Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) – J.A. Bayona

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom directed by J.A. Bayona, is a film that I did not have high expectations for, due to my thoughts on the first Jurassic World of 2015. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom therefore did not disappoint, as I knew what type of film I was going in to. While there are attempts to make the film bigger and more action-packed, and the film clearly has a core message about humanities role and behaviour towards other creatures, the film is sadly mediocre and feels as though it suffers from a lack of ambition in regards to showing us something new. By this I mean that the film’s premise feels repetitive of prior films in the sci-fi, adventure genre, and unfortunately feels as though it has predominantly not added anything to the franchise.

Director J.A. Bayona has directed films such as The Impossible (2012) and A Monster Calls (2016), and whilst I have not seen these films yet, from the trailers the emotional core of both films is noticeable. This is also the case in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, as the dinosaurs are shown in an empathetic light, which I think is more successful that the first film. Added to this, there are moments where the characters look in awe at the dinosaurs and this occurs a few times throughout the film to add to the sense of wonder the creatures should inspire. Furthermore, the special effects were done well and there are stylistic choices that did enhance the viewing experience, and show Bayona’s, as well as the rest of the crews, cinematography and ability to create these polished shots. Michael Giacchino’s score helps add to the building of suspense in the film, and the dramatic, grandiose music really heightens the tension throughout. Yet, sometimes this occurs too often, and the numerous near misses become less absorbing, because we have already seen it multiple times in the film.

The film did feel slightly scattered as it felt that there were a surplus of characters that were not fully developed or have a significant enough role to be included. There are multiple ‘bad guys’, that as is the case with some blockbuster films, feel uninspired and lack any interesting motive other than greed. The two side characters Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith), are presented on a surface level and it seems as though their depictions are meant to mix up stereotypical gender roles by presenting Zia as fearless, whilst Franklin is terrified and squeals. While I have no problem with the decision to portray these types of characters, it felt as though this was done without any meaning or purpose, except to serve a running gag, which I only found to be humorous on one or two occasions. In addition to this, the main characters of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) also felt lacklustre and there could have been more added to their characterisations. Certain character interactions fell flat and while I think the actors did a good job in their performances there was something missing, such that the performances lacked weight.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not a terrible film, and it made for some light-hearted fun entertainment, but it did follow a predictable premise, that gave the film no sense of novelty. The clichés that are used in the film feel forced and pointless, and some of these scenes took me out of the film as I considered why they were included, especially since they felt very self-aware that these moments, such as a kiss, are so formulaic and thus laughable. The ending of the film does however evoke an interest in where they could take the franchise and the possibility of a future film, but ultimately the film fell short for me. But at the end of the film the audience was clapping, so maybe I am in the minority.

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