JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Published:  12:23 AM, 01 July 2018

The film that serves as the beginning of something new

Movie review

The film that serves as the beginning of something new

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a 2018 film that continues the story of 2015's Jurassic World. It is fifth movie in the overall franchise and the second in the new Jurassic series. It is also the second film in what is now being planned as a Jurassic World trilogy. 

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing, respectively. Joining the cast and new characters are Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine), Gunnar Eversol (Toby Jones), Iris (Geraldine Chaplin), Dr. Henry Wu (B.D Wong) and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). 

The film was directed by J.A Bayona and Derek Connolly and the director of Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow, both returned as writers. Steven Spielberg, the director of the first Jurassic Park film, and Trevorrow are also executive producers. 

The film's initial scenes begin with senators discussing the island, Isla Nublar, and the failure of Jurassic World. As we know, the dinosaurs escaped and they caused havoc. Not to mention the corporation handling the "amusement" park had also engineered their own species of dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, which was a threat to humanity and other dinosaurs. Dr. Ian Malcolm helms the chair, since the very first film, as the sceptic. 

He thinks the entire idea of bringing back dinosaurs was a mistake and that this venture should finally be abandoned. Their discussions are centered on the volcano on the island, which has suddenly gone active, meaning the remaining dinosaurs are on the verge of extinction. There are people who want the dinosaurs to be saved and there are people who believe they had their time and should finally be put to rest. 

Claire Dearing, who once was the park's manager, is now an advocate for Dinosaurs and wants them to be saved. In her team is Franklin Webb, a very easily intimidated IT technician who has a phobia for Tyrannosaurus Rexes and Dr. Zia Rodriguez, a tough as nails paleoveterinarian. 

The Nations decide not to save the dinosaurs albeit Dearing's advocacy, which frustrates her. However, there is hope. Dr. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), one of the founders of the original Jurassic Park, had a research partner, Sir Benjamin Lockwood. Lockwood and Hammond may have parted ways but now Lockwood wants to do right by helping save the dinosaurs and bring them to a newly designed dinosaur sanctuary. 

Dearing is told to contact Grady because Blue, the velociraptor from the first Jurassic World movie, may still be alive and she is marked as the second most intelligent being on the planet aside humans.  Overseeing these operations is Eli Mills, the person who helps manage Lockwood's estate and is basically executor of his assets. 

Dearing, along with Grady and her crew, go to the island to save Blue and as many dinosaurs as they can. They are met with a crew of mercenary like people, led by Ken Wheatley, who are hired for their safety and for extracting the dinosaurs.  

The mission doesn't go as planned and there are a lot of escalating situations along the way. The Jurassic Park franchise has always been a critic of showing humans shouldn't try to abuse their power and corporate greed shouldn't corrupt the world. 

This film is no exception and it does deliver on a lot of intense action sequences and ethical questions. It does not develop its human characters. The original trilogy focused a lot on the human characters and gave them a lot of personality. Jurassic World fails to bring their human characters much meaning aside being one dimensional plot elements. 

This film is more plot based and it seems to be more of a "filler" than an independent piece of work.  That does not bother the viewing much because the World franchise needed this film to show which direction the future films will be heading. The ending, in that respect, was very satisfying. 

The only human characters who are developed, are Owen Grady and Dr. Henry Wu. Grady is still someone we don't know much about aside the fact he is good at understanding dinosaurs and he shares a deep bond with Blue. It is Dr. Henry Wu who is the fascinating character of the series. 

B.D Wong spent around 10 minutes in the first Jurassic Park film explaining to Dr. Grant and his friends about breeding the dinosaurs. He was there to show disdain for Dr Malcolm who suggested that they can't handle the dinosaurs. Wu was the one who stated that the dinosaurs in the park, at that time, were all female, thus they monitor reproduction but Malcolm stated that life finds a way to break human restrictions and he was right. 

From that small scene, Henry Wu is now one of the masterminds of Jurassic World. His character is still interested in breeding dinosaurs and he takes great pride in breeding both Blue and the Indominus Rex. Both dinosaurs, were extremely intelligent and capable of high levels of cognition.

It is Blue who is the fully formed character of this franchise and frankly it is very entertaining to see a carnivorous dinosaur, who is not an antagonistic element, but a character in her own right. The franchise seemed to paint dinosaurs before as just creatures lusting for carnage and blood and Blue breaks that trope.

 In the first and third Jurassic Park films, velociraptors were shown to be highly intelligent and could communicate with each other. In the third film though, they were shown to be more neutral agents than the first. 

The film portrays Blue as a neutral character but also as a protagonist, as an individual who is desiring, as any human, to find herself. We as the audience can see she loves Owen very much but also is intelligent and self-aware enough to know he is a human who can keep her in chains. 

She loves him but is now a bit weary of human beings in general so I was very pleased that they kept Blue as a protagonist, as someone who actually wants to understand where she fits in the world. 

I saw Jurassic Park when I was young and recently it did bother me that the dinosaurs are by default antagonistic. Most predators in the wild do not attack you unless you threaten their territory, their family members or are hungry.

 One of the subtle explanations in the film for such behaviours is that as they are clones and not pure dinosaurs (their DNA is a cocktail of reconstruction) it may be inductive to some violent behaviour. 

Though, I do feel this is my own retrospective analysis as the audience members over 20 years ago, when the first film was released, were into violent dinosaurs so the medium reflected that. 

The new films obviously are a bit more realistic in that dinosaurs don't by default attack humans and don't seem to care about them besides normal animal behaviour. The Indominus Rex was a good exception. As she was a manipulated clone she was very clever and also malicious. It made sense she would want to be top dog. Wu wants to create a more versatile version of the Indominus Rex called the Indoraptor. 

This Indoraptor's antagonism is very much like a cloned specimen geared for carnage. He is a chaotic beast who does what he is bred to do: kill. He has none of the cleverness of the Indominus Rex nor the empathy of Blue. I liked that this creature was give his backstory for his violent nature; it made more sense. 

There are emotional moments in the film not only concerning Blue and Grady but also Lockwood and his granddaughter, Maisie. Maisie is very intelligent and resourceful and Iris has a hard time being her nanny as she is a very inquisitive child. She figures out a lot of things in the plot and is a brilliant investigator. 

The atmosphere around her has us guessing about her and it is an intrigue I slightly enjoyed in the film. Additionally, seeing dinosaurs die in any situation can become emotional, especially by being around an active volcano. It feels humanity brought them back to kill them another time and we are made to question our conscience. 

Overall, Jurassic World is an enjoyable film. It is not the best in the franchise but it is not that painful. It lacks a lot of things but it is a film that was made for its epic conclusion and to serve as a interlude to the sequel that will come next. As Malcolm once says in the film, "Welcome to Jurassic World." And it is a welcome of epic proportions. 


The writer is a copy editor at
The Asian Age

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