Since I re-watched Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom a couple of weeks ago I’ve been thinking. That thought has led to me heavily editing this review. Usually I’d tag the new thoughts on the end, but this time they’ve changed pretty drastically. So I’m making it very obvious upfront that what was a very moderate review has taken a turn.
With thought given to expectations and my bar set at ‘be entertained by Dinosaurs and Chris Pratt’, I enjoyed the film at the cinema. Watching it again at home though, the issues that I was pretty content to set aside came to the fore. Further thought leaves them looming large over the film. I admitted at the time that ‘this review has been kicking my backside for two weeks. I’ve pondered the pluses and minuses of the film, and still firmly believe it’s a fun summer blockbuster, but I’m not blind to its issues.”
I can no longer avert my eyes from the tacked on additional backstory, the clumsy twist, and how dumb the idea of ‘blowing up the island’ is. But there are some more fundamental issues to, which boils down to the cinematography. Spielberg always showed us the dinos from the human point of view. The Rex attack was over Grant and Malcolm’s shoulders, or from Lex and Tim’s viewpoint. We looked up at these creatures, and we felt the same awe and fear that the characters felt. Bayona goes wide and low rather than high, which may give us a great scale comparison, but loses the intimacy.
Coming back around to the backstory, I hate it. Hammond didn’t need more, and throwing more in at this point just feels like the franchise can’t figure itself out. This also leads to a frankly ridiculous situation (in a world where dinosaurs exist), of secret underground labs, and more than one character with very off-putting teeth. Once again Malcolm’s ‘rape of the natural world’ comments spring to mind. But there’s nothing clever about it here.
Oh Ian. The chaos mathematician and survivor of both islands does absolutely nothing here. That’s it. Wasted.
Originally in the series, the dinos were just that. They were creatures that interacted with the humans in ways true to their nature. Whether or not that made them bad guys like the Raptors, or heroes like Rexy, didn’t matter. With the new films, there’s a struggle between them being creatures and being characters. Rexy is a fan favourite, her scarred appearance and ninja abilities singling her out among the other dinosaurs as one with a particular character. Seeing her again in Jurassic World as amazing, but the more I see of her, and now Blue, I wonder if making them fully fledged additions to the cast makes them better or worse? If we know them do they lose their wonder?
On the plus side, there are noticeably more animatronics this time around, and that is always the best way to go. Finally got to see a few favourites of mine on the big screen too. Allosaurus!
The stunning opening sequence needs mentioning. It’s foreboding, tense, and definitely takes the stance of ‘creature’, which I found really exciting. Here we see a certain menace about the dinosaurs, and the lighting in particular was extremely well used.
Realistically no film can live up to the original. I know that, and I’ve adjusted accordingly. The main requirement of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was that it be entertaining, and it is. But I have so many questions, and not much of the film really sticks in my mind, and I’ve not even mentioned the Indoraptor. It was exciting and I can see it’s trying to do something different. Does that prevent criticism though? No. The ideas are half-baked, and the talent is wasted, and the teeth are just awful.