2018 | DIR. J.A. BAYONA | REVIEW BY GLENN COCHRANE.
Picking up 3-years after the events of Jurassic World, which saw hundreds of theme park visitors ripped to shreds by a menagerie of prehistoric creatures, Fallen Kingdom depicts a society where dinosaurs and humans co-exist (separated by an ocean) and follows a growing social movement to save the creatures from a second-extinction when their island home is threatened by an active volcano. Of course the logical conclusion is simple... no good can come from saving them, let them die.
Much (exactly) like the events of the second instalment, The Lost World, a group of specialists are sent in to examine the creatures, and in this case relocate them to a new sanctuary. Their mission is commissioned by Sir Benjamin Lockwood (John Hammond's former research and business partner) and when they arrive on the island they are beaten to the punch by mercenaries, funded by Lockwood's scheming personal executor, Eli Mills. Cut to the volcano erupting in glorious fashion, dinosaurs freaking out and rampaging, humans running and screaming, and a handful of creatures being shipped to the mainland as live stock for a black market auction (in a top secret bunker beneath the Lockwood estate).
And so there we have it. A stupid and incoherent creature feature that attempts to recalibrate the ongoing narrative by showcasing weaponised cloning (I realised that was a component of the previous film), hybrid oddities and a perplexing private estate setting.
I am an unabashed fan of the series and have seen all of the previous instalments more times than I care to remember, and yet despite my affection for the franchise I cannot comprehend what it has become. That's not to say that I don't understand the storyline, but rather I don't see the progression as being logical, beneficial or integral to Micheal Crichton's original vision, or Steven Spielberg's flawless adaptation. I regarded 2015's Jurassic World with fondness and considered it to be a well measured and respectable revival of the series, and so it is all the more disappointing that they would carry on in such a mundane way.
Perhaps the studio misunderstands the fanbase and they assume that movie-goers simply want maximum dino carnage. Sure, that may have been the case while the concept was still novel, but now that we're up to the fifth instalment I think it's safer to assume that the audience wants a reasonable amount of pseudo science and logic to usher the narrative along. And what is most frustrating of all is that the story provides endless opportunities to explore deeper themes and concepts (such as deep sea exploration) but opts for the simplistic approach... roar, chomp, kill... and repeat.
With a fantastic production design, a marvellous marriage of practical and digital effects, and a strong performance from lead actor Chris Pratt, the film has its strengths. Yet all of the merits are stomped into mud by a sloppy sense of chaos and schizophrenic direction. That once believable universe created over 20 years ago on the basis of an “it could happen” concept, has descended into an unimaginable fantasy with zero realism and a dumb crossing of genres. Suffice to say it is a truly awful film... just awful.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is the second instalment in the revival trilogy, and with the finale revealing the concept for the next chapter, there remains a slither of hope yet. But that hope should not be taken for granted, and should the studio fuck up they will risk killing the franchise entirely and losing a legion of loyal fans. This is it Universal... your final chance!