When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, It redefined the barriers of monster films. With its distinguishable CGI(that surprisingly holds up better than many modern CGI masterpieces), tense situations and a bloody Tyrannosaurus running around, scaring the living daylights out of its audience, Steven Spielberg changed the perception of the monster genre, akin to what he once did with Jaws. Time and again, out of the current overflow of monster films, Jurassic Park remains a landmark stepping stone in the genre, one that got hordes to come back for the surprisingly well done 3D reissue in 2013.After two disappointing sequels, Jurassic World brought back the fun back to the franchise with a heaping bowlful of nostalgia and familiarity shoved down your throat. But that tactic can go only so far.
Continuing 3 years after Jurassic World, The island of Isla Nublar is facing an extinction level event, where a volcano eruption threatens to spiral the prehistoric organisms back to their prehistoric existence. Claire Dearing, the former operations manager at Jurassic World, has become an activist looking to attain federal funding to save the species. A breakthrough comes when a private investor agrees to fund the expedition, as financed by Eli Mills. Owen Grady, the former raptor trainer at Isla Nublar, is recruited with the intention of saving Blue, the hyper intelligent velociraptor. Things go awry and many hidden secrets comes out in the open, establishing the central conflict of the film as to whether these ancient beings be let to die as nature correcting what man disrupted or to rescue these creatures in preservation of the genetic powerhouses humans built.
Jurassic World : Fallen Kingdom has fallen to the same trap that the first film found itself in, overall familiarity and reworking of the original trilogy.
While there is nothing wrong with that, it’s nearly not as well done as Star Wars:The Force Awakens was, which used the same trope to its advantage to create a more modern, inclusive retelling of A New Hope. The element of predictability sets in such a manner that it slowly mutes the thematic effect of the central conflict, leading it to be a lesser version of the film that it could have been. What The Fallen Kingdom does is rework the story of The Lost World, mixing in elements from Kong:Skull Island to create a plot that is still new, but extremely familiar and tedious. One must take into account the previous body of work when considering J.A Bayona’s direction in the film. The director of three films and a TV show, three of the media being explicitly horror or having horror elements, shows his strength when dealing with something as malicious and mythical as dinosaurs. One could sense from the first sequence of the film, that the film will follow a horror laced path throughout. The benefit and shortcoming of that is, it leads to a far tenser, tighter thriller at the expense of the action adventure route we have been used to when watching the Jurassic Saga films.
This inadvertently leads to a darker atmosphere, that needed a better fleshed out story. In all honesty, the tonal implications of the film would have been beautifully complimented with the central conflict as presented by Dr. Ian Malcolm at the start of the film, but is let down by a poor tedious storyline. I fully blame this on Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, both of whom carried over the shortcomings of the previous film’s script to this one. In saying that, full credits to Bayona for making a tense thriller out of a storyline that is leveraged on nostalgia, cliche character and superficial emotional moments.
Coming to characters, The film has a bunch of cliched characters that we have seen before, but to much less effect
Barring Pratt’s Owen Grady and Howard’s Claire Dearing, all the characters are the stereotypical bunch with one-dimensional personalities. We have the psychopathic villain, the unaware elder, the mad bully mercenary, the child who always goes too far, the frantic computer guy and the short-tempered specialist. While the actors do justice to their characters and their stereotypical behavior plays out for laughs at times, it makes a tedious script look even more tiring with its unoriginal premise and undeveloped characters. But when talking about the two positives, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing’s romantic history is developed further and their chemistry and personality traits defined further. While that may not be enough to salvage the character side of things, it still provides something to hold on to.
The standout of the cast remains Chris Pratt. We have seen him as a gun-toting space cowboy and a dinosaur riding cowboy, but Pratt shows a hefty amount of depth in this film, showcasing an emotional side to a jock character with a hue of fatherly figure showcased for both the young child and the dinosaur he raised. This is unlike Pratt’s past roles, but in recent films like the marvel studios slate, he’s showing a much more refined side of his acting and i wish to see more in the future. Bryce Dallas Howard is as pleasant as ever, but nothing exemplary that stands out.
What does stand out is the visual splendor on display. Every frame is well shot and adds a dramatic layer to it, especially two sequences involving a stranded dinosaur and an approaching dinosaur. I would keep the details of it a secret because I’d rather one experiences those shots themselves. Óscar Faura plays with the framing to explore an extended color palette that enriches the visual moments and handles the darker moments. It’s this kind of cinematography that makes the trip to the cinemas worthwhile. The music by Micheal Giacchino serves well in the underlay, not being too overbearing at any time, sparking the right amount of dynamics to make the scene come alive.
All considered, the film is let down by its storyline and plotting. The technical brilliance and a refreshing tonal hue to an aging franchise couldn’t help it rise above mediocre screenwriting. What it does though, is make the ride enough joyful to sit down and pass your 2 hours amazed at the onslaught of the modern meets prehistoric. That is sad, considering the confident direction of Bayona, the standout performance of Pratt, the stellar visual display of Óscar Faura and the overall cohesiveness in the technical side couldn’t save this film from being weighed down. To my dismay, it makes me say that maybe, just maybe, this franchise should end here, preventing itself from going down a route of no redemption. The worse part of it is that we all know that won’t happen.
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Jack of many trades, but a master of none. A businessman by profession, but a chef by heart, Dipanjan has his hands dirty with photography and photoshop. He would spend all his day sleeping if he could, and makes the same resolution of losing weight every year(but to no avail) . Also has two daughters, which are actually dogs, but sshhh we don’t tell him that.