Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is one of the few recent blockbusters that has not been plagued and marred by production issues and reshoots. However, it has all the markings of one. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a disappointing experience that feels unnecessary, draped, and repetitive, even with an exciting direction that mildly propels its mediocre action sequences.
Like 2015’s Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is written by Colin Trevorrow, who also has a role of producing. But also like Jurassic World, it is marred by poorly written dialogue. Frustrating attempts at humor litter the film and only one instance was able to provoke any laughs from the audience. Trevorrow and his fellow screenwriters attempt to implement puns and cheap jokes into the film with little success. They feel like unneeded additions that weaken an already weak script. In addition, very little characterization is given to any of the characters, particularly the villains. No clear attempts are even noticeable. This makes the new characters feel unneeded as they do very little to propel forward the plot. The villains in Fallen Kingdom had the potential to accomplish something great. At multiple sequences throughout the film, I was beginning to feel the sense of a greater plot particularly with one character’s line. But the film does not advance with the idea and damages the rest of the film as a result. The plot ultimately feels bland and stale due to a clear abundance of repetition. At multiple occurrences throughout the film, I noticed very similar scenarios and sequences to 2015’s Jurassic World and The Lost World. Instead of feeling like passionate nostalgic moments, they feel out of place as the film doesn’t take the time to address the repetitive nature of most of its sequences. Fallen Kingdom propels itself forward without giving any indication to a casual audience member that these sequences should bear any sense of emotion. Finally, it is clear from the beginning that the film is very uneven, in terms of pacing and style. The film opens with an exciting set piece, that even though is derivative of previous films, caused excitement to froth from audiences. However, as the film progresses and the poorly written dialogue takes the center of the stage, it becomes clear that the film doesn’t have enough material to fully fledge out a feature-length film. As a result, the pacing becomes drab and shockingly slow, as if Trevorrow is trying to stretch the plot of the film as much as he can. It causes the two-hour runtime to feel overbearing and too long. At the end of the film, I was shocked to realize that only two hours had passed as I felt I was in the seat for several hours. The reason is that the screenplay barely contains a first act and doesn’t at all address the lack of a final act. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is entirely a film living in the second act. No clear progression through the plot is clear until the credits start rolling. At the beginning, no true characterization or introduction is given to its characters. It moves at an astoundingly fast pace for the first fifteen minutes, jumping from scene to scene, ignoring the audience’s broken immersion. From there, it begins the second act, a critical structural issue. When the second act begins, no attachment is made to the characters or plot. As a result, there is no attachment for the rest of the film. I felt no excitement during the “third act” as the film had not spent enough time setting the motivations for caring. I felt no fear when major characters were in grave peril because the film had given me no time or incentive to do so. It is a clear structural issue that collapses a potentially enjoyable film.
While the screenplay features catastrophic issues, the performances of its cast do their best. Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda do fine jobs as their new characters, particularly Pineda as the aggressive Zia. Chris Pratt makes an enjoyable return as Owen, Bryce Dallas Howard improves on her performance in Jurassic World delivering a more calm and matured delivery and personification of her role in the script. The two’s relationship is well-realized on the screen, even though it retreads similar themes and events as in the first film.
The reason why Jurassic World and most likely, Fallen Kingdom were colossal successes at the box office was due to the excitement behind the films-the experience of seeing dinosaurs on the screen. Fallen Kingdom makes due on this promise with an excellent direction by director J.A. Bayona. He amplifies the effect of the weak screenplay and makes promising action sequences. The reason his work here is only promising is due to the structural issue mentioned before. No real tension or fear for any of the characters is felt during the film, weakening the effect of these potentially stellar action sequences. This film proves that action is about the emotion it causes. The more the audience feels for the characters, the more the effect of the action is amplified. However, the reverse is also true. Another technical flaw the film has is within its music. Michael Giacchino returns to compose Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom after a mostly impressive score in Jurassic World. However, he missed the mark this time around. The score often times overbears what is actually occurring on the screen, especially in the opening act. Impressive themes from John William’s score in the original Jurassic Park would be played for no seemingly valid reason other than to provoke a soft tingle of nostalgia within the audience. It feels out of place and cheapens the emotional value of what does occur on the screen.
Ultimately, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is essentially a bloat. The film has so little material, in terms of plot, to work with that it quickly becomes clear that the rest of the film is suffering as a result. Fallen Kingdom isn’t a colossal failure, due to somewhat impressive action sequences and a unique direction by Bayona. However, it features catastrophic structural flaws within its own screenplay that causes many suspensions of disbelief and cause the film to feel muddy and derivative. Fallen Kingdom paves the way for a more exciting sequel that will hopefully improve on the disappointing failures of its predecessor and will prove to be a worthy reason to endure the disappointment Fallen Kingdom unfortunately is.
Score: 4.1 out of 10