3 out of 5
Three years after the events of “Jurassic World” — we have Fallen Kingdom. The hype and build up for this movie has been enormous. It seems like the previews started coming out just a couple of months after the re-boot / fourth installment of the series came out. The question I had after seeing “Jurassic World” was how can they keep this whole thing fresh? “World” sort of felt like a newer version of “Jurassic Park” — much like “The Force Awakens” seemed like a replay of “A New Hope”
The characters were different and things had progressed a bit — but really the two storylines weren’t all that much different. Unfortunately for “Fallen Kingdom,” my hunch that the movie might start to feel like all of its predecessors pretty much held up. The basic Jurassic storyline goes like this:
- Optimistic Start
- Something goes wrong and / or Bad guy enters the storyline trying to make money
- Dinosaurs escape
- Call in the hero
- Run from Dinosaurs
- Bad guy gets eaten by Dinosaur (probably a T-Rex or Raptor)
- Hero(s) live, Dinosaurs live to see another day
Sound familiar? Honestly — what is left for this franchise? Since the dinosaurs can’t talk or reason — how many different ways can it go at this point? The answer is: It can’t.
The movie starts off with the Dinosaurs still inhabiting the island they were on when they ran all of the humans off of it in “Jurassic World.” Now, however, the volcano on the island has become active, and is due to destroy the island and everything on it. Back in the States, the politicians and activists are going at each other over whether or not the dinosaurs should be saved or left to their fate. When the politicians decide to let nature take its course, Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), one of the founders of Jurassic Park decides to use his considerable fortune to save the dinosaurs. His assistant, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) is pulling it all together, but needs Claire Dearing’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) help. Of course, Claire needs Owen Grady’s (Chris Pratt) help, and now the old gang is back together and on a plane flying to the island. In a race against time, the group is tasked to save 11 different kinds of dinosaurs to be taken to an isolated island — where no humans will be allowed — which will keep the dinosaurs safe. Using my 7 point list of actions that take place in the Jurassic movies — we are now at point 3. Any further information at this point will spoil the plot and reveal who the bad guys are — but you probably don’t have to think too hard to figure it out — along with the way it will end.
That’s the problem with this movie. It just feels like you’ve seen it before. Don’t get me wrong — the filmmaking is superb, as you would expect. The acting is strong, with Pratt and Howard leading the way, and there are plenty of tense moments in the film, along with some pretty good humor. At the end of the day, though, it’s not very original. The end, of course, let’s you know another movie is in the works — and it should be — there’s millions of dollars to be made — I just hope the writers / creators find a new wrinkle. Something out of left field — even if it fails. Otherwise — the final installment has to be it (at least for another 20 to 30 years until they blow the dust off of the idea and go again). Kids and some older kids will love this movie — but there still hasn’t been anything in the franchise that lives up to the first film. Everything since then just feels like copies.