God creates dinosaurs (JURASSIC PARK), God destroys Dinosaurs (THE LOST WORLD), God creates man (JURASSIC PARK 3), man destroys god (JURASSIC WORLD), man creates dinosaurs (FALLEN KINGDOM), Dinosaurs eat man (Inevitable JURASSIC PARK sequel in 2021)…women inherits the earth.
Ok, that made more sense in my head, but I’m going to predict the ending to this new JURASSIC WORLD trilogy. Dinosaurs overpopulate the world, they kill all the men, only women are left. It would be the perfect closing to this franchise and tie it all back to Ian Malcolm’s prediction in the original JURASSIC PARK. That would be beyond poetic. Please happen.
Alright, here’s the thing. FALLEN KINGDOM is basically about a few of our heroes from JURASSIC WORLD embarking on a quest to rescue a bunch of dinosaurs from a dormant volcano that’s roaring to life. The volcano is “roaring” because it’s a volcano, and this is a movie about dinosaurs…get it? Sounds fun, right? Kind of.
A have a few issues with FALLEN KINGDOM, but consider the film an overall success solely based on the fact that there are dinosaurs everywhere and dinosaurs are fucking cool. Dinosaurs running from an erupting volcano…double cool. As a film however, this movie isn’t that great, some may even say, kinda forgettable. Most will not have an opinion because this is the 5th installment in a mega-blockbuster franchise and they won’t event bother seeing it. I don’t blame you.
That said, here’s my first issue. The characters. I don’t give a flying shit shart about any of them. I like Chris Pratt, I like Bryce Dallas Howard, and hell, I like just about every actor in this film. Nobody did anything bad, they just didn’t do anything all that good. Unless that in itself is bad? I’m confused. My point is, I had zero investment in any of the characters, and the one saving grace could have been the return of Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, but even that ended up falling flat. He’s basically a cameo. Nothing to get excited about. He’s completely underutilized. Really wanted to see him and Pratt together here.
My second issue revolves around the overstuffed ethical conundrums. The writers really wanted us to care about these dinos and their situation, but gave us no good reason to. Weren’t these the same dinos that slaughtered dozens of people in the last installment? Except you stegosaurus, you’ve always been cool. This is a dinosaur movie masked as an animal-rights message? I think? I kept imagining all our heroes eating a burger or some chicken nuggs for dinner making them seem a little hypocritical. Maybe spend some of your efforts protecting farm animals or some other endangered species roaming our planet. Don’t get me wrong, save the damn dinos too, but let’s save the damn pigs and cows first. Ammiright!? It’s all just kind of absurd and lacks any kind of true depth to actually challenge anyone. And don’t get me started on all the generic and stereotypical villains, I just don’t have the energy to explain how ineffective any of them were.
And lastly, FALLEN KINGDOM teeter tottered between being an ode to the franchise we love and something completely new. There were a disgusting amount of throwbacks to the original such as the opening rain sequence, frantically rebooting the park computer systems, an old eccentric kazillionaire, and even a few dumbwaiter scenes for good measure. I was often reminded of my first JP experience. On the other hand, FALLEN KINGDOM broke some Jurassic-norms by quickly leaving the island and centering its attention on a more intimate, claustrophobic, and horror-movie friendly environment. While at times this worked, I would have preferred to stay on the island. But what do I know?
At the end of the day there were some cool dino-moments here and there, and I really appreciated the practical effects. The stuff on Isla Nublar, while brief, was epic as all hell. Arguably the best part of the whole film. What doesn’t sit right is this new trend in blockbuster franchises to deconstruct the things we love about said franchise. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you THE LAST JEDI. It’s a bad fucking idea (debatable I know) and it didn’t work for me with STAR WARS and it sure as dino-shit didn’t work for me in FALLEN KINGDOM. I’m all for brand new ideas and challenging norms, but shouldn’t we just make whole new movies and whole new franchises? THE LAST JEDI would have been a great sci-fi flick, just not a good STAR WARS flick. In much the same way, FALLEN KINGDOM was a damn fine dino-action adventure, just not a damn fine JURASSIC PARK flick. But alas, there’s money in these franchises, so just pay your $14, shovel that popcorn down your face-hole, and enjoy the ride.