Why is it that sequels so bent on continuing stories and fleshing out backstories are much more confusing? It’s a curious thing that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom places such a high premium on plot continuity with little regard for why anyone liked Jurassic Park in the first place. What began as a visually thrilling summer blockbuster with just enough of a brain to merit repeat viewings has become an eyesore made by people who seem to know what smart people sound like but forgot to make the characters recognizable facsimiles of humans before they speak.
These are all things one might forgive if the movie was any fun—we’ve run glowing reviews of at least two Fast & Furious movies—but watching Fallen Kingdom is such an unengaging experience, you may as well bring a book and wait for the dinosaur noise to know when to look up. It’s almost impressive that they managed to make a movie this expensive look and feel so cheap.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
PG-13, 128 minutes
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX, Violet Crown Cinema
Following the events of Jurassic World, the fate of Isla Nublar and its prehistoric inhabitants is in doubt as a long-dormant volcano threatens to wipe out life on the island. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) are reunited by a rich guy to help save the dinos and transport them to a safe haven where they can live in peace. Now with no more information, try to guess where this all goes wrong.
The only Jurassic sequel that would make sense is one where the world decides dinosaurs aren’t worth it and everyone stays the hell away. But if they really have to continue this story, the least they could do is make the intrigue a little more intriguing.
The part of Jurassic Park’s story that resonated was man’s inability to accept that he ought not play god. Life, ah, finds a way, as it were, and all of the safety precautions in the world won’t save us from the natural order of things. If you treat all of existence as your plaything, it’s going to want to play back in a way you’re not going to like. Fallen Kingdom is about the directionless love story between the leads, answering story questions no one asked and repeating itself ad nauseum. The big deal last time was the creation of a new species. That’s exactly what happens again.
You can’t talk about Jurassic Park without mentioning its revolutionary use of special effects that still look amazing more than two decades later. Astonishingly, as these techniques have become more accessible and presumably more cost-effective, they also look worse and worse with every installment. The first movie bent over backward to make us believe that a dinosaur could look real on film. Fallen Kingdom takes that trust for granted and throws up any ol’ dingy looking CG monstrosity, which is frankly insulting to the audience’s intelligence.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a pointless, directionless movie that doesn’t bother to be fun along the way. The dinosaurs went extinct long ago, and we should leave them that way, just as we should leave Jurassic Park’s legacy be.
Playing this week
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
377 Merchant Walk Sq., 326-5056
Incredibles 2, Ocean’s 8, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX
The Shops at Stonefield, 244-3213
Avengers: Infinity War, Book Club, Deadpool 2, Incredibles 2, Ocean’s 8, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Superfly, Tag
Violet Crown Cinema
200 W. Main St., Downtown Mall, 529-3000
Hereditary, Incredibles 2, Mountain, Ocean’s 8, RBG, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?