The original Steven Spielberg movie from 1993, “Jurassic Park,” will always be a classic with its breathtaking visuals of the dinosaurs being brought back from the dead. Then it sparked two sequels, which weren’t as good as the original. And then in 2015, the name was changed to “Jurassic World,” and Chris Pratt played the macho hero Owen Grady. I liked that one because of its goofy fun and Pratt’s fun performance. Its latest sequel “Fallen Kingdom” offers the same nice dinosaur visual effects, but in my perspectives, it’s too self-congradulatory, generic, and noisy to be fun.
The dinosaurs on Jurassic World are up for extinction, because of the soon-to-be-erupting volcano, and the question is whether they deserve to live or not. So far, most people, including Dr. Ian Malcolm (the one and only Jeff Goldblum), suggest they should die for the sake of mankind, while Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is part of an activist group with Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith)-all wanting these creatures to live.
Then out of the blue, John Hammond’s old friend Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and his assistant Eli Mills (Race Spall) have an island, which will protect the dinosaurs from extinction. The rarest dinosaur, whom they calls Blue, is more complicated to catch, so she turns to Owen Grady.
Then the volcano erupts, destroying the island, and they make it off the island, but that’s not the end of their problems. They’ve been doubled crossed, and the soldiers (led by Ted Levine) have Blue and a few other dinosaurs. Actually, Eli has a plan to sell them, and to create a new kind of species, making it into a weapon. And then there’s Lockwood’s granddaughter Maisie (newcomer Isabella Sermon), who overhears his plan.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” this time directed by J.A. Bayona, is too generic and routine to be fun. The trailer gives away the story, so it’s not surprising, and there’s a small plot twist that isn’t really explored.
It has supporting characters who are annoying and standard, like Zia and Franklin; famous characters who are given cynicism (also with Goldblum is BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu); and apparently, aside from Pratt’s macho movie charms, the only good new character is the villain Eli, played charismatically by Spall, but he has to be part of the series’ cliche: all villains must be eaten. And Sermon is a fine newcomer, but her character is just a simple kid.
But the biggest problem is its showy appearance. It promotes itself as epic masterpiece, given the fact that “Jurassic Park” is one of the most popular franchises, and all we have are explosions, chases, screams, violence, predictable moments, a few stupid routine mistakes, and standard characters.
For example, when characters climb ladders or hide in dumbwaiters, they have to give dramatic pauses before they escape or die. Don’t just stand there, go! Today’s action movies deserve smarter characters than these.
I’m a big fan of “Jurassic Park,” especially its ride at Universal Studios, but this sequel feels too much. Movies like “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “Blade Runner: 2049” don’t exploit the classics for money. They exploit them for the pure magic that made their predecessors classics. And with all that money this sequel is making internationally by far, you know you’re in for more copies.