Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom falls short of original

Published Aug 12, 2018 at 9:00am

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the most generic film in this popular dinosaur franchise. We are very far removed from the prestige and the majesty of the original Jurassic Park.

The Jurassic World sequel, playing now at Rome Cinemas 8, is nearly indistinguishable from any other CGI-heavy monster movie these days. This one just happens to star raptors as the monster stalking our heroes through the shadows.

There are plenty of other dinosaurs in Fallen Kingdom, but they serve as little more than window dressing and fan service.

Fallen Kingdom is the follow-up to the hugely popular Jurassic World from 2015, which itself was an attempt to relaunch the Jurassic Park franchise after more than a decade. In the new movie, stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reunite to save as many dinosaurs as they can when the old park erupts in a giant volcano. That the plan goes awry and scary dinosaur shenanigans ensue is just how Hollywood works.

This volcanic eruption leads to a pretty exciting series of action scenes where humans and dinosaurs scramble from each other and dangerous lava flows. The movie wastes no time getting back to dinosaur island, and the action never slows down from there. Pratt, Howard and their new forgettable supporting characters and villains encounter one death-defying scene after another in typical action movie fashion.

Nonstop actions makes for solid movie entertainment. The problem is that none of it has much depth or meaning, with a simplistic story and little to no character development.

If all you want to see is generic action sequences that sometimes involve the occasional velociraptor or T-Rex — but more often than not focus on the human characters — then Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is fine. No doubt being chased through a dark, spooky mansion by a genetically modified super-raptor would be terrifying, but we’ve seen it before and we’ve seen it done better.

What Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has in nonstop action, it lacks in charm and prestige. The normally charismatic Pratt is reduced to little more than your average action hero staple, and all new human characters get roughly one personality trait to hang their entire character on. Nobody learns any lessons or changes over the course of the movie. They all just survive — or don’t — when a bunch of dinosaurs run amok.

Think back to Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park in 1993, more than 20 years ago. Chances are you can still remember all of the characters, even the minor ones, and you can still remember all of the nerve-tingling dinosaur encounters, the unique filmmaking tricks and more than a few of the smaller, dramatic scenes as well.

The original Jurassic Park is fondly remembered by generations of film-goers for many very good reasons. It is so well remembered, in fact, that this new sequel trots out Jeff Goldblum’s original movie character for about five minutes of fan service, for no other purpose than because they can.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has none of that. It is a pale, bargain basement off-shoot of the original Jurassic Park. The fact that so many people will see it, and that it will make a lot of money, is testament to the idea that people love dinosaurs and love this franchise. If only those in charge would make a movie worthy of that love again.