“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” hit theaters this summer. Unlike its 2015 predecessor, which broke the record for highest grossing opening weekend, “Fallen Kingdom” arrived in theatres, made some money, and fell off the radar within a few weeks. And there’s kind of a reason for that.
“Fallen Kingdom” finds Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) teaming up again to help a team capture and relocate the dinosaurs of the now-abandoned Isla Nublar, where an active volcano is threatening a second mass extinction. Of course, it turns out to be a setup in order to move the dinosaurs to the U.S. for black market purposes, as well as to assist with the creation of yet another genetically enhanced killer reptile.
The story is basically a repeat of the first “Jurassic World” — ignorant humans mess with science they shouldn’t for their own gain and make an evil dinosaur that kills everyone. The main-protagonists-are-the-only-logical-human-beings cliché is hardly uncommon in monster movies, but it’s relied on far too much here. Everything is predictable — you know every stupid decision each character will make long before they make them. It worked in “Jurassic World” because the environment and characters were being newly introduced, but here, it just feels like a rehash.
I’ll give the screenwriters credit for a somewhat creative twist at the end regarding one of the side characters. I won’t spoil it, but it did catch me off guard enough to make the film memorable. The problem with it was that, while unpredictable, it contributed nothing to the overall plot of the story. If you take it out, the end wouldn’t change a bit. This upsets me a little because there was so much more they could’ve done with it. It was the most memorable part of the film, but at the same time, had nothing to do with it.
In the movie’s defense, it isn’t meant to have a nuanced plot. It’s meant to have enough of a story to create opportunities for killer dinosaurs to fight and kill idiotic humans while Chris Pratt makes sarcastic comments and kicks butt. And on that, it delivers. The opening scene is fantastically intense, and the rest of the action is entertaining enough to distract from the lack of engaging plot.
If you’re into blind, exciting action, then you’ll enjoy “Fallen Kingdom” just fine. But if you’re hoping for something more substantial, then I’d recommend you turn to the original “Jurassic Park” film.