"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" (2018)- Movie Review

Directed by J.A. Bayona
Written by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum

‘Entertaining but Short of Expectations’

Do you remember the first time that you saw dinosaurs on the big-screen? For most movie-goers, this moment occurred when they first saw “Jurassic Park” in 1993. Steven Spielberg’s beloved film introduced audiences to the world of dinosaurs. Not only did it become one of the most successful films of all-time, but it spawned a series of sequels. Ever since then, there have been many sequels that have attempted to capture the magic of the original. In 2015, the reboot “Jurassic World” introduced the franchise to a new generation of movie-goers. Its ending left the door open for a sequel that promised to offer more dinosaur mayhem.

Now, nearly three years later, the dinosaurs are back and scarier than ever in the latest film “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”. Director J.A. Bayona’s follow-up to 2015’s surprise hit is a fun but flawed addition to the franchise. Packed with exhilarating action, dazzling visual effects and a talented cast, it offers enjoyable entertainment. If dinosaur thrills are what you’re looking for, then this sequel definitely delivers. Yet, while the film is undeniably entertaining, it falls short of expectations. It lacks the compelling story of previous films in the franchise, and suffers from a lengthy running time. That being said, it’s an entertaining sequel that will leave fans eager to see where the dinosaur franchise heads next.

Set three years after the events of the first film, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” focuses on the island of Isla Nublar which has now been abandoned. When a volcano suddenly erupts, the dinosaurs living on the island are put in grave danger. Owen and Claire return to the island in a desperate attempt to save the dinosaurs from mass extinction. However, they soon discover that saving the entire population of dinosaurs isn’t going to be as easy as they thought.

It is then that we are swept into an apocalypse in which dinosaurs wreak havoc, humans run for their lives and an island is destroyed. If the first film in the franchise focused on the humans, this time around its the dinosaurs that steal the show. Breathtakingly brought to life by stunning visual effects, the dinosaurs are arguably the highlight of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”. With sharp fangs and glistening eyes, they are truly terrifying to watch. At times, the dinosaurs are so realistic that one almost forgets that they are CGI creations. It is hard to not marvel at the visual effects on display, which rival the first film and are arguably more impressive. The visual effects department is one area where “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” surpasses its predecessor.

Using these stunning visual effects, director J.A. Bayona stages the most exhilarating action sequences of the franchise. As one might expect from a film about dinosaurs, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is packed with thrilling action from start to finish. This time around, the action centers on the dinosaurs and their struggle to survive. There are plenty of thrilling action sequences involving dinosaurs that keep the viewer at the edge of the seat. A particularly suspenseful sequence takes place in a mansion and involves a dinosaur chasing a young girl. It’s a sequence that works tremendously due to the combination of gorgeous visual effects and tension-filled music. The film is filled with such exciting action sequences that are sure to please fans of the franchise.

Although the action sequences are exhilarating to watch, where “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” falls short is in its storytelling. Director J.A. Bayona pays so much attention to the action sequences that he almost forgets to tell a cohesive story. The film hops from one action sequence to the next, which leaves no room for character development. As much as I enjoyed the action, I found the story to be lackluster. The screenplay is one of the weaker aspects of this blockbuster. With the exception of the two leads, there are hardly any interesting characters in the film. One of the strengths of “Jurassic World”, the previous film in the franchise, is that it had characters you cared about. However, character development is noticeably lacking in this sequel and it brings the film down a notch.

Thankfully, though, the fantastic performances from the cast more than make up for these flaws. The entire cast is at the top of its game, but its really the two leads that stand out the most. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, who reprise their respective roles, are a joy to watch and carry the film on their shoulders.

Chris Pratt excels in the role of an animal trainer with a deep connection to the dinosaurs. As Owen, Pratt brings his usual charm, charisma and goofy humor to the role. With memorable dialogue and a charming presence, he steals nearly every scene he is in. It’s not a particular stretch of a role for the actor, but he once again proves to be the perfect fit for it. Acting opposite of him, Bryce Dallas Howard continues to shine in the role of Claire. If she was slightly reserved in the first film, this time around she is given more to do and a chance to showcase her emotional range. With emotional expressions, she conveys the passion of a fearless woman determined to save the dinosaurs. Both of these actors pull their weight and hold the film together even when it seems to be falling apart.

At a running time of two hours and ten minutes, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is an excruciatingly long movie. In fact, it is the longest film in the franchise to date and for no good reason at all. It is understandable when movies that are epic in scope and span several years take their time to unfold. However, a movie about dinosaurs chomping down humans didn’t need to be this long. The film goes overboard in its length, and as a result suffers tremendously. Although the first hour or so is thoroughly entertaining, the final scenes which take place in a mansion are less engaging and drag to the last minute. If the filmmakers had paid more attention to the length, it would have elevated the movie to another level.

In the end, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a fun but flawed entry in the dinosaur franchise. It’s a perfectly enjoyable summer movie that aims to entertain, and on that level it succeeds. Is it as entertaining as the first film? Due to its lengthy running time, not quite. Nevertheless, it offers fun popcorn entertainment that fans of the franchise won’t be able to resist.

3/5 stars

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