MOVIE REVIEW – One of the things that make the Jurassic Park saga so mythical is the music of John Williams. That majestic soundtrack is one of the most recognizable compositions of the legendary composer. In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom there are moments when the best-known song in the saga is briefly played, but it is never completely unleashed, something that is a perfect analogy for the film in general. In the Fallen Kingdom everything is felt, there is never a moment that is worthy of that iconic music.
Returning to the story three years after Jurassic World, the 2015 film, when the Fallen Kingdom starts, the world finds itself in a moral dilemma. A volcano threatens to kill all the dinosaurs that remain on the planet. Do we save them like any other endangered species? Alternatively, knowing what they usually do to humans (in five movies so far), do we let them die?
At the beginning of the film, it seems as if that debate is going to be the focus of the plot. It’s such an interesting and mature discussion that when the film really lets the characters develop it, Fallen Kingdom is at its best, challenging the expectations that the blockbusters cannot have serious plots. However, while the idea is part of the film, it usually remains in the background before the main plot.
That main plot is about Claire (Dallas Bryce Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt), who has been hired to return to Jurassic World to help capture the velociraptor Blue, the last of its kind. It’s the billionaire Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) who has hired them has been, who is believed to have been a partner of John Hammond when Hammond first cloned a dinosaur. Lockwood wants Blue, and several other species, to be placed in an uninhabited reserve. However, Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), partner of Lockwood, plans to sell the dinosaurs without his knowledge, to finance hybrid and armed dinosaurs that he will sell to the highest bidder.
Once Claire and Owen return to the park, director Juan Antonio Bayona begins to reveal a host of breathtaking scenes. Some are large-scale and epic, others are small and isolated, but they keep the film moving at a very fast pace. The images are also striking, as we might expect from a film that includes scenes in which dozens of dinosaurs are moving away from an active volcano. The problem is that all these scenes, although they are entertaining, begin to collide with each other. The big ones feel somewhat small. The little ones feel great. However, few stand out importantly.
Moreover, that feeling continues once Fallen Kingdom moves to his second main stage, the Lockwood lot. The idea of putting constrictions on dinosaurs could make the movie feel larger and more terrifying, making the stage look like a kind of haunted house. However, the film does not succeed; it only shows a standard chase and a narrative in which the protagonists have to escape. Again, Fallen Kingdom has some great moments and shots, but nothing worthy of the name ” Jurassic Park.”
Also, none of the characters really stands out. Claire and Owen become slightly more self-conscious versions. Mills is never an intimidating villain. Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum returns to his classic role) is rarely used. The importance of Lockwood for the franchise feels incredibly forced and, as a result, much of the logic behind the story is undermined. It is very likely that some of the things that happen at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom make the audience growls discontent instead of applauding.
Maybe what Claire said in the first Jurassic World is true. Maybe we have become so insensitive to seeing the dinosaurs running and eating people that we need something new and bigger to impress us. Unfortunately, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not that. Leaving aside your good times and some good ideas, it feels insignificant. There is no “wow!”
I was actually glad that they never fully used John Williams’ music. If they had, he would have reminded us of what this franchise can be, but this time it has not been.