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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Review

"Edge of Extinction"
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the fifth film in the Jurassic Park franchise and the third in the new continuity. Celebrated Spanish director J. A. Bayona makes his Hollywood debut with this entry in the sci-fi series. Set three years after the events of Jurassic World the dinosaurs face extinction once again due to the volcano on Isla Nublar is about to erupt. The American government refuses to help and the only the Lockwood Foundation the only organization with the resources that are willing to save the dinosaurs. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) are recruited to find and save Blue, the last velociraptor: but people within the Lockwood Foundation have ulterior motives. Michael Crichton, the author of the original Jurassic Park novel intended it to be a one-off story. Crichton was only convinced to write a sequel because fans lobbied him and when Steven Spielberg made The Lost World he ignored a good portion of the novel. There is limited mileage from the Jurassic Park series - Jurassic Park III had a simple rescue mission narrative and Jurassic World retconned the previous two movies out of existence. The screenplay for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom uses plot ideas from the previous films. Like The Lost World and Jurassic Park III characters are recruited under false pretenses with the opening act especially being like The Lost World with Claire going to a mansion deep in the countryside and Owen being convinced to go to Isla Nublar to save a loved one.  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom wallows in nostalgia and fan-service like when two new characters get to see the brontosaurus. The films after Jurassic Park are painted into a corner and the aim of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is to find a way to expand the series beyond the islands and it is done with a clumsy screenplay by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly. The writing duo reuses The Lost World's basic premise where mercenaries bring back dinosaurs to America for profit and the idea from Jurassic World where a military research company want to use raptors as weapons of war. It makes little sense to use wild creatures like dinosaurs as weapons: it's Weyland-Yutani logic. At least the research conducted on the apes in Rise of the Planet of Apes was for medical purposes which had untended consequences. The saving grace of the film is Bayona' direction. Bayona has had a great career so far and was a solid fit for the Jurassic Park series - he started his with the excellent Spanish horror film The Orphanage - he pushed the PG-13 rating as far as he could when he made The Impossible: a drama about the 2004 Tsunami and his most recent film, A Monster Calls had a Spielbergian quality- an emotional journey about a young boy that also featured great CGI effects. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was at its best when the action was set on Isla Nublar. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom provides the special effects spectacle that audience members would want and expect from the franchise. The stand out set piece was when the volcano erupts and dinosaurs and humans run from the lava and the debris: the sequence was capped off with a wondrous single take shot. Bayona also injected some more horror elements back into the franchise. There was tension and a build up whenever a predator is around and prepared to attack. It offers a healthy amount of monster action and there was the occasional moment of misdirection. Howard, Isabella Sermon and Justice Smith were all competing for the movie's scream queen crown. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom did bring in a new cast of characters to join Pratt and Howard. Pratt as Owen is plenty much the same as he was in the previous film, whilst Claire has changed to be an activist and more willing to get stuck in. The sequel addresses criticisms of the previous film by having Claire dress in more sensible clothing and most importantly, footwear. Out of the new cast members Daniella Pineda as Zia Rodriguez, a paleoveterinarian who jumps at the chance to go to Isla Nublar. She was a tough cookie who keeps her cool despite the pressures she faces. Isabella Sermon who played Maisie Lockwood shows she has a lot of promise and Bayona has a knack for getting good performances from young actors. Because a lot of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was filmed in England, the film featured a high number of British actors: Rafe Spall, Toby Jones and Geraldine Chaplin all roles with the action that was meant to be set in America. However, Justice Smith as the tech expert will properly go down as one of the worst characters in the Jurassic Park series. He was a stereotypical black nerd character and his constant whining and screaming was grating. Smith as Franklin was nearly useless to the proceeding and he was the one I hated the most. He managed to beat Kelly and the Kirbys on the irritating stakes. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a titanic struggle between a great director and poor screenwriting and they cancel each other out. Bayona elevates the action and special effects but the franchise as a whole is on the edge of extinction.
  • The first act
  • Strong special effects
  • J. A. Bayona's direction rises above a poor script
  • Peaks in the first act
  • The screenplay


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