Summer is officially here. At least, that is what the early film releases are counting on this month. 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' hits the cinematic universe with a rush of adrenaline, action-packed sequences and an array of impressive and terrifying dinosaurs. The latter is a clear example of how far CGI technology is now versus the original film in 1993. The film's real stars are the dinosaurs. They look powerful and mighty on the IMAX screen too.
The story takes place three years after the catastrophic events at Isla Nublar. The island's pending volcanic doom sets an alarm around the world that makes geologists, animal rights activists, and the U.S. Congress come together to debate whether or not the dinosaurs in the island should be saved. That serves as a platform for Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to return to the island for a rescue mission that reveals a sinister plan surrounding Benjamin Lockwood. The latter character is attached to the original film as a subplot to the story. The circumstances push the characters to encounter extreme dangers and dinosaurs along the way, which makes for a fun and entertaining film at times.
'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' is a sequel that is trying to accomplish a lot of things within one movie. One is to celebrate and somewhat pay homage to the 1993 original through imagery and action sequences. One of the most iconic scenes involves the T-rex entering the museum in the original which is similarly mirrored in the new film as the same dinosaur chases Owen. Director J.A. Bayona knows the franchise well to reference the films throughout this new chapter. Sometimes that approach works, and sometimes it does not especially it is not fitting to the new story. He definitely is able to craft suspenseful scenes and dark moments just as he did with 'A Monster Calls' - which became a favorite film among fans of the classic book (yours truly included).
The weaker moments in the film have to do with the script. First off, the "save-the-dinosaurs" message is kitschy, to say the least. I mean if there is real concern about the lives of an endangered species then why would anyone clone them in the first place. That kind of thinking would probably make the entire Jurassic World franchise obsolete. The dialogue and character development at times are debatable too. In one scene, Claire accuses Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) of having no ethics for cloning and selling dinosaurs to wealthy people or mercenaries to make a buck. As if she had not done that before which she clearly gets called-out for in the scene. These are a just a few moments that try to add sentimentality and just principles to the story through the characters: two notably being Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) from the original film. But does anyone watch these films for the heightened drama?
No. Steven Spielberg, who serves as Executive Producer, added small ideas but overall the Jurassic Park franchise is about the dinosaurs. Back then about the technology used to recreate a world of fantasy. Now, with Jurassic World, it should follow the same. This new chapter is filled with dinosaurs that will certainly entertain audiences from start to finish. The opening sequence will keep everyone at the edge of their seat and certainly amps then ante throughout. There is no dull moment in 'Fallen Kingdom' when the dinosaurs are front and center - after all they are the main attraction. The new Indoraptor, a genetically created dinosaur, is not only menacing but filled with mesmerizing details that showcase a creative special effects team. A commendable inclusion of animatronics is part of this chapter too. After all, how else do you make getting blood from a sleeping T-rex believable, huh?
'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' opens the 2018 summer season in films. Whether or not you are a fan of the franchise, this new chapter has it all. But the main attraction continues to be the amazing dinosaurs on display: new and old that either terrify or captivate one's imagination.