Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is another addition to the popular franchise directed by J A Bayona and starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. It’s been 3 years since the fall of the ultimate theme park, and our heroes are returning to the park, but this time to rescue the dinosaurs that are about to be wiped out again, this time by an active volcano.
Obviously at a Jurassic movie, the most interesting thing on the screen is the dinosaurs, and this entry is no exception. The creature effects are nothing short of amazing, and I’m pretty sure there was a good mix of CGI and practical involved, to bring them all to life. You know that the effects are above par when you stop noticing them, and the film succeeds in convincing us that the dinosaurs are actually on the set and terribly good at hitting their marks.
The first act here is terrific, and the action gets going pretty quickly, but I have to say that despite a fantastic opening gambit, things start to slide a little in the middle. I don’t want to drop any spoilers, but once the meat of the story actually got going and we are let into the evil machinations of the supporting cast, I lost a bit of interest, and that’s a shame. Things go South quite quickly plot wise, and I found myself wishing they had stayed on track with what I can only imagine was probably the initial premise.
You see, the idea that the dinosaurs are in trouble and the humans had to intervene to save them is a good premise, and there is a set piece in that first reel with the volcano erupting and the monsters charging wildly while our heroes are on foot trying to avoid being burned to death and trampled at the same time, and it’s really very gripping. If that scene, which by the way is quite heavily shown in the trailer, had came at the climax of the film, I don’t think there would have been many complaints. The tension had built and the scene looked great and was very exciting, but the trouble was the film still had a lot of run time left, and it didn’t really manage to top that initial moment.
Of course there were other fine pictures painted by director Bayona, and it’s interesting to note that some of the later memorable images all came in the form of the horror and violence of the dinosaurs themselves. Bayona lifted many Spielberg-esque tropes into a visually different direction using shadow and reflections to great effect in some of the creepier quieter moments. His strength definitely seemed to be in the more visceral aspects of the screenplay, and I wish that the powers that be had allowed him to go full steam ahead in this area, however we have to remember that this is a beloved, often family friendly franchise, that the executives probably didn’t want to see tilt over into an R rated blood fest. However there are still a few shocks to be had here, and one or two very grizzly moments that your average 10 year old would have found genuinely scary. Not “The Orphanage” scary, but still…
Pratt and Howard are as you would expect them to be, and there are some other characters that I’ve noted down as “sciencey girl” and “nerd scaredy cat” so you get the picture there. Toby Jones, who is contracted to be a bad guy in every major franchise these days, devours the set and his lines more than the dinosaurs do and by the end I was kinda glad it was over.
I know I’m not really the target audience for this film, so don’t take this review to heart, although I wasn’t the target audience for the new Jumanji movie, and I loved that, so go figure. All in all fans will probably get a lot from this and it does set up the next outing so I don’t think we have seen the last from this property.
Take the kids and enjoy the technical aspects for yourself.