Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Fallen Kingdom lacks the heft to stand out in the franchise but has enough bite for a monster movie.

It’s no coincidence to say that around the time Michael Crichton conceived the idea of bringing dinosaurs back to life, a sheep was born at a biotech institute somewhere in Scotland, but without biological parents. Asking which came first is as debatable as the chicken and the egg conundrum but the fact remains that 25 years on, the concept of cloning is as progressive in the real world as it is in cinema. In that line of thought, Crichton’s 1993 cinema adaptation – Jurassic Park – finds itself cloned for the fifth time but as it turns out, what was once artificially magical is now organically ordinary.

Fallen Kingdom’s basic setup is to take the audience back to Isla Nublar, where after the pandemonium in the last film Jurassic World, dinosaurs now roam freely in a theme park decimated and reclaimed by nature; and nature is very angry. With the island now volcanically active, all the dinosaurs face extinction from the imminent eruption. Not again! That satire is kicked up a notch with a grand cameo from Jeff Goldblum, who besides cutting the ribbon for this 25th anniversary celebration, adds a bit of franchise nostalgia and insight into what is about to happen. The plan is to relocate the dinosaurs to a new island and who better than John Hammond’s chum Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) to hire Claire and Owen to get the job done. Simple as it sounds but where’s the fun if everything goes according to plan?

 There’s more to the story that’s best left for the audience to discover but that’s all you need to know about the plot. What follows is an action packed first act followed by a sluggish middle section topped off in a finale that’s a bit dark and whacky. Has anything changed since the last film? Not much but Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire isn’t trying to outrun dinosaurs in stilettos anymore. On the other hand, Chris Pratt reprises his charming role as Owen but is nowhere near as funny as Star-Lord. Together, and like the last film, their onscreen chemistry is as palatable as a dollop of ice-cream on a sizzling steak. The real meat, literally and figuratively, is the dinosaurs and they’ve never looked better. From the terrific underwater opening montage, to Owen’s fully grown raptor friend Blue, to the film’s new and ferocious hybrid called ‘Indoraptor’, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is at its best when there’s a dinosaur on screen. To that effect, a staggering scene where a Brachiosaurus looks at the audience while the island implodes on itself is worth mentioning as the film’s most memorable moment.

As much as there’s a lot of mayhem and fun in the film, Fallen Kingdom lacks the heft to stand out in the franchise. That’s a bit of a letdown for anyone expecting a worthy homage to the original. Having said that, the introduction of a new character, along with and an interesting plot development suggests vast potential in giving the franchise a new twist. If Dolly the Sheep went on to deliver six lambs, then there’s no reason Crichton’s beloved dinosaur epic won’t see a sixth installment. For now, it suffices to say that although Fallen Kingdom isn’t anywhere near extraordinary, it still has enough bite to officiate the 2018 summer movie mania.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.