THE ORIGINAL Jurassic Park is, in my opinion, one of the greatest films ever made. Based on the best selling Michael Crichton novel, it was an all-star team of great actors, with director Steven Spielberg at the absolute top of his game.
Re-watching it recently reveals it has aged wonderfully, even the special effects hold up. The ripple in the water, the shaking jelly in the kitchen, and the tapping claw of the raptor are all incredible cinematic moments. The first shot of the brontosaurus, the debates about playing God and chaos theory...I could go on about why it is a perfect film but unfortunately I’m reviewing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Fallen kingdom indeed.
Jurassic World (2015 ) was directed by Colin Trevorrow, the next big thing at the time. Financially, he lived up to the hype as the film made $1.6 billion world wide. Trevorrow's star has dramatically faded since. His personal project, The Book of Henry, was not only a commercial flop but was well and truly mocked and ridiculed. Since that disaster, he has been stripped of Star Wars episode 9, a massive embarrassment, and has been reduced to the role of executive producer and co-writer on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
The first half of the film is relatively straightforward. The second half features one of the more bizarre changes of speed I have ever seen a studio blockbuster take. After escaping the island, the story moves to a wealthy old philanthropist's mansion. It belongs to Henry Lockwood, the former partner of the original Jurassic Park creator Richard Hammond. In this mansion the story is completely turned on his head.
Lockwood has a suspicious assistant who is clearly up to no good and a parentless granddaughter who seems to have secrets of her own - making it all straight out of a Daphne du Maurier novel. It is a strange move and really does not work. One reveal is hinted at for several scenes and the reveal is supposed to land with massive weight but unfortunately lands like the punchline of a joke. There was audible laughter in the screening I attended.
I saw Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 3D. Even that did not help the fact the characters have zero depth. It is comfortably one of the worst scripts from a major studio I have ever sat through. The chemistry between the two leads, played by the usually great Bruce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt is non existent. The film is overloaded with cliché ridden characters more suited to a Saturday morning cartoon than big budget blockbuster. The plot itself is all over the place and feels like two (bad ) films stuck together.
In the original Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum laments “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." That is pretty much how I feel about Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom.