Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Movie Review (Spoilers)

Note from Average Joe

As my first movie review, I want to outline a few changes between this review and my previous video game reviews. In this review I will be dedicating an entire category to characters since they are more integral to a movie that I feel they are in video games. I will also go into more detail regarding the story and dependent on the movies genre (Action, Comedy, Romance etc.), I will analyze the movie in terms of how well it represented its respective genre. Another note I want to make is that this is a repost of a blog that disappeared from my page for no apparent reason, so sorry for those who’ve already read it. With all that said, let’s get into this review.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – A Dino-mic film

Terrible review title aside, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the sequel to the 2015 film Jurassic World. Set after the titular first movie, it follows Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and a handful of new characters, as they aim to save the last surviving dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption. All soon descends into chaos when a corrupt organization unleashes a newly created dinosaur, always a good idea.

Story (Spoilers)

The plot of this movie is honestly a predictable one. Owen and Claire are asked to retrieve any remaining dinosaurs they can in order to preserve them, as requested by a good looking business man. Surprise, surprise he had alternative desires and intends to sell the dinosaurs to the top 1%. But when he unveils a descendant of the Indominus Rex from the first movie, now named the Indoraptor, all hell breaks loose when the 100% efficient killing machine gets loose, it’s up to Owen, Claire along with a little girl named Maisie played by Isabella Sermon have to put a stop to it. The story also has a secondary plotline that raises the question of whether or not dinosaurs should be allowed to live as other animals do, focusing largely on Jeff Goldblooms character Dr Ian Malcom as he brings up the topic of how these creatures were removed for a reason back in their hay day, and they will be now. But that aside the main plot is honestly a little bit dreary, it is somewhat fresh, but also has a lot of elements that have been seen before. For instance the climax of the movie takes place on the mainland, like in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and the Raptor named Blue once again takes the spotlight as the one to finish off the villain dinosaur albeit with no T-Rex or Mosasaur to help. The movie also has some debatable choices in terms of its big twists and major plot moments. For instance there’s a subplot involving a girl who gets tied up in the dinosaur rumble, and the big twist at the end of her character arc is really out of place and not necessarily impactful, in that it doesn’t alter the story except to help usher in the ending. Speaking of the ending, it both works for me and doesn’t work for me. Without spoiling too much it ends with the dinosaurs being set free and roaming freely in the world, a cool idea but the way it is executed takes away the gravitas of an otherwise heart wrenching scene where the dinosaurs all die. The dinosaurs didn’t need to survive to continue the story, after all there were test tubes with their DNA in them shown moments before, so the story could still continue. I know it is meant to be a bittersweet ending, but it isn’t really that satisfying. That said, the narrative does flow well and while it is predictable, has a lot of cool factor to keep you interested for the most part. So overall, it’s a decent story with some uneventful twists and a predictable plot, but it gets a pass.

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Characters

The characters in this movie are good. Owen Wilson is a likable lead, albeit a bit too likable to come off as complex, and Claire Dearing is a likeable female lead, much more likable than in her previous installment. Now a Dinosaur rights activist, she helps drive home the message of dinosaurs having the same rights as other animals and this helps to kick start the plot. Aside from these two we have new characters, one being the walking nerd cliché Franklin Web (played by Justice Smith) and the hot headed Dinosaur Veterinarian Zia Rodriguez (played by Daniella Pineda). Both these new characters are enjoyable to watch, despite being somewhat clichéd and not having much of a personality other than their specific archetype. We see Jeff Goldbloom reprise his role as Dr Ian Malcom and he does what he needs to, serve to propel the secondary plot about dinosaur rights ahead, and he does this in a surprisingly subdued yet effective performance. We also see the return of Dr Henry Wu (Played by D.B Wong) who plays the same condescending wise crack he was before, but he does display some degree of fear in this movie which does actually show cracks in his resolve. Then there’s a new villain on the block named Eli Mills (Played by Rafe Spall). He’s honestly a dreary villain, and about as predictable as they come. From the first frame you see him he’s clearly the villain despite acting the part of the nice guy. We all know he’s got ulterior motives, is a money driven fool who’ll get his comeuppance from the very beginning. Also his plot to weaponize and profit off of Dinosaurs is something we saw last movie, so it really doesn’t add much to the movie. The Isabella Sermon also plays a good part and is a pleasantly likable yet flawed child character. So in conclusion, the reoccurring characters are faithful to their previous incarnation and have shown some development, whereas the newer characters are either cliché or predictable, but still fun to watch.

