Islar Nublar, the home of Jurassic World is under threat. A long dormant volcano is about to erupt and Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) needs Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) to return to the island to save as many dinosaurs as they can.
Following the phenomenal success of Jurassic World (currently the 5th highest grossing film ever) a sequel was always going to happen. The question was could they come up with a good enough reason for people to interact with dinosaurs for a 5th time? Unfortunately the answer is no.
There are two ways to assess Fallen Kingdom. Firstly, you can look at the plot and the story and find it woefully short of new or interesting ideas. Secondly, you can look at its ability to create tense moments and thrilling action sequences where it finds some success.
Let’s start with the bad. Whilst bizarre to say so about a film where humans clone dinosaurs, a level of plausibility would be useful. If you can brush past all or most of the following you might not have so many gripes; Claire is now a dinosaur activist and there is a strong save the dinosaurs movement (you know, the incredibly dangerous animals that killed lots of people in all the other films); There is a shady businessman who works for someone we’ve never met before who is linked to Hammond from the original film; This person obviously wants to capture and sell dangerous animals; Incredibly evil mercenaries with guns who plan to kill you won’t do so immediately, they will put you in a cage until they have the time to do so; Dinosaurs always want to kill something no matter the situation they are in.
If those plausibility issues are fine then you only need to get past the fact this film rehashes many themes from The Lost World, Spielberg’s sequel to Jurassic Park. But perhaps that was on purpose given that this is a sequel to the reinvented franchise? And finally the cameo from Jeff Goldblum as Doctor Ian Malcolm is utterly atrocious and really shouldn’t be in any film.
But, and this is a huge but, the film is still ok if you purely look at the spectacle aspect. The biggest and most impressive sequence is actually in the middle of the film and features prominently in the trailers for those who want to see it fresh. The second half of the film is mostly a haunted house feature, with dinosaurs and people playing cat and mouse in a stately home. There are some tense set pieces here but nothing of the scope of the mid point of the film.
Ultimately, as a fan of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom is a crushing disappointment. But it isn’t a complete failure either.