By Bradley Griffith
Sequels are generally a hit or miss proposition. They are usually great or truly terrible. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is neither. It’s not nearly as good as its predecessor or the original “Jurassic Park” movie, but it’s not terrible either. The movie is a typical summer blockbuster film filled with action, outrageous stunts and great special effects.
The theme park from “Jurassic World” is in tatters and has been abandoned. The jungle and the remaining dinosaurs are reclaiming the island of Isla Nublar. But the biggest problem is that the formerly dormant volcano on the island is now active. Small eruptions are happening on a frequent basis, with the specter of an island destroying eruption occurring at any time.
In the United States, a heated debate is raging across the country. Do dinosaurs deserve to be preserved like any other animal on the endangered species list, or should the dinosaurs become extinct once again when the volcano blows? Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), former operations manager of Jurassic World, has created a non-profit group to help secure the safety of the dinosaurs.
Claire is hired by the estate of Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) to help rescue the remaining dinosaurs and relocate them to another island where they can live out their lives in peace. The only issue for Claire is that she needs someone to help her who knows how dinosaurs think and that has a history of controlling dinosaurs. In short, she needs Owen Grady (Chris Pratt).
Owen trained the Velociraptors of Jurassic World to follow his commands. Blue was the leader of the Raptor pack and is the only Raptor still alive. Claire needs Owen to help capture Blue so they can relocate him to safety. When they arrive on the island they are introduced to the real truth behind this expedition. A group of mercenaries has been hired to capture one of each of the species of living dinosaurs and get DNA from those dinosaurs that are dead. These mercenaries don’t care about the animals or what will happen to them, only about their payday.
I wanted to be wowed and amazed by “Fallen Kingdom.” Its predecessor was a surprise both in terms of quality of the film and at the box office. It remains the best of the Jurassic Park series of movies. But even though I wanted to be amazed and wanted to love “Fallen Kingdom,” it didn’t rise to the level of “Jurassic World.”
“Fallen Kingdom” brought back the two main stars in Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. The movie returned the action (for the first part of the movie) to Isla Nublar. It returned your favorite dinosaurs, including the Velociraptor and T-Rex. But it just didn’t capture the same movie magic that was found in “Jurassic World.”
First of all, the story was a little contrived. It was obvious from the beginning that there was something rotten at the estate of Benjamin Lockwood and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that Claire was being duped and blinded by her passion for saving the dinosaurs. I won’t spoil the story for you, but the reason for capturing the dinosaurs and bringing them back to the United States was, well, stupid. It felt like the movie was rushed to theaters to take advantage of the huge box office of the previous movie. Unfortunately, the story suffered.
There were good aspects of the movie. In addition to the great actors, great action scenes and great production of the movie, the special effects were flawless. I don’t know how the filmmakers did it, but it appeared that the dinosaurs were real and were right there with the actors on screen. The deadliest dinosaur ever was created for this movie. The Indoraptor is a combination of the Indominous Rex from “Jurassic World” and a Velociraptor. Not only was it deadly, but it also looked evil.
It should be no surprise that “Fallen Kingdom” excelled in the action scenes and disappointed in the story. It should also be no surprise that at the end the T-Rex is still the king of the dinosaurs, or that another Jurassic World movie is in the works.
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Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science fiction violence and peril.