Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom starts off with a bang. You expect a sequel to just be unnecessary and terrible but this is so much better than 2015’s Jurassic World in direction, visual effects, and storyline. We were hooked from the horror-like opening sequence and this film is honestly something to enjoy.
The First Half
The opening sequence introduces themes of horror that make these films extremely tense and give them the wow factor. The end of the opening sequence finishes with a serious ‘oh shit’ moment. The first half has just the right amount of build up of tension and it’s very much entertaining while the humour wasn’t at all exaggerated.
The Second Half
‘Do you remember the first time that you saw a dinosaur?’
Clares’ question leads us into the second half of the film and takes risks that you’ll really appreciate, morphing into something else: an exhilarating, contained, gothic horror.
Although it may not seem like it, Clares (Bryce Dallas Howard) question is actually directed at the audience watching the sequel and not at Owen (Chris Pratt). Is the wonder of the first Jurrasic Park movie being recreated here in this sequel? The creation of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park allowed the audience members to be in awe as they watched these creatures on the big screen like never before, this question is allowing us to remember that half way through the movie. Yet it’s compared to the now nightmarish, genetically modified dinosaurs. What was once spectacular has now become monstrous and dangerous. There are a few jump scares, large gothic mansion with dinosaur remains, prominent silhouettes and plenty of dinosaur action (as expected). One scene in particular uses horror and silhouettes well in which a young girl stands with her back to a cage leaving the audience to watch as a sharp claw slowly and gently reaches out, brushing her hair. There is plenty effective uses of shadows, whether it’s to set the mood or to build tension. Seeing Guillermo Del Toro name in the ending credits explains the influence of the darkness. Director JA Bayona brings new personal flair to the Jurassic World franchise moving it in a big way from what it was, injecting the film with exhilarating set pieces and action that was genuinely gripping. The one take sequence of Clare and Franklin inside a gyrosphere flooding with water felt totally realistic and had you on the edge of your seat, making you panic yourself.
The storyline sticks to it’s classic theme of about nature and how it balances itself out. The first was about the original T-Rex having to kill the genetically created dinosaur, and this movie is slightly similar in that way. We got serious Godzilla/Planet Of the Apes vibes as the film has apocalyptic tones, highlighted by Jeff Goldblums speech in his cameo scenes. The humans are the ones in the wrong, and we look at the dinosaurs in a different light as issues of animal rights are raised. The whole film brings about an anxiety within as we reflect on mans ability to maintain itself in the face of disaster.
Character wise, it’s not perfect. There are plenty ‘screaming when you should be running’ moments which as a viewer is infuriating but entertaining. There are worse cinematic crimes. Bryce Dallace Howard can’t be compared to Laura Derm as she doesn’t have much depth to her, and to be honest we felt more of an emotional connection to the dinosaurs than to her and Owen. The villains are bad because they’re not bad enough and there are definitely logic fails that are laughable.
But, should you see the film?
The film sets up a sequel, leaving many unanswered questions at the end. Hopefully they’ll steer away from genetically modified dinos and leave us with the familiar ones we’ve grown up with. This movie in our eyes was a complete success. With Ethan having loved the original Jurassic Parks so much, there were real risks of these sort of films ruining the franchise. But we believe that so far, they’ve done a good job.
Bayona, please stay for part 3?