Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Spoiler Review

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‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ it’s a fancy title. It’s imposing. It creates an impression of intensity and grandeur. All of which this film did create and deliver as it progressed through its plot-line. There are a handful of large-scale action set-pieces that were very well conceived, as well as some charming moments from the cast. But at the same time, there were a lot of formulaic moments, borrowed elements, and recycled scenes, that hindered me from being fully engaged in what was happening. Something that was compounded by the film spending the bulk of the time on what I felt was the less interesting plot. Which made this movie feel like simply, ‘Jurassic Park 5’ with a level of entertainment you should expect from a fifth entry in a film franchise.

The film does start quick. It grabbed my attention and lured me in with a very interesting, and thought-provoking plot-line revolving around the treatment of animals. You have a volcano erupting on an island filled with man-made dinosaurs that are meant to be extinct. What do you do? Do you try to save different species of animals that are not supposed to be there to begin with, and risk danger to the human population? Or do you let them die through the natural course of nature, knowing you could have done something for these living creatures?

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It was very compelling to think of the directions the story could have spent more time fleshing out. But instead it gives us yet another mysterious, high-class auction for the worst-of-the-worst in the criminal and corrupt underground. Where millions are spent like dollars by ominous individuals in custom tailored attire, drinking obscure liquors, and smoking pricey cigars. To make it even less compelling, the film tacks on a cardboard villain in Lockwood’s assistant played by Rafe Spall. It was such a cliché role that really does follow every beat of the character-arc that you would expect. There is no substance to his character other than simple greed. Which can still work but not when there is no effort taken to make it unique.

There was also no substance to the dino-auction to latch onto either. It is simply slapped in the film to take at face value, and to keep the story going to provide a problem for Pratt and Howard’s characters to overcome. There were some entertaining scenes, and moments of dialogue that hit, but this movie as a whole just felt stale from a story aspect. With too much of a reliance on campy-nostalgia and not on building new story foundations. The interesting aspects of the story for me, were used as plot-devices to propel the flashier plot of a greedy business man selling dinosaurs as weapons. We’ve seen this done so many times. And with this film having so many gaps in the story and holes in the logic it ended up being a movie that entertained when the action was on and lulled me into boredom when it wasn’t.

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The performances were more than serviceable. Chris Pratt was solid, he was charming, charismatic, and he embodies the role naturally once again. Bryce Dallas Howard was also able to add some life to her character. She has a lot more physical demands put on her in this film, and it was enjoyable to see her leave the heels behind to create a capable character that can get things done. Serving as a partner to Pratt’s character and not a sidekick.

But like the script, there was no connectable development to them. The story picks up with both in their current state, you can make some assumptions on where things went after the last film, but they just get plugged into the story and it’s off and running. Ted Levine was fine he always makes the most out of his roles and he did so with another generic-character-type placed in his hands. As for Jeff Goldblum, he was window dressing. I wasn’t expecting a huge role from him, but he was irrelevant to the story with his narration being entertaining to watch, but not essential to anything.

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I think all these shortcomings on the writing side were unfortunate because from a technical aspect it was fantastic film. The visuals were great all around. The direction and cinematography were excellent and there were many immersive scenes that had me up in my seat. The jump-scares were routine at times, but some were well-timed and crafted very nicely to surprise me even when I was waiting for it to happen. The musical score was excellent, and it actually did a great job of building intensity to certain scenes that were not that climactic.

There was an abundance of digital effects, but there were also some awesome practical effects. So, with all the visual appeal in its corner, had the meat of the story been enough to fully invest in, this could have been an excellent movie. I loved the first thirty-minutes and many scenes had my attention locked in. The entire volcano sequence was intense and nicely woven into the story-line. But with a two-hour plus run-time there were still some significant lulls. It’s a fun summer popcorn movie. There is a lot going on from one scene to the next, but there is also a lot of familiar beats as well making it a forgettable blockbuster.

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