I am so torn about Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom that I have been ruminating about it for hours after leaving the theater tonight, and I’m still not quite sure how I feel or what to say.
Here’s the thing: I didn’t expect much, and I believe most people felt the same way. I understand that it’s not getting good reviews or ratings, and the theater I saw it in was 70% full at most (despite it being opening night). Do I regret going to see it opening night? Absolutely not. Did I love it? Not really. Did I enjoy it? Well…weirdly enough, I kinda did.
WARNING: Spoilers for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom follow. Read at your own risk.
SECONDARY WARNING: Yes, some dinosaurs die. And some of those deaths are actually sad. Can we add Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom to the Does the Dog Die website? I know it’s not the same thing, but damn. (ETA: It is there, sort of, but they misname the type of dinosaur and that makes me mad.)
Anyway, I digress. Here’s the thing – at times this movie is amusing. And sometimes it’s thrilling. Once in a while, it’s upsetting. More often than not, it’s really weird. There are more cheesy moments than I can count. I feel like the best way to describe it is “nostalgia porn”, but most of the time it’s not even GOOD nostalgia porn, because as much as it pulls from the original Jurassic Park, it also pulls from The Lost World (meh), and it even recycles a plot point from the OG (can we even call it that?) Jurassic World.
Here’s the problem – at no point did I believe that a person who [I guess sort of?] mattered would die. (I also didn’t really care about any of them, so there’s that.) I suppose looking back you could say that was true of JP, as well, but in this movie it felt magnified tenfold. Perhaps because of the nostalgia porn level; Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom recycled so many story lines that I honestly think I lost track of some of them. Most of it was very reminiscent of The Lost World, which wasn’t a great book/movie but at least wasn’t Jurassic Park III level bad. I mean, they go to the island to be nice to the dinosaurs but it turns out there’s a whole plot to exploit them! Only instead of bringing them to San Diego to start a dinosaur zoo, they’re still trying to weaponize them a la Jurassic World!
Oh and by the way, Claire and Owen are both COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PEOPLE than they were in the last movie. Claire I get, but OWEN??? He was so nonchalant about the idea of saving Blue, and even in the end when Blue fights yet ANOTHER new genetically engineered dinosaur in order to save him, he barely blinks an eye??? (Although I will say that when he came face to face with her that final time I leaned over to my friend and said, “Just come live with me in the mountains!” and snorted VERY LOUDLY when he made almost that exact invitation.)
All that said, in regards to the nostalgia porn – how about that child trying to shut the dumbwaiter door? Did that remind anyone of Lex in the kitchen in Jurassic Park? (That’s a rhetorical question, come on now.) And the pteranodons flying across the sun…well, I don’t know WHY they would want to evoke Jurassic Park III, but they did. I won’t even mention the T-rex being transported in the cage, or the fact that they YET AGAIN created a hybrid dino that wreaked havoc on anything…
Oh wait, yes, I will talk about that, because unless I’m missing some insane time skip, how have they already forgotten what a bad idea it is to create a hybrid dinosaur? And also who is Lockwood? Where did he come from? Did they really just decide to insert another ‘benevolent’ (in quotes because let’s be real, John Hammond was never really benevolent, even in the watered-down version they presented in the first movie) old man into the franchise? Why does he have an evil employee? WHY DOES HE HAVE A CLONE OF HIS DAUGHTER? WHY ARE ANY OF THESE THINGS HAPPENING?!
Yes, I’m getting really worked up about all of this, and the worst part is that it sounds like I hated Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom when I actually really enjoyed watching it. Yes, it was stupid, but it was also *fun*, and I realize that a big part of that is because I do love me some nostalgia porn. Sure, Maisie was nothing more than plot fodder, and no, I don’t understand what her being a clone had to do with, well, anything. Is Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom a movie I will see in the theater more than once? No. It’s a weird ridiculous romp; somehow better than the movie it seemed to copy the most (Lost World) but certainly not on par with its predecessor (Jurassic World). I’m not sure what I was expecting, and this wasn’t it, but I do believe it’s a film you have to see for yourself to believe it, well, exists.
(Although hey, at least we got to see Jeff Goldblum reprise his role as Ian Malcolm, however briefly. His comments about megalomaniacs running the world were right up there with the awful mercenary dude calling new badass female character Zia Rodriguez a ‘nasty woman’.)
What did you think of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom? Let us know in the comments!
Author: Tara Lynne
Tara Lynne is an author, fandom and geek culture expert, and public speaker. She founded Ice & Fire Con, the first ever Game of Thrones convention in the US, and now runs its parent company Saga Event Planning.
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