The majority of joy experienced with 1993’s JURASSIC PARK had a lot to do NOT just with the dinosaur action, terror and revolutionary visual effects work, but the fact we were witnessing a theme park that we absolutely wanted to visit ourselves. A lot of people would LOVE to take a chartered helicopter to a gorgeous island on a holiday and get to see some amazing sights, and as well get to see the behind the scenes of how things are done. Even shots of the merchandise IN the movie we wanted to have on our own shelves.
That and even over many repeat viewings and rep screenings (even the 3D re-release a few years ago was a lot of fun, and I am not a fan of the format) have shown how the movie has held up incredibly well. As I grew older I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes aspects and the nitty-gritty of actually running the park along with dino-maintenance along with the stellar thrills and, again, the photo-realistic effects work that looks as strong as it did twenty five years ago.
Over the decades we have had a lousy sequel, an even worse “Grindhouse” type movie in 2001 and then the series get a fresh coat of paint a few years ago. While I didn’t love the 2015 reboot of sorts, JURASSIC WORLD, at least some of that feeling about a potential park guests could visit still existed and that was exciting to watch.
With this JA Bayona directed sequel, FALLEN KINGDOM, I really fail to figure out exactly who the audience for this is. It’s an odd survival movie of sorts that follows the now abandoned existing park possibly being wiped out with an active volcano. Most of the existing characters from the first movie are back with a few characters along for the ride, and there’s a questionable narrative with whether or not these dinosaurs should be saved or not as the volcano starts to intensify.
Your enjoyment will depend entirely on how much you can suspend your disbelief. These movies have never been intended to be a capture of reality (I mean, there ARE DNA created dinosaurs running amok), but as we don’t care that much about what happens or the characters in the story, our attention is drawn more to the question is if a character can lay passed out next to approaching lava and ignore that the fumes from that lava would liquify your skin, yet our character is still tranquilized. Or the fact we actually witness a sequence where dinosaurs are auctioned off to the highest bidder and wondering where all of their money comes from.
I really question Bayona’s direction here as well; a filmmaker who has created some truly amazing work. Like with some filmmakers who rise up to large franchise pictures, it feels like a lot was taken away from him as the film was in production. You don’t feel any of his style that he had in A MONSTER CALLS, THE ORPHANAGE or even the vastly overlooked THE IMPOSSIBLE from a few years ago save for a few lingering dark shots and framing, but far more studio intervention in other areas. Most of the cast as well just goes through the motions, with the exception of two good performances; one from Bryce Dallas Howard who is thankfully free of heels in this one, and Danielle Pineda (from the amazing MR. ROOSEVELT) as a vet who gets thrown into the action.
This is more of a personal question to readers, but why exactly do you spend your theatrical dollar on these types of movies? Why is nearly every movie that has come out this year you wish to spend your money on have been a sequel, reboot or franchise movie and you refuse to see anything that goes outside the norm on the big screen? Is this what you really want? Do you really just want the exact same thing over and over again while pretending you want these movies to inspire you? There ARE movies down the hallway from the IMAX or largest theater that are also wanting your attention.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM doesn’t really want you to be inspired. It comes, goes and disappears from memory mere moments after you wander out during the post-credit sequence. I am HOPING that audiences that venture out to see it find more in the movie than I did; a vapid and dry experience that made me miss the antics of a thriving, active park, sparing no expense.
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM is now in theatres.
Tech notes: For some bizarre reason, FALLEN KINGDOM is a CinemaScope movie whereas all of the other movies in the series are not, which makes for a strange and claustrophobic viewing experience in comparison to the original movies. As well, the 2D version of the movie was quite dark to begin with, so I highly recommend seeking out this version as opposed to any 3D presentation of the movie.