Hey, everyone! We are back with (finally!) a new movie review! Today’s a big one. That’s right, we’re talking Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. As usual, no spoilers ahead.
First off, I’d like to clarify I didn’t hate the first Jurassic World movie. It just seemed like every time we talked about it, I found something else to point out about it, and not in a positive way. Sure, it got everyone back on the dinosaur train
But it really didn’t do it for me. A lot of it was the characters, which just felt like flat stereotypes without the realness that previous characters had. There was also the blatant ‘HEY, REMEMBER JURASSIC PARK? WASN’T THAT MOVIE AWESOME?’ sense that really needed to be toned down to let this new movie stand a little more on it’s own legs. I know they did basically the same thing with The Force Awakens, but it didn’t feel so cheap about it, and I actually care about those characters.
Okay, so enough complaining about what came before and talk about the here and now. Fallen Kingdom is a huge improvement. The writing is better, the camera work is better, the characters are better, it’s just better. It’s also much darker and does something new with the franchise. Will this make it The Last Jedi of the franchise? Maybe, but at least these films are actually trying to do something different and keep their franchises from getting stale. But that’s different rant altogether.
WHAT THEY GOT RIGHT
-As I said, the characters are better. I don’t know if they’re necessarily deeper, but they feel less one-dimensional than they did. The new characters are also pretty good, especially the little girl, Maisie, and Franklin and Zia. Claire and Owen were a lot better, too, and you get more background with Owen and Blue and a better sense of their relationship.
Dr. Wu also is less of a cackling mad scientist. He’s more like a man obsessed, addicted, but not over-the-top about it. I hope we get some kind of conclusion to his story in the next one to really wrap up what started way back in 1993.
- The dinosaurs look better and this is the last hybrid. Far more animatronics were used here than in the last one, and overall the dinosaurs looked so much better. The Indominus rex was never really that threatening, or even as visually interesting as the Indoraptor. It was just sort of an ugly special effect that was never really scary. The Indoraptor was scary, and you know that in some of those shots, it’s actually there on set.
- The music is better. Michael Giacchino is awesome. I think my favorite score of his is still Rogue One, but this is right up there. The subtle cues and nods to John William’s original work woven into the new stuff, it all works. Top notch.
- Going back to the ethical questions integral to the series. Perhaps not in the depth that the original film did, but it is nice to get back to the real core of Jurassic Park. It would’ve been nice to see more of the question presented in the first half of the movie discussed more, but then the question switches in the second half and that helps to inform the motivations of several characters. It’s good to have this back, and it was sorely lacking in Jurassic World. Not that the questions weren’t there, it’s just they never did anything with them.
- New dinosaurs. It’s always nice to see more dino diversity, and there’s several new species, or at least species we haven’t seen in a long time. The new standout is ‘Stiggy’, the Stygimoloch. She is adorable, and has a couple of great moments in the film. Kids will definitely love her. I mean, ours did. I mean, this movie might be scary for little kids but it really depends on your kid. Ours are obviously well-versed in all things dinosaur so they were fine.
-The nods and callbacks were subtle and didn’t interfere with the flow of the movie. If you’ve seen the first film, you should pick up on at least some of them. For me, they were an ‘ah!’ moment, not something that ground the story to a halt to remind you of the past.
- You know what Jurassic World didn’t have that Fallen Kingdom did? Dr. Ian Malcolm. Nuff said.
WHAT THEY GOT WRONG
-There’s one part with one particular dinosaur that rips your heart out, stomps on it, stubs out it’s cigarette in the remains, and then makes you eat it (the last part is my kid’s addition). When you see it, you’ll know. Bring tissues.
So, in conclusion, I actually liked this movie more than I expected I would. After the first Jurassic World I wasn’t super excited and I had pretty tempered expectations going in. And, thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a definite, definite step up and I recommend it.