|UK Release Date||SUMMER|
|Director||JA "I should be ashamed of myself' Bayona|
Jurassic World was fun wasn’t it? My 7 year old LOVED it and the Lego game and anything else Jurassic related; he is a bona fide fan boy. Therefore it was with great excitement we approached the latest offering from the team Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and boy, little did I know how appropriate that title would be.
Having thoroughly and absolutely flogged to death…erm I mean explored the 'theme park goes wrong’ element of the set up for the last 2500 years it was time to get some writers who would be clever and come up with a new exciting premise that will make the whole genre seem fresh again. Well they didn’t hire those kind of writers, actually at times I thought maybe they hadn’t hired any writers it was that much fun! Anyway the ‘crack team’, or maybe team on crack, came up with the idea that the poor dinosaurs stuck on Isla Nubla are about to become extinct because of a naughty erupting volcano. There are debates about whether to leave them to die or save them (featuring Jeff Godlblum, best thing about the whole film that 10 seconds right there) marches with people carrying cringe inducing signs with well thought out statements such as ‘Save our Dinos’. Honestly, for a film with this much money the lack of imagination and creativity is really worth congratulating, Fallen Kingdom has some interesting moral debates bubbling away but doesn't have the intelligance to make any of it count. Everything just fizzles out....
The lovely Bryce Dallas Howard is on good form as Claire Dearing, once responsible for authorising the Indominus Rex which caused the disaster and now working for a Save the Dinosaurs fund when she gets a call from the Lockwood estate and guess what? They want to SAVE THE DINOS. The end. Oh no, you’re gonna wish that was the end but it’s not. Off goes our Claire in a series of aerial shots over terribly overbearing music to a beautiful estate where we meet Rafe Spall as Lockwood’s right hand man. We know he’s the villain because he’s English ain’t he? Even though he’s doing a rather good accent we know you Rafe, you’re a Brit and therefore a baddy. Anyhoo guess what? They need a special guy to tame the raptor Blue so off Claire goes to fetch beefcake Owen (the always lovely Chris Pratt) where the two wonderful actors have possibly one of the most stilted, scripted conversations I have ever seen on camera. Guys, come on. This is Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. They’re great, don’t treat them like this, you’re breaking my heart. Long and short of it is they go to the island to rescue the dinosaurs and something goes wrong. I won’t ruin it for those (crazies) who still want to see it but it involves such delights as dastardly Russians and a new 'super' dinosaur.
JA Bayona is a good director. I loved The Orphanage. A Monster Calls is wonderful so I’m not sure what happened here. There is also a somewhat creepy storyline involving Lockwood’s granddaughter which, whilst interesting, is woefully underdeveloped and wasted. I am going to lay more of the blame at the feet of writers Colin and Derek (so nearly Derek and Clive) for this mess. I can’t even be bothered to write their full names, they couldn't be bothered to write proper dialogue so…
Even the dinosaurs have lost their magic; it just doesn’t feel new anymore and that is depressing. Fallen Kingdom’s first act really does feel like a re run of Jurassic Park in places. Torrential rain as a shady technician is trying to close the gates and guess what is rustling BEHIND HIM. Owen comes back to find Blue then tracks Blue through the forest, until the Grunts (with a great Ted Levine in charge) shoot her. SURPRISE. We have a nervous young hacker named Franklin (Justice Smith who is on great form) who magically reboots the park and of course Owen and Claire as the caring couple with what should be a frisson of chemistry but sadly the filmmakers took away all of their chances of achieving that. Daniela Pineda is a nice addition as the Paleo Veterinarian but again her character doesn’t have enough lines and she melts away. One must mention Toby Jones who is of course wonderful but again inserted in like a one dimensional villain. At times simply feels as if the filmmakers were going about with a clipboard adorned with dinosaur stickers and pictures of Spielberg with Jurassic World notes to hit and are ticking them off whilst eating donuts and giant Cokes; like the lethargic overweight people who get ferried around stuffing their faces in Wall E.
I am annoyed with Fallen Kingdom. When a production has this much money at its fingertips I find it frustrating when they make lazy decisions. Honestly I hate to speak ill of filmmakers but the dialogue is truly woeful; none of it is fun; it’s just so clunky and dreary and this is supposedly a summer blockbuster. The funniest bit is a little dinosaur that head-butts walls, actually that's what I felt like I'd been doing when we got home.
In Brief :
I can’t talk about the ending, which no doubt has a teaser to the next Jurassic World instalment, it already has a scheduled 2021 release date and has taken 5 Gazillion Dollars in its opening weekend, because we left 15 minutes before the end. The seven year old was actually scared of the raptors and, honestly, at this point I was scared that it might get worse. The worst thing about this exit was how full of apathy I felt. I did not give one fuck about missing the end of this film. To take a genre so full or life and wonderment and flatten it as if it was under the foot of a charging rhino is a sad thing indeed. I am sure we will revisit the next one such is the love for the old films but, bloody hell, sort it out Spielberg!