heard that they were bringing the franchise back and of course making it bigger and badder by calling it “Jurassic World” and with none of the original players, only Spielberg as a producer, I felt that same feeling from ’97. And my suspicions were revealed, even though “Jurassic World” made all the money three summers ago, I thought it was the weakest of the series. Until now.
After the incident at Jurassic World there are still people strip-mining the place and a large corporation has decided to take several species off of the island before an active volcano erupts. The group run by former partner of John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and his assistant Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) enlist the help of former employees of the failed park Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Together with some young techs and doctors they join a group of hunters led by Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) to capture Blue the last of the trained velociraptors on the island. So it becomes a race against time to survive an erupting volcano on an island of rampant dinosaurs while trying to save as many of them as possible.
So here we go. First the good thing is this film is a crowd-pleaser in every sense. This is a bigger, louder, more intense version of the previous film. Director J. A. Bayona (The Orphanage, A Monster Calls) does his best with what he is given, as there are several well crafted shots and he does all he can to make the dinos the stars of the show. The bad part of this movie is… everything else. Starting with the script by previous writers and collaborators Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow, the former directing the previous “Jurassic World”, it’s the clear work of a script by committee. And if it’s not that, it’s simply terrible writing. Nothing makes a lot of sense, even for a fiction film set in a world of cloned creatures. And even though it’s an unwritten rule in the ‘Jurassic’ films to have a child somewhere in peril, the one here, Isabella Sermon is shoehorned in the most ridiculous way possible as the granddaughter of Lockwood played by Cromwell who himself was given the same snow white beard and mosquito in amber cane, just so you don’t forget who his friend was. The action borders on slapstick and the editing which is something you are not supposed to notice, is all but forgotten in the last quarter of the movie.
What’s most unfortunate is “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” has a huge group of talent with the likes of Ted Levine, Toby Jones, Cromwell, and even the great Jeff Goldbulm in his 2 minutes of screen time were all helpless and at the mercy of a film that spent 170 million compared to the 1.5 million the rip-off “Jurassic City” cost to make something equal in quality. It’s difficult to lay blame on one person here as this is clearly a group effort to crash this franchise into the ground with a final shot that is supposed to inspire hope of some kind but feels more like the beginning of a horror movie. Perhaps it’s also fitting that one of the plot points of the film is to take parts of dinosaurs and create a genetically altered new dinosaur that ends up destroying everything. “Fallen Kingdom” does the same thing as it takes the best parts of the first four films of this beloved series and alters it so much so that it becomes the fifth ‘Transformers’ movie.