Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Director: JA Bayona
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafa Spall, Justice Smith
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Where’s something primevally beautiful about watching an unsubduable creature forge a bond with a human. We have shown our fascination for this trope in films like King Kong, Planet of the Apes, Life of Pi, and Avatar. The more fierce the creature, the more heartwarming the bond, usually. And at a time when the Jurassic franchise is trundling along, you can see why the makers would be tempted to take refuge in this time-tested idea.
The franchise, naturally, isn’t short of fierce creatures, and while a T-Rex is too dull to forge a bond, a velociraptor isn’t. If they can figure out door handles (remember that iconic scene in the first film?), they can figure out humans too. The last film, Jurassic World, sowed the seeds of this raptor-human relationship, with Owen (Chris Pratt) shown training raptors and creating somewhat of a bond with them, especially with the one named Blue. In this film, the relationship has evolved to such depth that Owen, at one point, asks Blue to come along with him, with the raptor almost considering it. I love me some animals, and so, the raptor scenes, as they say these days, hit me right in the feels.
The film’s as crafty as its raptor, given how it plots its entertainment by settling for evoking nostalgia. There’s very little novelty in the story, which is just a collection of ideas you’ve already seen in the previous four films. The young Maisie Lockwood being pursued by a raptor hybrid harks back to Tim and Lex being hunted by raptors at the end of the first film. Benjamin Lockwood’s right-hand man turning against him after being overcome by greed is straight out of the second film, The Lost World.
I don’t think there’s much from Jurassic Park III and it’s just as well given it’s the weakest of all films, including this one. The last film, Jurassic World, came up with a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur called Indominus Rex, after the makers realised that the usual dinosaurs had become less menacing on account of all the exposure. This film takes it a step further with a new dinosaur called Indoraptor, with genes begotten from the Indominus Rex and a velociraptor. This one’s now smart enough to feign unconsciousness. It seems like the franchise is headed the Planet of the Apes way, as the creatures get smarter and the humans realise they are being forced to share their world.
I didn’t quite mind Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, largely because the child-like awe of watching giant dinosaurs strut about isn’t yet lost on me. Otherwise, the sheer repetition of ideas in this film would have been quite hard to sit through. Towards the end, there’s something about the origin of a child and a deadly chemical getting leaked, and you hear of these things by way of clunky exposition through forced dialogues. But so long as there are dinosaurs running around, eating people, it all seems still fairly palatable.
There’s a new dinosaur called Stygimoloch which goes a long way in spicing up things towards the end. It’s absolutely adorable and going around head-butting everyone, and the slapstick humour is well in keeping with the sort the Owen-Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) pair is known for in the franchise. I’m quite kicked about seeing more of the head-butting dino, and of course, Blue, the raptor, but hopefully, they’ll exist in a story, and not just a mumbo-jumbo of important events from previous films.