I had a recurring feeling during most of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – disappointment. I went in optimistic, thinking at the very least it would be entertaining and most likely a fun time. I’m sad to report that I feel as if it was easily the worst film in the franchise, and it wasn’t that enjoyable even.
Fallen Kingdom opens up three years after the events of the first film. The park on Isla Nubar is abandoned and the dinosaurs roam free there. A U.S. Senate hearing back in the United States debates whether or not the dinosaurs on Isla Nubar should be saved from a volcanic eruption that’s going to happen soon. Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is there and giving his opinion! It’s great to see Dr. Malcolm back, and even though his role in the film is so tiny, it’s one of the best parts. He believes the dinosaurs should be left to die as they never should have been brought back to life in the first place. He believes nature is correcting the mistake John Hammond made many years ago.
Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) has created the Dinosaur Protection Group which is aimed at saving the dinosaurs. She is contacted by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), Hammond’s original partner in creating the dinosaur-cloning technology. Lockwood and his right hand man Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) are planning to move the dinosaurs to a different, new island that will act as a sanctuary for them. Mills tells Claire that they need velociraptor Blue but that he’s concerned at how difficult it will be since she’s so intelligent. He wants her help getting Blue back.
This is where Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) comes in. Claire goes to find Owen and he’s working on building a house in a small, rural town. At first he isn’t interested, but after a night of rewatching videos of him with Blue, he decides to join the mission. Along for the ride are paleo veterinarian Zia Rodriguez (Danielle Pineda) and former park technician Franklin Webb (Justice Smith). When they actually get to Blue, the mercenaries on the island shoot tranquilizers into her and one of them shoots her after she attacks him. Owen, Claire, and Franklin are all left for dead by the mercenaries and Zia is held captive so that she can work on healing Blue.
The volcano erupts and Owen, Claire, and Franklin narrowly escape death as Isla Nubar is completely destroyed. They make it onto the freighter carrying all of the dinosaurs just in time. Mills double crossed Claire as well as Lockwood, and his actual intention is to sell these dinosaurs to the highest bidder. The rest of the film mainly takes place at the Lockwood estate, and I won’t divulge the details here.
My problem with Fallen Kingdom is that it’s not very compelling, original, or exciting. The attempts at humor mostly fall flat, the plot feels weak, and the action isn’t that gripping. There are some cool scenes with the dinosaurs, it’s nice to see Owen and Claire back on screen as well as Dr. Malcolm for his very small role, and it is cool that some of the plot connects in a way to the original Jurassic Park. But it feels quite generic and dull otherwise.
Mills is not a good villain. He seems like an amateur and just somewhat cheesy in his ways. I felt like this about multiple characters, especially the bad guys, in the film. They made me roll my eyes more than be fearful of what they may do. Even the Owen-Claire storyline felt rushed and thrown together.
It really felt like a film that exists to bridge the gap between Jurassic World and the third film. It does set up a potentially epic climax for the third film, but they really should have come up with something more interesting for this second part. I love this film franchise so much, and while I enjoyed the first film of this new trilogy, this one fell flat for me. Here’s to hoping they can course correct with number three.