The latest installment in the Jurassic franchise has a very apt name. This kingdom has indeed fallen. And boy oh boy does it need to be buried until a more Utopian civilisation can do something with it.
Studios are able to make a film memorable, likable or at least decent with one or more pillars which uphold a film. The pillars can consist of the story, characters and themes. It doesn’t really matter if only one of these pillars is presented well; at least then a creative idea was expressed. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom achieves none of these.
A lot of people grew up with the Jurassic Park films. The first one was undoubtedly a brilliant piece of work. The second whilst not that good, at least kept a similar tone and the motivations for people being there made sense. The story was cohesive on the whole. The third was pretty much garbage, but, it introduced new dinosaurs and didn’t make the audience feel stupid. The characters within the third film are stupid but the film itself didn’t treat the audience as stupid. Along come the Jurassic World films to fix that exact mistake.
The first Jurassic World was a quaint idea. A nice little reboot with an updated park and agenda. Plus there’s a whole load more the studio can do with the product now technology has come a fair distance since Jurassic Park 3. That is until you look at the script behind all of the fan-service. “Oh hey do you remember this area and these vehicles and shit from the previous films”. Behind this thinly veiled nostalgia trip lies corporate shunning of anything that makes a film memorable. Now, onto the newest abomination.
An Extinct Story
The wafer that is this story is quick to summarize. It’s a two part adventure tale where the first half consists of saving the dinosaurs from one of the islands where a volcano is going to erupt and wipe them out. The second half is about a shady auction where the saved dinosaurs are sold to the highest bidder.
Right off the bat this makes no sense. They’ve already established this “world” within the same universe as the Jurassic Park films, so why they’re treating the dinosaurs that were saved as the last of their kind I won’t ever know. But fine, people would still want to buy them.
Another issue with the basement auction arises when you step back and remember that the owner is still living upstairs, unaware of any of this taking place.
- How does this happen, how did you not suspect someone was building something in your basement?
- The auction room is huge, how was this all setup without anyone noticing?
- How the hell was there enough room for all the dinosaurs let alone a Brontosaurus, or whatever long-necked dinosaur it was?
- How would this specific dinosaur be transported without any suspicion?
So both halves of this film take existing tropes and ideas already seen in the films and… does nothing different with them. We’ve already seen that some dinosaurs had escaped the islands previously. Off to a great and consistent start.
Heroes and Villains
On the release of the first Jurassic World a video went around which I feel perfectly describes why the two protagonists are so unlikeable. I’ll link the video below.
A brief summary of the video is that the protagonists of both Jurassic World films are Burke from Aliens. The corporate stooge everyone hated and loved seeing being killed off. In both Jurassic World films, however, they’re meant to be adored and inspirational.
Fallen Kingdom introduces a few new characters into the fray, albeit it only briefly. We discover that John Hammond had a brother, who was estranged. I guess they needed a stronger connection to the previous films? I don’t know, just feels like a poor attempt at fan service.
Next we have the filler characters, who generally add nothing to the overall story but just help edge the events forward. They were so well written I had to look them up to find out their names.
We have Eli Mills, who is running the company for Brother Hammond, and is the embodiment of a corporate whore. Then there’s Maisie, the girl, who is pointless until the end. And you have the two randomers who help Chris Pratt. Again, they contributed very little besides increasing the demographic in the film.
Now that I’ve established generally the types of characters involved, here’s a spoiler list of what they contribute to the film:
- Hammond’s brother (Benjamin Lockwood); no character, just there for exposition and dies.
- Chris Pratt; look pretty, be sarcastic while feigning care for anyone but himself.
- Bryce Dallas Howard; be pretty, attract girls to watch the film and pretend to be a strong independent woman.
- Girl; is a clone which is her only plot device which adds nothing to the story or anything happening.
- Random side character; there to appeal to racial demographics and that’s it as the comic relief is already there with Chris Pratt.
- Hunter and Eli Mills; there needs to be people more unlikable than the main cast.
Time to Bury the Series
Once the film ends and the credits start to roll, I feel it is time for this series to be taken behind the shed and shot. Until this time of dumbing down films and writing two-dimensional characters is over, there can be no redeeming feature for this franchise.
There are no more questions about the ethics of this technology coming to fruition. Instead, all potential debates are pushed to the side and merely taunted for the sake of being shocking. It’s a shame that the magic from the first film has been lost. And it’s ironic that the franchise itself has become the embodiment of John Hammond; not investing in the right areas.