Review: Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom

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One of the most vacant, tedious, hollow experiences I’ve had to endure in a while.

With the island dominated by the dinosaurs that escaped the old Jurassic World park, there is a moral debate when a volcano erupts, an event that will kill the animals.  Activists, led by park survivor and CEO Claire Dearing, set out to rescue the animals when political powers agree to let them die. But other organisations have different plans…

Whatever you thought about Jurassic World, we can all agree it wasn’t this bad. If you didn’t like the 2015 film by Colin Trevorrow, avoid this film… there is nothing for you here. There’s little for anyone, to be honest. Cinema Cocoa got a bit of criticism for giving that film a passing grade, but honestly, it did carry some of the themes from the original Spielberg film better than it had any right to. Sure… it had problems, but at least it was exciting.

Fallen Kingdom is not exciting.

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Almost like the genetically modified dinos it features, made up of bits and pieces of older creatures, Fallen Kingdom is a parody made of parts of the films that preceded it. But what results is a hodgepodge of shallow trailer-bait dialogue, empty threats, shoddy special effects, uninteresting characters and set pieces that are more convenient than logical.
“Do you remember the first time you saw a dinosaur?” Bryce Dallas Howard’s returning character Claire swoons. Yes, we do, replies the audience, and it looked a lot better in 1993 than it did an hour ago. This film is doggedly determined to parody the other Jurassic Park films, but extremely badly. The first dinosaur the characters meet, a brachiosaurus. How can you ruin the great, memorable moment in the first film when the T-Rex roars victoriously? Repeat it in every subsequent movie…? No, that isn’t enough! How about having different dinosaurs do it, about four or five times in one film? Hell, the entire premise is ripped from Jurassic Park‘s own wobbly sequel The Lost World: activists returning to the ruins of the island to save someone, and dinosaurs wind up on the mainland. They even took the time to replicate shots from the first film!

But, these are all nitpicks. Fallen Kingdom starts having problems immediately. From an over-done CGI title sequence that reminds us of a Michael Bay film, we get Howard trying to convince Chris Pratt’s returning Owen Grady to rescue the dinosaurs from an exploding island, including his beloved pet raptor “Blue”. Our expectations are subverted as he bluntly declines, saying he would rather let Blue die… This change of heart lasts for around thirty seconds, because if he didn’t go, there’s no movie. Plus there’s no reason for him to think this, no sincerity in his change of heart; we know he cares about his raptors… that was his entire plot in the 2015 film!

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The majorty of the film functions this way, bringing up the most empty threats to our characters time and time again. Without any sense of logic or pacing. Indeed, the film starts out with pacing reminiscent of 2012 (remember that Emmerich film?) then crashes headlong into one of the most absurd and unrewarding final acts I’ve seen in a while. One of the least scary, predictable “horror” tropes in recent memory. Seen the part of the trailer with the girl hiding in bed from the genetically created “Indoraptor”? Thought it was stupid? Yeah, it is somehow stupider with context. The original Jurassic Park was actually scary in places, this film is laughably obvious. Cartoonishly so.
Even technical aspects of the film were bad, something a Jurassic Park movie should manage without issue. The sound editing was poor; weird editing choices, such as making a soldier appear to make a dinosaur noise with a total disregard for diegetic and non-diegetic sound editing. Villains of the movie are completely blind; unable to see heroes sneaking away from them when they would definitely see them in their peripheral vision.
Even characters fail to have story arcs; Owen and Claire don’t grow as characters, they simply goof around and run from dinosaurs and explosions while the plot happens around them. These characters had development in the 2015 film, yet they’ve been given nothing here, not even tropes.

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What’s most bizarre is that the director, J.A. Bayona has made some decent films, The Orphanage, and A Monster Calls – the latter being a film worthy of a top ten spot in 2016. I can only assume the writers and the studio had a hand in turning this into a comedy of errors.

There’s so little here to like… Maybe one or two moments felt worthy of a Jurassic Park movie. One of which was almost emotional, but once again the tone of the movie and the pacing of the movie wasn’t prepping the audience for it, instead distracting them with logistical errors.

Finally Jurassic Park has degraded into the ideals of parody and empty-headed stories. We thought it was bad with Jurassic Park 3, but this newest entry bored me to tears. It is the Terminator: Genisys of the franchise…

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Additional Marshmallows: Whoever paid for the weaponized “Indoraptor” better get their money back; for the “most deadly predator on the planet”, it sure is easily distracted by loud noises.

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