Fallen Kingdom is Exactly That

Jurassic World
Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Director Bayona is great but can’t completely fix a problematic script.

There is a scene in “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom” that is emblematic of the current state of the franchise. As molten lava abounds, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) hop into a military grade truck, floor the RPMs, while barely making the last ship off the island. We’re left to watch a brachiosaurus get consumed by everything left in its wake.

This franchise, at its best, is about the dinosaurs. The 1993 original film became an instant classic because it delivered on that sense of wonder. Fast forward 25 years and the best moments of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” remain as long as the focus is on those terrible lizards.

Director J.A. Bayona is tasked with converting three films into one. There is the opening world of Isla Nublar that are lovingly shot with Easter eggs and fan service. We also have the blockbuster portion of the movie that follows the Spielberg playbook, doling out the greatest hits of movie tropes.

The final third is easily the most unique where Bayona gets to cut loose and make a horror film with the dinosaurs we were just admiring. I would’ve preferred to see all of one film instead of parts of three. If this was intentional by screenwriters Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow (I doubt it), it’s easily the film’s biggest mistake.

Chris Pratt would be infinitely more enjoyable if he was forced upon us. He does play a wonderful Indiana Jones and here we see a fitting audition. It must be. There is no other explanation for the shots and lines that were directly lifted from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Pratt is certainly an A-list movie star in an A-list blockbuster film but the scenes that feature him ultimately didn’t work because this movie isn’t about the actor. He failed to recognize that while getting outshined by a blue CGI raptor.

Same with Bryce Dallas Howard. Our action manic pixie dream girl of sorts was never in any real danger, thus any real stakes. There was never a question of if she’d make it out alive, just when. Still, Howard has some of the best reactions in cinema; shame that this was a wasted opportunity.

Poorly written, brilliantly directed but “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom” can’t help but live up to its name.


JP Spence

JP Spence is a writer, screenwriter, and improviser living in Los Angeles. He previously served as the media critic for the Topanga Messenger and as Editor-In-Chief for the LA Valley Star. You can find Josh @JP_Spence on twitter or at any press screening.

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