While the original Jurassic World, which I have cooled on quite a bit since writing a fairly positive review of when it came out, was content to mostly just do the Jurassic Park again, but bigger and “better,” Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom tries to do more. In many ways, the Jurassic World movies echo the Disney Star Wars movies. The first does everything in its power to remind you of why you liked the series in the first place, the second does a little of mashing up other sequels in an attempt to propel the series forward after the back looking entry. But like how Jurassic World kind of fumbled the call back to the original formula, Fallen Kingdom pushes the series forward while giving the viewer no reason to believe that it has any clue where it is coming from.
A few years after the disaster at the park in Jurassic World, the volcano on isla nubar, where the dinosaurs are, becomes active and is going to erupt. Claire, Bryce Dallas Howard, is part of a group that is trying to do something to save the dinosaurs. She gets help from Benjamin Lockwood, the previously unknown partner of John Hammond who wants to save a few species of dinos and take them to another island. The need Claire to get into Jurassic World’s systems, and they need her to recruit Owen Grady, Chris Pratt, to help them get the velociraptor Blue. Once they arrive at the island, it becomes clear that they are not there to save the dinosaurs for any humanitarian purposes, but to capture the dinos for reasons unknown. Eventually it becomes clear that the genetic experiments that created the Indominus Rex are still happening.
Like the original Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World, Fallen Kingdom splits time between the islands and the mainland and brings some dinosaurs to the mainland. It has the main characters there on an altruistic mission and the villains there for profit. While the series always was scifi, Fallen Kingdom pushes it further in that direction. The cloning procedures that brought the return of the dinos is now so much more than it started as.
There are times when I find Fallen Kingdom almost admirable, but it ends up feeling like a collection of ideas for further Jurassic adventures. There isn’t a lot to tie the various strands together. The island stuff is almost fully disconnected from the mainland stuff. Someone just had the idea of dinosaurs and a volcano. Just like someone had the idea of a raptor sneaking around a big old mansion. The movie just kind of throws all these things out there and hopes the viewer can make something of them. Characters get lost along the way, held together only by Chris Pratt’s and Bryce Dallas Howard’s charm.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. Despite how jumbled it seems, there is a certain amount of fun to be had with dinosaurs in these various scenarios. The way the movie just goes for even its most outlandish ideas has a charm all of its own. But I can’t imagine looking back fondly on this movie even a year or two from now.