by Monica Hayes
J. A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom dinosaurs are fun and entertaining to watch, but that is about it.
Fallen Kingdom begins where Jurassic World left off. It is now three years later and the surviving clone dinosaurs on Isla Nubla are now threatened with extinction by the now active volcano, Mt. Sibo. It is only a matter of time before the volcano erupts, destroying the island killing all of the dinosaurs. Now the debate about whether to save them or let them die is the topic of discussion around the globe. The debate has even sparked Senate hearings to try to pass legislation to that effect. On one hand, we see Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) testifying at a hearing that man has meddled in things he should not have and that God killed the dinosaurs for a reason millions of years ago. Let the volcano do its thing. On the other, Clair Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the former park operations manager of the Jurassic World theme park, turned grassroots dinosaur activist, is doing everything in her power to save them. Side note: How is she not in jail for her actions in the previous movie?
Anyhoo, while going about her daily calls to potential supporters, she receives a call from the Lockwood Estate and is informed that Mr. Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) who worked with John Hammond, wants to meet with her to discuss his plan to save the dinosaurs and relocate them to another island. When she arrives at the estate, she meets with Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), the administrator of the estate who explains Lockwood’s intentions and shows her the island where the dinosaurs will be relocated. Mills also tells her that Mr. Lockwood really wants to save the last surviving Velociraptor Blue; that she is the only person who knows that park like the back of her hand and has the access to the systems that can locate Blue and the other dinosaurs. He further says that all attempts to get Owen Grady (Chis Pratt) on board have failed and maybe she could change his mind. When Claire contacts Owen, he was reluctant to travel back to Costa Rica, back to that island just to save a bunch of dinosaurs. That is until she tells him that Blue is still alive and they intend to rescue her as well. Hearing the news that his beloved Blue is still alive, he changes his mind and is on board.
Now Team Dino Rescue is set. Leading the team is Claire, together with Owen, paleo- veterinarian; Zia (Daniella Pineda) and computer geek Franklin (Justice Smith) are off to save the dinosaurs. Or so they think. When they land on the unstable Isla Nubla, they are met by Ken Wheatly (Ted Levine), the self-proclaimed dinosaur move facilitator. The team quickly mobilizes and sets out to find Blue and the rest of the dinosaurs to get them to safety. Enter about three or more plot twists that can be seen from a mile away.
The performances are as to be expected. Howard and Pratt’s performances nothing to shout about. She is still her bossy self, and he is the Jurassic Star-Lord. They do their jobs well, nothing more, nothing less. Levine and Spall are ok as villains, but honestly, could have been better. Two interesting characters gave Fallen Kingdom a little spark. The first was Smith’s Franklin. His depiction of the terrified computer geek who kept asking if every little noise was the T-Rex and screamed like a little girl every time a dinosaur crossed his path. The second was a little dome-headed dinosaur called Stygimoloch that charged full steam, head first into everything and everyone. Both of these characters added the much comedic relief to what would have been an otherwise humdrum movie.
Let’s not forget the reason for the movie: the dinosaurs! We see all of our favorites. From real dinosaurs such as the T-rex, the Carnosaurs (T-Rex with horns), and Ankylosaurs aka the living tank, to all of InGen’s creations. Including the newest hybrid that you are just going to have to see. All of the dinosaurs get some sort of action in one way or another. Especially, T-Rex and Blue, but that is about it. Once the new hybrid is revealed, and the action starts getting good, BOOM! It’s over.
Fallen Kingdom is the fifth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise and while the cloned dinosaurs have been mesmerizing and terrorizing audiences for past two decades, the franchise is becoming somewhat stale. How many times are we going to see some type of villain who wants to cash in on John Hammond’s creations? In the original, there was a big game hunter on board who just wanted to add a notch on his belt and bag a Raptor. Well, we know how that turned out. In Lost World, the dinosaurs were sought after in order to bring them back to a theme park in San Diego. (Strangely, sounds like a big ape movie we’ve seen before). Fast forward eight years to Jurassic World when after the new hybrid escapes, Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) decides to use Blue and the other raptors to track it down to show how they could be utilized in combat situations. Again, that didn’t end well for him. My point is we have seen this before. It’s the same soup, with one or two added ingredients just warmed up over and over again. Maybe the studios need to head Dr. Malcolm’s warnings and let nature take its course: Let the dinosaurs go extinct, again.
Overall, Fallen Kingdom is an entertaining and funny movie that will bring out the little kid in all of us who love to watch any and everything dinosaurs. The action and special effects are good, the dinosaurs wreak havoc and eat everything, but the screenwriting, plot, and acting are blah. There is one post credit at the very end. My suggestion: YouTube it.