Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Three years after Indominus Rex destroyed the park, the dinosaurs have been left to fend for themselves on Isla Nublar. The island’s long dormant volcano is now showing signs of activity. While the government is debating whether to intervene and save the dinosaurs, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is leading the cause to rescue the cloned dinosaurs. Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) approaches Claire and provides an alternative – he will send a team to retrieve the dinosaurs and deliver them to a remote island where they can live, undisturbed by humans.

Claire recruits Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), a paleo-veterinarian, and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), an IT guy who can help her get into the park’s old systems, to go on the mission with her. Claire also has plans to rescue Blue, the highly intelligent velociraptor who helped save her from the Indominus Rex. In order to do so, she needs the help of Blue’s trainer, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). The team gets to the island as the volcano is coming to life. The dinosaur transport fleet is already at work rounding up some dinosaurs they were able to find. After they find Blue, things take a turn for the worse. Things only go downhill from there.

It has been 25 years since we were first introduced to the cloned dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. We’re now on the fifth movie and we still haven’t learned our lesson.

After much criticism of Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire traipsing through the park and running from the dinosaurs in high heels, the filmmakers decided on a pointed response to the character in an attempt to have us take her more seriously. When Claire arrives at the Lockwood Estate, there is a shot of her feet in heels as she steps out of the car. When she arrives on Isla Nublar, there is a very deliberate shot of her stepping out with boots on. While I get the point they were trying to make, it comes off a little heavy-handed. That aside, the cast does an acceptable job with the script they are given. Howard is compassionate and determined to save the creatures she helped create. Chris Pratt seems singularly focused on saving Blue. Newcomers to the team Daniella Pineda and Justice Smith are welcome additions, adding some comic relief – primarily from Smith. Isabella Sermon joins the film as Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie, in an odd, unnecessary side story. She plays her part well, seemingly only included to make sure there is a child in a primary role. The biggest disappointment, sadly, is Jeff Goldblum. His character was one of the highlights of the original Jurassic Park, so I was excited to see him. Instead of that trademark Goldblum delivery, he is relegated to a small, expository role lacking emotion.

WARNING: I’m going to get a bit spoilery here.

The movie starts off well enough. The park is gone. The dinosaurs roam free, but they face another possible extinction. When Claire and Owen rescue Blue, we find out there are ulterior motives at play. Rather than simply rescue the dinosaurs, the plan is to weaponize them. New species will be created to be controlled and used alongside armed forces. If this sounds a little familiar, that’s because it is almost identical to the plot of Jurassic World. While it does add a slightly new level to the mix, it’s not enough. There is also the story of Maisie I mentioned earlier. There is such an air around that story that I found myself distracted most of the movie trying to figure out what it’s all about.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom follows up with the next logic story in the Jurassic Park saga, but it’s a story I’m not sure we needed to be told. The cast does the best they can with the script. With that in mind, I would say if you’re going to see it, see it in the theater to fully experience it. Otherwise, rewatch Jurassic World or, better yet, Jurassic Park.

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