Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) Cover

Fallen Kingdom reminds me of a quote from Multiplicity: “You know how when you make a copy of a copy, it’s not as sharp as… well… the original?” This is the fifth movie in the Jurassic Park franchise, and up till now they have all felt like pale imitations of the original, none of them capturing that special magic, and each a little fuzzier than the last. Following that trend, Fallen Kingdom is not as well made as the first Jurassic World. Weirdly, though, I liked it more. While the pacing is awkward and many of the plot points are weird or nonsensical, Fallen Kingdom revels in its use of dinosaurs from the very beginning.

Whereas Jurassic World was all about trying to be Jurassic Park, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is about trying to save the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. That metaphor really works beyond the movie, too. Every movie up till now has always been pretty similar, about how to deal with these genetic creations inside of a zoo, but Fallen Kingdom is about letting them loose. The playfulness of this message was so energizing to me, that I found myself loving the film despite its issues with pacing and character development. In fact, I have to say that I have never been more excited to see where a franchise is going to go than I am after seeing Fallen Kingdom.

Precisely because Fallen Kingdom is about getting away from the island, it has to start there, but it doesn’t have very much to say about the island or while it’s on the island. This creates narrative problems, too, because parts of the plot have to happen there, but in order to work, those parts of the movie are noticeably thin. But more than that, director J.A. Bayona never feels comfortable with any of the events in the story, causing the whole work to feel a bit like Frankenstein’s monster, but not in a cool or deliberate way. The story moves from plot point to plot point haphazardly; and, by the end, it doesn’t really matter who is a bad guy or why. The villains are the most run of the mill and average part of this film and easily the second largest problem with its construction behind the editing and pacing of the plot.

Even the protagonists aren’t handled well, as they are dramatic shifts from who they were in the last movie. Not that this is wholly bad, as the characters of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard were some of the problems with Jurassic World, it’s just a little jarring. And it certainly doesn’t help that the whole plot of the island itself being destroyed in the first act feels like a pure plot device that didn’t have any buildup in its predecessors. These things bothered me, along with other story elements that I can’t get into without spoilers, but suffice it to say that the issues here are present throughout the movie, representing a consistent issue instead of one that is minor or isolated.

With all of that said, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn’t wholly without suspense or quality craftsmanship. While it’s often narratively broken, the moment to moment action is well put together and intense. There’s beautiful cinematography here, with some genuinely heartbreaking scenes and beautiful frames that display a deep fondness for the dinosaurs, even if they aren’t real.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

More discriminating fans will be turned off by the issues with quality that will go overlooked by a significant portion of the movie-going audience. With that said, there is something fun and amazing here that may be worth overlooking those flaws, even if you are the type of viewer who would normally be turned off by poor pacing and plot construction. I had a fun time, and I definitely recommend giving it a watch if you’re looking for a good time with great sci-fi monsters.

Final Verdict:A fun ride for those who can overlook the flaws in this entertaining gem.