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Review - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The "Jurassic" series of films appears to be devolving. Unlike the genetic creations that pepper the Jurassic World film, the human characters are not getting more advanced. Seriously, has any collection of people in a film been on the whole dumber than the ones found in Fallen Kingdom.

Returning are our heroes from the previous film. There is Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) who is just trying to build a cabin when Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) comes to convince him that saving man-eating dinosaurs from a volcanic island is a good idea. Claire is now working for an animal rights group trying to save all dinosaurs. Her character here feels so far away from who she was in Jurassic World that one wonders how the director of that film could have written this one. She was a corporate snake who barely escaped the island from being dino-food who somehow turned into a bleeding heart for the very things that she exploited. It really doesn't make any sense but then little does here.

Owen and Claire's trip to Volcanic Death-trap Island, or Isla Nublar as the film calls it, is funded by the late John Hammond's partner Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell). Lockwood loves the creatures he helped create and convinces Clair that he means well. His overseer of his fortune may have different plans though. Soon they are off to the ruins of Jurassic World with Zia (Daniella Pineda), a paleoveterinarian, and Franklin (Justice Smith), a systems analyst. Zia and Franklin don't feel like real people but instead serve the script in a few necessary ways.

Things soon get dangerous as the island becomes lava and the dinosaurs aren't exactly cooperative in going back in cages. Blue, the velociraptor Owen trained, is a key player in the film and clearly, the only intelligent being the film has. Since the series needs to do something new, the dinos are brought back to Lockwood's estate where chaos soon ensues.

This does lead to a few striking images thanks to director J.A. Bayona. His previous films such as A Monster Calls and The Orphanage show his love for monsters and nightmarish imagery. In applying this style to dinosaurs, he is able to offer a new take on how these creatures look. However, the script is such garbage by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow that this style ends up amounting to very little. Bayona tires to spin straw into gold but ends up with glitter, fun for a minute but mostly it is just a mess.

Fallen Kingdom can never decide how it wants to feel about the dinosaurs. At first, we are meant to buy into the noble act of saving them but soon they turn into monsters out of a horror film and the film routinely hangs on their menacing qualities over trying to capture any of the awe that the original film had. The film ends up feeling like a cheap cash grab instead of having any narrative purpose to exist. The film sets up another sequel with a strange, out of left field reveal about other genetically created things. Fallen World is proof that the studio behind it was too occupied with whether or not it could make another sequel and never stopped to ask if they should.



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