In a Hollywood staple diet, you can’t go wrong with a kingdom full of dinosaurs. The fascination of what lies beneath those of us in the real world – that is, dinosaur bones and not the living creatures (nor the Scientists brave enough to try clone them) – comes to life on the big screen with “Jurassic Park” and the subsequent films that follow.
Three years following the first “Jurassic World”, the fate of the dinosaurs roaming free at Isla Nublar is in jeopardy, with the threat of a live volcano on the verge of erupting. As a result, the debate of whether or not to protect these creatures comes up, with a select group seeing the dinosaurs on the same level as other animals – hence wanting to save them.
Led by Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt), the team head to Isla Nublar with the promise from Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and his aide Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) to ship out a bunch of the species to live on a new sanctuary, to prevent extinction. Mills needs the assistance of Owen to capture Blue, the last living Velociraptor, to ensure his species lives on. Supporting cast Justice Smith as Franklin and Daniella Pineda as Zia are a welcome addition to “Fallen Kingdom”, and bring their own flair to the film.
As a whole, the first half of the film is the “Jurassic” (“Park” or “World” – either/or) you know and love. The opening scene sees a mercenary team retrieve DNA from the remains of a dinosaur at the bottom of a lagoon – for reasons that become apparent later in the film – it truly looks incredible and really puts the audience in the mood for 2 hours of dino-action.
Unfortunately, “Fallen Kingdom” falls apart in the second half and gets stuck in a single location, with a story line that’s lazy at best. The villains are incredibly one-dimensional, and seriously lack any kind of depth. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and it all just becomes cliché. While we are left wondering “WHY?”, “Fallen Kingdom” slowly descends into a far-fetched plot line and a waste of some pretty great actors (example – Rafe Spall).
What “Fallen Kingdom” lacks in solid story, it well and truly makes up for in dinosaurs. I shouldn’t be surprised what Hollywood can do these days, but I’m always blown away by how amazing the dinosaurs look – I would use the word ‘realistic’ but that just feels subjective. Let’s ask David Attenborough, perhaps.
In terms of direction, J.A. Bayona is one of the best – and it shows. He does an incredible job with a lackluster script, and consequently delivers some amazing and memorable shots. Production-wise, “Fallen Kingdom” is at its best and really can’t be faulted here. It’s just a shame that for the most part, it’s all bark and no bite – which, given the subject-matter, is irony at its finest.
Overall, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a dish best served with a side of popcorn, cheese and just a few eye-rolls. It is entertaining, and visually spectacular, hence why I’ll be giving this Kingdom 3 dino-bones.