Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie review — JA Bayona's dinosaur adventure reels under franchise fatigue
In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, director JA Bayona is given the biggest budget and tools to burst into the mainstream but a truly wretched script.
A few years from now, when you look up the words ‘franchise fatigue’ in the dictionary, you would be able to spot a poster of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This is a rare film that makes the first Jurassic World seem like the first Jurassic Park in terms of quality, which is a huge bummer since it’s directed by JA Bayona who is one of the best working filmmakers out there.
So what do we have this time? Do people go back to the obviously dangerous island because of a ludicrous and unconvincing reason and with zero prep? Check. Do they assume that everything would be fine and find themselves in a tin can of dinosaur food? Check. Do they go back to civilization and bring the dinosaurs with them just like in The Lost World? Check. Does the T-Rex make strategic appearances to echo the original film? Yup. Do military personnel once again turn out to be the bad guys, who eventually get their just desserts served by the dinosaurs? Oh yes. So what newness does this film offer? Absolutely nothing of course. Apart from the third act being set in a haunted house of sorts, which is an interesting tactic but it does not really work because of how the rest of the film sags under the weight of clichés and campiness.
It is frustrating filmmaking to say the least, the cinematic equivalent of going to watch a magic show that was fun twenty five years ago but is now being performed by other magicians who are not only inept but also simply in it for the money. This is a movie that makes dinosaurs dull and interesting which is a real problem since the film goes out of the way to render scenes with characters looking on in awe of the beasts in front of them. This is also a film that churns out B-movie sci fi twists that do not add anything substantial to the plot apart from eye roll inducing shock value. As a cherry on top of the mess the finale sets up a situation so metaphorically on the nose you will be left with a zit the size of a Brontosaurus.
Fallen Kingdom is particularly an annoying watch because Bayona, who made the masterful A Monster Calls two years ago, is given the biggest budget and tools to burst into the mainstream but a truly wretched script. If you thought co-writer and occasional filmmaker Colin Trevorrow gets too much hate on the internet you really need to analyse the grotesque script of this film. Every individual scene put together in the film is way better than anything in the previous movie, but every event that precedes and follows a good scene is so terribly written it undoes Bayona’s impeccable craft. Thereis a beautiful looking section in the middle of the film that echoes the dinosaurs going extinct for the second time in the history of the world but it is followed by a moment that reminds you of the bus jump sequence in Speed and bookended by an even more kitschy moment. Basic problems such as weak characters, hackneyed motivations and mustache twirling caricaturist villains are of course a problem but it is the lack of newness in the dinosaur related mayhem that would grind a JP fan’s gears.
It is not clear what they would do with the next movie but this is the point where things have been dragged to the ground and any interest level from both fans of the original film and the previous one has been well and truly dissipated. There is a cameo from an actor who bellows, "How many times should the same point be made" towards the end of the film – maybe it is a subliminal message from the actor as an audience member.
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