Coming from someone who loved “Jursasic World,” I have to say, this was a real disappointment.
This entry, bringing the series to a total of five films, begins a few years after the incident that destroyed the “Jurassic World” theme park and left the island as a jungle, home only to dinosaurs. The island’s fate comes back into focus, though, as early in the first act, the audience learns that the long dormant volcano on the island is now active, and when it erupts, it will cause the “re-extinction” of the dinosaurs.
With that in mind, a man in charge of a billion-dollar estate named Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) hires raptor handler Owen (Chris Pratt) and the manager of “Jurassic World” Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to lead a rescue expedition. Upon arriving, though, the protagonists uncover that the mission is more than just providing aid to a species.
Right from the start it’s hard not to be cynical about “Fallen Kingdom,” considering the nonsense premise to set things up. The idea of using man power and risking lives to save a bunch of lab-created dinosaurs that were responsible for multiple deaths over decades just seems nonsensical. As the film moves on, the audience learns what’s really going on behind the scenes, and it becomes a convoluted affair.
As the movie went from its first act to its second, I found myself less concerned about the inane set-up and more about just how boring this thing was. The movie’s middle is a huge lull, with the only thing really going on are the lead characters sneaking around on a ship while the baddies snicker about how much money they’ll make if they get their hands on the dinos.
If the mundane ‘evil corporate suits want to do evil things for money’ wasn’t enough to warrant a poor review, the picture also has an inconsistent tone. Sometimes it comes across as a lighthearted adventure with comedy, at others it wants to be a dark and gritty take on “Jurassic,” sometimes it’s like an action picture and at others it’s reminiscent of a horror flick. Not only does this make for a jarring experience, but it also doesn’t help when the movie tries to get philosophical, which just come across as phoned in.
With all that said, this movie could have been OK. Things like this could be brushed aside, since the movie does have some entertainment value. But, unfortunately, the film also has its characters, with the majority of them making incredibly stupid decisions.
One of the major issues the film faces is its characters doing things that basically let these dinosaurs loose. Not even a spoiler, one of these moments happens in the first few minutes. I kept thinking about this scene from “Seinfeld” the whole time.
In all fairness, I will say that Owen and Claire help things. Both Pratt and Howard are solid performers and bring some charisma and charm to their characters. As a result, the audience can at least root for the protagonists. Still, the romance between the two characters still doesn’t work too well.
The rest of the characters are completely stereotypical, though. Mills? Typical greedy man with ulterior motives. Ted Levine’s character? Nothing but a no-nonsense, former military tough guy.
Oh, and then there are the completely one dimensional side-kick characters to Owen and Claire, named Franklin (Justice Smith) and Zia (Daniella Pineda). Zia is simply a hothead while Franklin is an annoying scaredy-cat who screams with a high pitch voice whenever a dinosaur appears.
So, one might be wondering at this point about the action and the thrills. Well, they’re there. Moments where they’re trying to escape the island features some engaging stuff and a few of the sequences in the third act provide entertainment. However, nothing here even came close to the entertainment value the previous movie provided.
In the end, “Fallen Kingdom” is a very poor entry in the series, especially since it basically gives the middle finger to any viewer who has an ounce of common sense in the final 10 minutes. Again, there’s some eye-candy here, but that’s about it. 1.5 out of 5.