Ask any person on the street the best part of the iconic ’80s blockbuster “Jurassic Park” and you’ll likely get the same answer every time: The part with the T-Rex. That bone-chilling, unshakable scene where poor little Timmy and Lex are nearly crushed by the ginormous dinosaur is one that has induced (and will continue to induce) nightmares in us all for decades.
However, just because the T-Rex’s close-up may be the unanimous favorite, it does not necessarily mean that Steven Spielberg owes the success of his hit flick to some fancy animatronics and a whole lot of suspense. Sturdy dialogue, an ingenious plotline and reasonably unpredictable characters are also to thank for the movie’s fame, something that “Jurassic World,” the spinoff franchise of “Jurassic Park,” lacks.
Given the crowd-pleasing history of the film franchises born from “Jurassic Park,” “Fallen Kingdom” is a film that you really want to like! The fiery special effects, dramatic, brassy score and a potentially alluring storyline align the film closely to its prequel, “Jurassic World,” but due to unbearably poor dialogue, underdeveloped characters and one too many nonsensical plot mishaps, “Fallen Kingdom” takes a sharp turn for the worse. Ultimately, the film derails entirely and fails to live up to the standards set by former films.
“Fallen Kingdom” pretty much picks up right where “Jurassic World” left off back in 2015 (with a tourism park in ruins, a genetic-modification experiment failed and the island evacuated of humans and ruled by dinosaurs). Without human interference, the genetically-manufactured dinosaurs on the island will soon go extinct. So the question arises: Should humans intervene on the behalf of the animals, as they would with any endangered species, or should nature be allowed to run its course?
Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard, “Gold”), the former business executive in charge of Jurassic World, passionately advocates for the former option and finds herself teaming up with old friend and love-interest Owen (Chris Pratt, “Avengers: Infinity War”) to save the doomed creatures.
While on a rescue mission to retrieve a raptor named Blue, one of the most intelligent dinosaurs on the island, it quickly becomes clear that, little to Owen and Claire’s knowledge, the true purpose behind the rescue mission is to sell the dinosaurs as military weapons.
Although the plot is riddled with puzzling holes and not particularly inventive, the real shortcoming is in the development of the characters.
Unlike “Jurassic World” where Pratt dazzled us with his wit and cheeky, sexy banter with Dallas Howard, the dialogue shared between the two in “Fallen Kingdom” is unbelievably basic. The talent of both actors is wasted, as everything is focused so strongly on the action and escaping the threat of whichever dinosaur. The pace of action becomes far too fast, leaving no room for the development of character chemistry or humor.
In addition new characters like scientist Daniella (Zia Rodriguez, “The Detour”) and nervous computer hacker Franklin (Justice Smith, “The Get Down”) are haphazardly interwoven into the storyline, clearly with minimal effort. Not to mention, every supporting character in the entire film is practically an exact replica of what we just saw three years in “Jurassic World” (e.g. the macho, militaristic hunter; the brilliant, yet corrupt doctor; the clueless and money hungry business mogul, etc.).
By the end, the progressively stupider decisions of the characters and lack of deviation from the “Jurassic World” mold become too frustrating to endure. A pinch of creativity, whether via comedic relief or relevant plot twists, could make “Fallen Kingdom” a decent film, but without this dash the latest installment in the franchise has nothing more than explosives and CGI to charm audiences — and that’s just not enough to do the trick.