Thanks to Universal, I was invited to an advanced screening of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom yesterday. I’ve been excited about this release since the last movie rolled credits. At that time, I left the theater pumped up, riding high on thrills and nostalgia. After Fallen Kingdom, however, I left disappointed and confused.
Overall, it seemed like a bunch of recycled scenes taped together with disconnected stories and new characters too far down the timeline to care about. And the characters I know and love, fell flat. Ian Malcolm’s scenes seemed to be added as an afterthought just to include him in the film. Benjamin Lockwood is introduced as having an equal hand in the original park since day one as John Hammond’s partner. I racked my brain going over the last 4 movies for any mention of a Lockwood. There was none. So the plotline this movie hinges on feels forced and confusing.
As for the horror element, there were a couple of cool stylized shots. The dinosaurs are much more aggressive and threatening. Even some of the herbivores remind us they can be just as deadly. But the big, creepy mansion where most of the action takes place is a done to death horror staple that makes the trailers super misleading and the story further weird-feeling. I’d love to do a film over film comparison of deaths by dino. I’d bet that Fallen Kingdom was on the lower end of the carnage scale, but there were a lot more scenes full of suspenseful near-death moments that I really enjoyed.
The dinosaurs really lead this one. Owen’s backstory with Blue is really sweet and emotional. It was refreshing to see so many humanizing and relatable moments between them, a reminder that both of them are deeper than their appearances. One of the best scenes, which is somehow both funny and brutal, stars a new dinosaur to the series who will become an instant fan favorite – Stygimoloch.
Dr. Wu’s new prototype is the most horrifying creature yet. Made by combining velociraptor genes with DNA from the previous film’s main attraction – Indominus Rex – the Indoraptor was expertly crafted for killing.
She gets a good amount of screen time to show off her speed, ferocity and terrifying intelligence. Her black and gold snake-like skin differentiate her from the classic predators as well as the new creations, making her stand out as nothing we’ve ever seen before. Fierce, beyond dangerous and utterly unstoppable.
I think we could have gotten a stronger story with existing characters instead of introducing so many new ones though. Dr. Henry Wu’s story for example – a genius geneticist who brought back an extinct ecosystem, exploited by various employers for their profit, caught in murky moral and ethical dilemmas. Is he a redeemable character? Could he be the ultimate villain?
Of course, I plan to see it several more times so we’ll see how my thoughts evolve after a couple screenings.