Film Review: Life Finds A Way To Disappoint In "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"
Gratingly long, twice as ugly, and three times as boring, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom makes a go of running on fumes, with only sound and fury in abundance. As dinosaurs bloodlessly devour those greedy humans who want to "weaponise" them (yes, this stupid motivation again) and as Michael Giacchino's syrupy score obnoxiously demands wonder and awe of you, you begin to think on Ian Malcolm's eerily prescient quote in Jurassic Park: "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should."
And so, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The fourth sequel to Jurassic Park. It was only made because they (read: Hollywood) could.
What was once a cautionary tale concerning man's hubris and failed attempt to control nature has now just become a series of increasingly junky spectacle parades. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park functioned as a symbol for mankind's figurative and literal smallness. Now they're deadeningly familiar, unthreatening super-powered pets who eat the Bad Men. Nostalgia is such a hell of a drug that it's managed to defang these potent symbols, much like the greedy military commando who dislodges teeth from helpless dinosaurs. Adorably enough, he's the ostensible bad guy here, the one we're meant to hate. Talk about a tragic lack of self-awareness. And despite all the high falutin' talk of genetic tampering, all courtesy of a disbelieving and smirking Jeff Goldblum giving a testimony, you'll find no themes or subtext here. It's exactly what it looks like, and it chugs along from one set piece to the next in a straight line until it's been 2 hours and 11 minutes. The final minute is for teasing a sequel, naturally.
The plot, such as it is, sees ex-lovers Chris Pratt's cowboy-ish Owen and Bryce Dallas Howard's uptight-ish Claire reuniting to mount a campaign to rescue the dinosaurs, who are threatened with extinction due to the park's volcano becoming active. They're joined by two millennial stereotypes for reasons outside the story, perhaps reasons to do with marketing and demographics: she's sassy; he's scaredy. Incidentally, Owen and Claire bickering repartee is back, as annoying and witless as ever, because nobody in Hollywood knows how to write a believable relationship. Also incidentally, they have no character arcs, no perspective - they're facsimiles of stereotypes. They could be acid-tinged parodies of action heroes, if this and its predecessor Jurassic World had even a slightly clever sense of humour about itself.
Anyway, the rescue campaign goes sideways when it's revealed that the dinosaurs were actually saved for purposes not to do with conservation. Stowed away on a ship with the rescued dinosaurs, it's up to Owen, Claire and the millennial stereotypes, to save the dinosaurs from the clutches of greedy douchebags who are eager to sell them to the highest bidder.
It's from there that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom switches gears rather spasmodically, transitioning from epic disaster movie to claustrophobic haunted mansion movie. You know, after watching folks dip, dive, duck and dodge volcano smoke and fire, watching them sneak around boringly lit corridor after boringly lit corridor, all to stop a silly dinosaur auction, hardly gets the pulse going.
Actually, none of this paint by numbers nonsense gets the pulse going. This franchise has refused to evolve and the returns have notably diminished with every sequel. Let it die already.