I took my kid to see Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, this last weekend. I dislike all of the Jurassic Park sequels, but the kid, you see, really likes dinosaurs, so we went. At the end of the day, these aren’t the worst movies ever made. Like, they aren’t the fucking Transformers movies. And worst-case scenario, you get to enjoy at least a handful of folks getting eaten or smooshed by big critters.
Then again, this new one is pretty god damned awful. The writing is on the wall, here. This series is stretching pretty thin. And, like other popular science-fiction franchises, like Terminator or Alien, every one of these damn things are more or less remakes of the first entry, albeit with an increase in diminishing returns.
Jurassic World: Diminishing Returns.
There are no truly likeable characters in Fallen Kingdom. There are returning actors to the franchise, but they may as well be totally different characters than the ones in the last movie. These protagonists and antagonists were mostly broadly drawn caricatures in the previous one, and they are somehow less than that in this current iteration.
And I’ve ragged on the first Jurassic World a lot, but it is practically The Godfather compared to the boring piece of shit in theaters, now. I mean, Fallen Kingdom has to be neck and neck with Part 3 for worst in the series.
And I do mean that Fallen Kingdom, which is pretty much a remake of Jurassic World which is in turn a remake of Jurassic Park, revisits whole setpieces from Steven Spielberg’s outing: prolonged opening that gets characters to an island that they know better than to go to; shady corporate types doing shady shit to get dinos off the island; running with a herd of dinos; a tiny screaming girl in a small enclosure. Except, to the filmmakers’ credit, they opted to set the third act in what looks like a haunted mansion instead of a visitor’s center, or whatever.
Damn, this movie even has the prerequisite dino-opening-a-door shot. This movie is a remake of a remake, but dressed up as one part Roland Emmerich disaster movie and one part gothic haunted house movie. In between these two parts is a bunch of boring-ass shit that you’ll probably forget. Fallen Kingdom’s running time is just over two hours but feels closer to ten.
After it was over, I asked the kid what her favorite part was and she told me it was the part where the guy gets eaten off a ladder. If you’ve not seen the movie, that’s in the very first scene. But I’d have to agree with her. The opening sting is the best overall part of the movie. This is a little phenomenon that I like to call “They Saved The Best For First” and if you’ve ever watched Terminator 3 and remember the cool car chase, then you know exactly what I mean. Super awesome and intense moment, followed by the rest of the increasingly disappointing movie.
So, uh, here’s my definitive ranking from best to worst of the Jurassic franchise:
All the rest…
Although, there are events in this new film that hint towards a future entry featuring human/dino genetic hybrids. Please, God, give me at least one of these movies with a shotgun-wielding velociraptor. It’s the only thing I want out of this franchise, now. Just take this ship and steer it straight into Flavor Town.
Maybe this is the Jurassic version of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which basically existed to get us to the next movie.
So, to recap… I liked the haunted house vibe at the end, but it felt so out of place—not only in this particular series of films but in the very film in which it takes place. I can only describe Fallen Kingdom as schizophrenic, at best. Some wonderful ideas, great cinematography, dinosaurs eating people, but the film feels like a Frankenstein monster of at least three different movies.
Also, can at least one of these fucking movies not have separate subplots featuring a kid and an IT person? Is that really an element that’s vital to the DNA of these movies?
I feel like I’d be more forgiving if the Jurassic sequels were rated R and loaded with gore. You can’t tell me that Fallen Kingdom doesn’t feel like watching a SyFy Channel movie. The most expensive Asylum knockoff, yet!
Ugh, that almost makes me like it when I think of it like that.