Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review – A solid but disappointing sequel

Posted on 7 June 2018
By Andrew Siddall
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Back in 2015, Jurassic World became the third highest grossing film of all time, so it came as no surprise that a follow-up was commissioned shortly after.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the park erupted into chaos on Isla Nublar, with the government trying to decide whether dinosaurs have the same rights as normal animals. Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire and Chris Pratt’s Owen are hired to return to the island to try and save several species from being wiped out by a volcanic eruption.

Directed by The Orphanage’s J. A. Bayona, taking over from Colin Trevorrow, who remains on as co-writer, the movie feels vastly different to the last, with a story of two parts, similar to The Lost World: Jurassic Park, with the first part taking place on the island and the second in a claustrophobic mansion.

The story has a similar structure to the first two Jurassic films with plenty of call-backs, but finds its own path with a plot about greed and trafficking. It works well for what they have planned and allows any set pieces to occur naturally, but also finds the time to set up the next film on more than one occasion.

Bryce Dallas Howard returns as Claire, who has changed quite a bit since we last saw her. She’s keen on helping save the dinosaurs and she tries to get involved in the action, with not a high-heel in sight. She has some good scenes, but her character doesn’t get much development, unfortunately just like her fellow protagonist.

Avengers: Infinity War’s Chris Pratt makes his return as dino-trainer Owen, who attempts to help save ‘Blue’ the Velociraptor. Similar to Claire, he has some great moments, and even provides some of the humour, but he isn’t developed very well. There are some attempts to flesh out their stories, but it’s not lingered on for too long.

This is one of the reasons that the original Jurassic Park became a classic. It had memorable and likable characters that were interesting in their own way, and each played a big part in the film. It relied on the characters rather than the dinosaurs, which are used sparingly throughout.

Speaking of the original characters, it is truly a joy to see Jeff Goldblum return once again as a bearded Dr. Ian Malcolm. He doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but it’s nice to see him included.

Rafe Spall also makes an appearance as the greedy Eli Mills. Even though his actions are essential to further the plot, he has little personality and wants nothing more than to be rich.

The rest of the characters are pretty much the same, with them only really serving one small part of the plot and having nothing else to do, apart from run away. One character in particular, Franklin seems to be the comedy character and even though there is a few sprinkles of humour, he could be a little irritating to some viewers.

After an unnerving opening sequence involving an underwater scene, the movie struggles to find any real tension throughout the first half, which passes by a little too quickly. However, the tension really picks up in the second half when the latest dinosaur hybrid, the Indoraptor, gets out of containment.

The design of the creature is great and looks far more frightening than Jurassic World’s Indominus Rex, echoing horror characters of the past including Nosferatu, where there is nothing to see except the creepy silhouette against the wall. The scenes with it are tense and crafted well, though may be a bit too much for younger viewers.

The effects, provided by ILM are fantastic as always, giving each character its own personality and movements. The interaction between the real environments and the creatures is clever and truly grounds them in our world.

Coco composer, Michael Giacchino, returns to score the sequel. It only borrows lightly from both Jurassic World and Jurassic Park’s soundtrack, and manages to be something completely different. It works well for the film and knows when to hold back during emotional or tense scenes.

Overall, it’s a solid attempt to match Jurassic World. In many respects, it does, from the cinematography to the tension, but it does nothing more to further the characters and can become too focused on setting up Jurassic World 3. There’s room for improvement, and hopefully the next will be able to deliver.

Purple Revolver rating: 3.5/5. Solid but disappointing.