“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” has more likeable dinosaurs than characters

Taking a bite out of box office: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" has not done nearly as good as its predecessor at the box office. "Jurassic World" was the number one film at the box office three weeks running and in those weeks grossed over $445 million domestically. "Fallen Kingdom" has dropped to the second film at the box office in its third weekend and has only grossed $333 million domestically. 

Andrew Shermoen

There has never been a good sequel to “Jurassic Park.” The newest adventure coming off the heels of the 2015 revival of the franchise is “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, another poorly crafted sequel to one of the best sci-fi action films ever.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a mess. The factors that grind it into the dirt are multitudinous, but it’s really the film’s absolutely uneven script that fails the film. Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow have written a film that has absolutely no idea what it wants to be. Not only does it often call into question the validity of the past film in the franchise, but also switches the gears of what it wants to be halfway through the film. Where the script fails, the director, J. A. Bayona, tries his best to fill the screen with frightening imagery, and this film no doubt objectively has some of the scariest images in any of the “Jurassic Park” films. Yet, it is so hard to even care about scary things happening to the characters when you don’t care about any of these characters.

Three years after the Indominus Rex incident at the Jurassic World theme park, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) leads the Dinosaur Protection Group, which seeks to save the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar before the now active volcano destroys them all. After the government refuses to fund an operation to rescue the dinosaurs, Claire is approached by Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), a former partner of John Hammond, who wants to help her fund the project to rescue the dinosaurs. She is briefed on the project by Lockwood’s assistant, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), who specifies that they’ve already attempted to rescue the dinos, but that Blue, a trained velociraptor, has been especially difficult to catch. He asks Claire to recruit Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), and the two of them with a team of trackers go to Isla Nublar to track the dinosaurs down before the volcano fully erupts.

Blue, a dead-eyed, emotionless Velociraptor is more likeable and sympathetic than her human counterparts. This is not only shows the milquetoast characters of Claire, Owen and company, but is also annoying considering how off base that is for “Jurassic Park” films. The original film fostered a fascination of Velociraptors in me while also making me terrified of them. Now they are sweet and cuddly and will protect their human friends. Blue is likeable and fun, but making her the friendly dog feels like a forced effort to try and turn the original film on its head.

Blue’s best buddy Owen continues to be absolutely forgettable. Pratt shines as Star-Lord in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, but here, and in the previous film, he does very little to differentiate himself from his other big character nor does he make him half as likeable or emotionally interesting. The Chris Pratt oversaturation continues to grow and I begin to grow tired of him.

Bryce Dallas Howard in turn feels oddly different. In “Jurassic World” Claire is a serious business woman who is freaking out as her work crumbles around her. Half of the bad decisions of the film were made by her, and it felt as though the script of the film actively hated her character. In “Fallen Kingdom” the script beats you over the head trying to let you know that they don’t hate Claire. A specific camera shot confirms she’s wearing proper footwear this time, and instead of being a self-aggrandizing career woman who only cares about the profit that dinosaurs bring her, she now actively campaigns for the saving of dinosaurs and protecting them as endangered species. This dramatic switch is never explained in the film, and we’re lead to assume that Claire has always seen dinosaurs this way despite that in the first “Jurassic World” she seems to actively not care for them. Howard is a fantastic actress and has proved so in other media, but this series continues to misuse her talents and she continues to give it her all despite the uneven and annoying script.

There’s not much more to be said for “Fallen Kingdom” other than that it gets ridiculously dumb and difficult to believe as the movie continues. Characters are so thinly written that they either wear their villainy or heroism on their sleeve, or they flip flop between the two so much that you can never tell. “Fallen Kingdom” houses many first and shocking moments, but they are so quick and so uninteresting because of the film that they appear in that you can’t be bothered to care. The movie looks very good and the dinosaurs are a mix of both computer generated effects and puppetry which makes for some really cool looking sequences.

The action sequences are actually good for the most part, but overall the movie is so incomprehensible that it is difficult to have fun when you can’t feel attached to any of the tension happening to these uninteresting characters.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a mess. An uneven, uninteresting addition to a franchise that has been dead for years. Let the movie go extinct like dinosaurs have been for years. I’m so beat down that even the magic and beauty of dinosaurs do nothing for me anymore.

Rating: 1.5/5