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Presentation

In terms of visuals the movie is actually pretty good. I know that in this day and age where CGI is everywhere you can’t really praise a movie for its effects, but this is MY review and I’m going to do that. So yeah this movie has some decent CGI, particularly with the dinosaurs. A lot of the dinosaurs look good, all possessing a certain level of personality that really adds to the immersion. I also like the inclusion of practical effects for some of the dinosaurs instead of always defaulting to CGI. I especially liked the practical effects they used for the Indoraptor, it added so much realism to the monster and made its presence all the more terrifying (more on that later). The set design was also good, the Lockwood Manor was a really creepy setting for the final confrontation with the Indoraptor and the CGI for the island was very grand and I found myself genuinely moved at the destruction of the island with how they show it’s full annihilation. I must also praise the camera work in this movie, once again used very well with the dinosaurs. There are low angle shots a plenty on display, making the dinosaurs really seem larger than life. I particularly like a shot in which the dinosaur called the Baryonyx appears through a pipe, illuminated dimly by flashes of lava, I really must give them credit for constructing that scene. The climax of the movie also adopts a lot of fun camera angles and setting changes, taking place in tight corridors and the slow moving camera movements that follow the Indoraptor in it’s assault on Maisie has bundles of dread. Overall, fabulous visuals and clever camera angles, great presentation in my opinion.

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The Indoraptor

I cannot, I repeat, cannot finish this review without talking about the Indoraptor. This creature stole the show for me, and elevated the third act to the best part of the movie. While I wasn’t necessarily impressed or intimidated by the Indominus Rex, I was most defiantly impressed and intimidated by the Indoraptor. For me, the Indominus rex was a bit too graceful even with its bulky body and too pristine to look like a menacing dinosaur. Don’t get me wrong I still thought it was an enjoyable dinosaur, but I don’t think it commanded as much dread as the Indoraptor. It’s design is awesome, looking like a real dinosaur, but having this collection of features that make it seem artificial like it should. I loved how intelligent they made this creature, the way we see it creep around the Lockwood Manor and ultimately foil the heroes at every turn is thrilling to watch. Sadism gushes from this creature, seeing it play with its prey is very uncomfortable and a really excellent use of scare factor. The shots in which this dinosaur crawls around the manor, stalking the heroes, before switching to crazed chaser is a great display of its animalistic nature, but they gave it habits that add more layers to its character. My favorite s how it taps it big claw on the ground to try and scare its prey, that is an excellent little quirk to give it, this dinosaur truly a terrifying addition to the Jurassic Park universe.

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Grades

  • Story: 3/5 – A predictable plot with somewhat recycled elements but adds just enough to the lore to keep it interesting despite some unnecessary twists.
  • Characters: 3/5 – The characters we all remember from the previous movie are good, with the newer characters either being fun yet clichéd or just plain cliché.
  • Presentation: 4/5 – The visuals in this movie are actually pretty sweet, with some good looking dinosaurs and landscapes along with some appropriate practical effects.
  • Genre Representation: 4/5 – As an adventure film it certainly succeeds, despite treading some common ground it is still a fun ride to watch the events unfold. The climax even taking on horror elements which works very well with what they’re used in tangent with.
  • (Unique Grade) Indoraptor: 5/5 – I love the Indoraptor too much, this thing is downright menacing and I absolutely love it! Defiantly the highlight of the movie.

 

  • Final Grade: 3/5 – It’s a run of the mill monster adventure movie with some decent acting, fun visuals and a pretty awesome final enemy. Definatly give it a watch if you’re a fan of the Jurassic Park movies.

Screenshots taken from the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Official Trailer #2 [HD] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NooW_RbfdWI

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