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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom **

Cash grab sequel feels redundant and unnecessary. Cool visual effects though! 

Is it worth $10? No  

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” features more types of dinosaurs than in any previous “Jurassic” movie. Surely, you would think, that would mean more opportunities for writers Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow (who directed “Jurassic World”), and director J.A. Bayona, to do something truly creative and unique.

How disappointing, then, that “Fallen Kingdom” is same old same old, and not in a good way. Yes this is a sequel to one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, and you have to give the audience what it wants. Doesn’t the audience also want, though, parts of it to feel fresh? New? Innovative? It’s a downer when you spend 128 minutes watching a movie and leave feeling like you’ve seen it before.



“Fallen Kingdom” is divided into two parts. In the first half, Isla Nublar, the former home of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, is exploding. Literally. Dinosaurs run amuck as a volcano is about to destroy the island. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), who now runs a dinosaur-rights organization (you read that correctly), and Owen (Chris Pratt), who now lives peacefully undisturbed in the wilderness, return to the island to get the dinosaurs out. There’s also a group of jerk mercenaries with a shoot-first-don’t-bother-to-ask-questions-later approach. Dangerous encounters, near escapes and some cool visual effects make this the better half of the film, and even this is only “shoulder-shrug slight smile” good.

After the island the protagonists head to Ben Lockwood’s (James Cromwell) mansion in California, where the “rescued” dinosaurs are held. Lockwood’s assistant Eli (Rafe Spall) runs the estate, and Lockwood’s caretaker Iris (Geraldine Chaplin, Charlie’s daughter) looks after his granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon). It turns out, though, that neither the dinosaurs nor anyone in the house is safe.

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The island descending into imminent danger and chaos? Pretty sure that’s been in every “Jurassic” movie. Dangerous dinosaurs wreaking havoc inside a closed space? If this hasn’t been in every “Jurassic” movie, it’s been in most of them. The point is everything about “Fallen Kingdom” feels redundant and unnecessary, completely void of urgency and conviction. Howard and Pratt don’t exactly phone in their performances, but you get the sense there’s not much challenging them here either.

The issue, one suspects, is that dinosaurs are an inherently limited species to build a movie around, let alone a franchise. They’re big, they’re dangerous. The idea of being able to control them, and them having intelligence, is introduced but is never an integral part of the story. On the big screen we live in an era of superheroes, dazzling visual effects and otherworldly adventures, especially during the summer. Simply put, the “Fallen Kingdom” filmmakers have to be more bold and imaginative than this. By the time the inevitable next sequel arrives, let’s hope they find a way to really expand the story, not restrain it as they do here. The ending lends itself perfectly to numerous possibilities moving forward.

So come on, Hollywood creatives. Do what you get paid millions to do, and we know you are capable of doing well. Do better than “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

Did you know?
Jeff Goldblum bookends the film in a cameo as Dr. Ian Malcolm.