Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review
When Colin Trevorrow was asked about the idea for Jurassic World, the interviewer brought up the connection to Frankenstein with the creatures that humanity created turning against them. While the connection was there, Trevorrow said he was making more of a statement about society saying that it was about greed. "The first film is about how if there's money on the table, there will be somebody who will do the worst imaginable things, or in a lot of cases, the dumbest imaginable thing in order to get that money. This film (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) focuses a little bit more on our responsibility for these animals that we've made as a result of that greed, but also just the darkest and worst instincts of humans, again, if there's money involved."
In Blue's first appearance in the trailer, Blue is shown perched on top of a heavily damaged Jurassic Park Ford Explorer tour vehicle. This is the same vehicle in Jurassic Park where Dr. Alan Grant rescued Tim at the original T-Rex paddock.
The tagline, "Life Finds A Way," is Dr. Ian Malcolm's quote from Jurassic Park.
Sam Neill was asked if he would ever return to reprise his role as Dr. Alan Grant. His response was that he is open to coming back to doing another movie, but because times have changed he doesn't see that happening. "You never say never, but I think it's moved on. It's different times."
Three years after the Indominus Rex destroyed the Jurassic World theme park, Isla Nublar's once dormant volcano is now active and on the verge of erupting. While the whole United States debate on whether the dinosaurs have rights to live, former Jurassic World manager turned animal rights activist, Claire Dearing, and former raptor tamer, Owen Grady, are hired by Benjamin Lockwood to save the dinosaurs and relocate them to a new island. However, Lockwood's assistant, Eli Mills, has other plans.
Usually when movies are released they are released here in America first. For Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, however, it was released in Europe a couple weeks before the US release. So I got to listen and read non-spoiler reviews and there is a lot of dislike towards this movie. Finally, after waiting for what seemed like forever I went to see the movie on Thursday and my initial reaction to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is that it isn't bad. I actually did like the movie and had lots of fun while watching it. At the same time, I understand why people are upset are disappointed with this movie. First, I want to go over stuff that I do like and go from there.
I really loved the beginning of the movie. It started off very ominous with these two guys looking for the bones of the Indominous Rex. The way the bones were displayed looked very similar to the bones of the original Godzilla from 1954 and it is kind of eerie to see. What makes the scene scarier though is the Mosasaur that is stalking them. You just know that something bad is about to happen when you see the silhouette and see it sneaking up behind them. That isn't all though. There is this technician that was there to open and close the gate to the Mosasaur pool and he wasn't getting a response back from the sub. Then suddenly, the T-Rex appears and chases the technician. The whole time it had me at the edge of my seat and now the Mosasaur has escaped, but you don't hear or see much about it until the very end of the film in a montage of all these dinosaurs that are now set loose through the rest of the world. The opening title is very different from previous movies. Instead of having the title pop up during the introduction, it is all animated showing the lava flowing down and spelling the title along with the logo. If anything, it reminds me of the opening title screen for the movie, Mortal Kombat.
When it comes to the rest of the story, there are some really good ideas that I liked and yet some parts feels rushed. Let us start with what was good about the story. One of the ideas that I do like is this dark direction that the movie was taking. There is this whole debate about whether these man made dinosaurs have the right to live or not and Jeff Goldblum even comes back to reprise his role for a short time as Dr. Ian Malcolm to give his opinion to the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. Dr. Malcolm's view on the world through chaos theory still resonates in his character and you can see that in his argument to let these dinosaurs die. He is really convinced that nature is just correcting the mistakes that mankind has made ever since the birth of the first dinosaur. Another thing the movie really did well was tugging at the heart strings making me feel something towards these dinosaurs. The saddest moment to watch was after Claire and Owen managed to board the boat to escape the island they look back to see a Brachiosaur that was chasing after the boat as well. It was calling and crying for help just begging them to turn around. When the large cloud of ash surrounded the dinosaur the scene only left a silhouette of the Brachiosaur for the viewer to see. The one last idea that I liked was that the movie did go for that Frankenstein style of theme, but it didn't go far enough with it. When I say that the movie didn't go far enough with the theme I mean Dr. Henry Wu could have really been the main villain in this. BD Wong returns to continue his character's story as Dr. Henry Wu, but now works for Eli Mills to help create a smaller version of the Indominus Rex called the Indoraptor. BD Wong just plays that Dr. Frankenstein role with his character just perfectly and it is a shame that he is so underused. Perhaps that is what the movies are working him up to be, but I honestly hope that the next movie really builds up towards Wu being the main villain because there is so much potential ideas to work with this character.
