After Jurassic World, you had to ask yourself how many more films could the Jurassic Park franchise spit out. It gets to a point where it’s almost comical that humans still insist with the dinosaur theme park concept. Fortunately, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is easily the most distinct and different film of the lot. In many ways, it has more in common with the Planet of the Apes franchise than it does with Jurassic Park.
The film is set after Jurassic World. A volcano threatens to wipe out the dinosaur life on Isla Nublar, and debate rages whether the animals should be saved or left to be. As expected, there are compelling arguments for both sides of the argument and it’s a debate that can be carried on long after the film’s final credits. When John Hammond’s former partner, Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), steps in, though, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) are led back to the island to save their dino buddies.
Things aren’t as simple as they sound, however, and there’s a twist in the mix – which I won’t spoil since the trailers did give a lot away. All I’ll say is, humans suck. The original Jurassic Park posed the question, how can humans and dinosaurs co-exist? Well, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gives us a preview of the answer. The word ‘preview’ is used intentionally because this film closes on a note that sets up an intriguing premise for the next entry in the franchise.
Much like the previous film, the plot is paper-thin; it’s extremely simple and easy to follow. It works, though, since the story is more about the theme of ‘life and death’ and the blurred lines of morality. What happens when man plays God and then needs to rectify his/her mistake? This isn’t a tale about the humans in Jurassic Park/Jurassic World anymore; it’s about the dinosaurs living in a human world.
What Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is about is the thrills and spills. It’s like an amusement park ride where your heart tries to escape your chest and you keep your knees to your chest as you fear what’s lurking around every corner. While Colin Trevorrow played it safe with Jurassic World, the new director J. A. Bayona pulls out all the stops here. Yes, there’s some familiarity in the scares and symmetry to the original Jurassic Park; however, there’s a whole bunch of new scenes and scares that take your breath away. The introduction of new dinosaurs also freshens up the roster, and you’ll undoubtedly find yourself cheering for the dinosaurs over the humans.
The one thing the film does better than the other films is the empathy it creates for the creatures. Of course they’re wild animals and they’ll stomp or eat you, but they’re still that: animals. They never asked to be reborn in this world, and they’re as lost and confused as the people who created them. It’s an issue of animal rights, and you can’t help but ponder the ramifications of it all.
If you’re expecting A Beautiful Mind here, with Blue the velociraptor playing a maths savant, you’ll be massively disappointed. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom plays to the franchise’s strengths here. It knows it’ll never recapture the novel feel of Jurassic Park, but it proves that life finds a way. This is the evolution of the series and it’s set to go down an intriguing road in the future.
A special thank you to Ster-Kinekor for the invite to the premiere. It took place at the new Sandton City Ster-Kinekor cinema complex and it looks absolutely superb. Everything has been revamped and there’s a modern feel to the design of the complex. We recommend you take the family and check it out for yourself.