The bad parts of the story has to do with the script itself. It was very telling that they really needed more time to work on the script because there were parts of the movie that needed to be expanded or explained more thorough. Even most of the jokes in the movie really fall flat and it mainly has to do with that character, Franklin Webb, played by Justice Smith. Franklin is written as a big scaredy-cat. A real wuss. Every tremor he hears he thinks that the T-Rex is coming after them. The only scene that I did find funny was when the Baryonyx appears and tried to reach for him and Claire despite the lava dripping down from the ceiling. I knew that it wouldn't happen, but I was really rooting for the Baryonyx to chomp down on Franklin. When the first half of the movie finally starts bringing our heroes to Isla Nublar to "save" the dinosaurs and Owen's pet raptor, Blue, the movie has no time chill. There is so much going on that the movie jumps everywhere from finding Blue to being betrayed mercenaries that were hired by Mills to everyone trying to make it off the island alive. Through it all, it seemed as if all the writers did was that they took the ideas from The Lost World: Jurassic Park and shortened it. The movie even mentions The Lost World: Jurassic Park when Lockwood quotes Hammond that we should just step aside and let nature take care of it. Here is another idea that does not do very well. Benjamin Lockwood was apparently an old friend of John Hammond and that they came up with the genetics idea together, but they had different ideas on how to approach it. There is this sort of twist that reveals how both Lockwood and Hammond parted ways that has to do with Lockwood's granddaughter, Maisie. The movie makes it very obvious before the reveal what Maisie is like how someone nudges their elbow and winks at you when they're implying something. I understand that it was trying to play with the ethics vs. morals idea, but the twist was poorly done as in the end I already knew the twist before the reveal. Then there is Lockwood's assistant, Eli Mills, who is the real villain of the movie. You find out that he only wants to save the dinosaurs so he can sell them at an auction to politicians as weapons. This is where Trevorrow's idea of greed really kicks in and this is actually quite terrifying to watch. It made me not want to see any of the dinosaurs get sold like that and it really shows just how far Mills has fallen to his own greed. I don't mind this guy being the main villain, but he reminds me too much of Hammond's nephew, Peter Ludlow, the bad guy from The Lost World: Jurassic Park. He just felt uninspired and this is another reason why I was really wanting Dr. Wu to be the main villain. There is an end credits scene that is REALLY not worth watching. I have gripes toward end credit scenes since they are so over done that most them is not worth sitting through. However, the scene at the end of the credits just takes the cake. It really is basically nothing as all it shows are three Pteranodons flying to Paris(?) and landing on top of the Eiffel Tower. This scene was sort of hyped up like it was a big deal when it really wasn't. I was hoping to see something like one of the classic characters or perhaps a mysterious egg appears and starts hatching or maybe even King Kong (I'm actually kidding about this), but either way just something that acts as a teaser for the next movie. I will even take the Spinosaurus. It's time for that T-Rex vs Spinosaurus rematch anyways. The scene is garbage and not worth sitting through the whole credits for. If you want to watch it, you can find it on YouTube.
I don't usually bring up the music because it is usually similar soundtracks from previous movies. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, most of the soundtrack is very different and much more epic and I actually love it. The only problem is that it sounds so out of place despite being done very well. I think perhaps it is the kind of music that I am in tune to hearing the same soundtrack over and over that it isn't expected. Either way, I like the change of the music.
The Indoraptor is amazing and horrifying. Its main genome is of the Velociraptor and the secondary gene of the T-Rex. It is the same as the Indominus Rex, but the Indoraptor is half the size of Indominus, is charcoal grey with yellow stripes going along the sides of the hybrid's body, has the toe claws like the Velociraptor, and is trained to aim and attack any target at the sound of high pitched noises. One of the things I love about this hybrid is its intelligence. At the sight of one of the mercenaries, the Indoraptor decided to play possum after being shot with a couple tranquilizers. Afterwards, you can say that the merc really gave the Indoraptor a hand.....What? I thought that was funny. Anyways, the creepiest part about this hybrid are the scenes where he stalks his prey. In one scene, Maisie went to hide in her room and hid under the covers. The Indoraptor was still able to track her down as it slowly slithers down to reach for the balcony door going inside Maisie's room, you can see the monster's shadow from the flash of lightening. After entering her room, the creature slowly walks up to the bed knowing that its prey is in reach and taking one of its large claws slowly extending to reach for the girl. This certain creepiness coming from the Indoraptor was done quite well and had me at the edge of my seat.
Last, but not least, I want to bring up the fact that the previews for the movie has been spoon fed to everybody ever since the first trailer. It's so hard to try watching the previews for any movie expecting that there will be more than shown when in reality we were given the whole movie in one or two previews. This is a clear problem that does not only involve Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but with many other movies. The amount of spoilers in movie previews leaves no room for any surprises at all when the movie is released. By the end of the movie, it leaves the audience with disappointment and a lack of satisfaction. I could say, "Oh, people just need to stop watching the previews and it's their own fault for watching it," but I'm not going to because we shouldn't have to feel guilty about watching a preview. Previews are only suppose to give you a little taste of the movie, not the whole meal in two bites. This is clearly the fault of the filmmakers and the studios that they release these spoiler heavy movie previews, not the audience.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has a ton of flaws that could have been straightened out in the script. It is not as great as Jurassic World, but I still had a lot of fun watching this movie. If anything, it is on par with The Lost World: Jurassic Park. While that movie was not amazing either, it was still just as fun and watchable as this movie. If you ever decide to go see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, do so without any expectations.