“…the living embodiment of the idea that if you throw enough shit at a screen, some of it MAY just stick…” – Wayward Wolf.
Way back in 1993, Steven Spielberg directed – in his own inimitable way – a film which quickly entrenched itself in our hearts.
Taking advantage of great leaps in technology and making good use of his own brilliant sense of story and character, he tickled our collective fancy for all things scarily prehistoric by unleashing Jurassic Park upon the world.
It was not only tremendous, but also groundbreaking, much in the way that Star Wars, for example, had been when it positively blew people’s minds back in the late 1970’s.
Unsurprisingly, just like Star Wars, Jurassic Park has not only spawned sequels, but many years on, has experienced a complete re-boot of its franchise.
The alarm bells were ringing during 2015’s ultra-formulaic re-visit, Jurassic World, a film which I must confess to actually having quite enjoyed, and in fairness, despite its massively predictable plot and mountains of excessive corporate product placement, it’s a film which more or less pulled off that hardest of tricks: pleasing both newbies and die-hard fans alike.
And so to 2018 and J.A. Bayona’s follow-up: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the living embodiment of the idea that if you throw enough shit at a screen, some of it may just stick.
Indeed, vast numbers of rampaging dinosaurs are positively hurled in our direction, be they fleeing from an encroaching lava stream, escaping from an evil human captor, or relentlessly hunting down their human prey.
In amidst these waves of Triassic trouble, a convoluted yet contrived narrative is woven, haphazardly, in which a well-meaning bid to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from the threat of an erupting volcano in the now abandoned Jurassic World, turns out to have been nothing more than a ruse, with the captured animals then shipped off to be sold by nasty evil types to rich people with more money than sense.
Cue various attempts to thwart the wrong-doers, whilst simultaneously trying to avoid being eaten by assorted carnivores, whilst mulling over the morality of both cloning and the captivity of living things.
It’s loud, it’s screechy, it’s overbearing and seemingly never ending. Or at least that’s how it feels.
There are some not very subliminal messages about environmentalism churned out by the Hollywood democratic propaganda machine, and even the mandatory thinly-veiled dig at the ‘stupidity’ of the president and his denial of the existence of dinosaurs in the first place.
Change the record hey guys?
Perhaps most tellingly of all though is the fact that one brief poignant scene on the volcanic island-aside, I barely felt a moment’s empathy for anyone or anything for the film’s duration. Try as it might not to be, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a pretty soulless affair. And compare that once again if you will to Spielberg’s seminal original.
Chalk and cheese, and a damning indictment for sure.
On a positive note, the CGi is predictably excellent, and there are admittedly thrills and spills in patches, but given the subject matter, how could there not be? The cast too is both stellar and in good form, but given what they have to work with, there’s only so far the likes of Toby Jones, Jeff Goldblum, Rafe Spall et al can take Bayona’s messy, painfully predictable effects-fest.
From the Director of such excellent work as: The Orphanage, The Impossible and A Monster Calls, it’s all a bit perplexing. I really did expect better. Much better.
Tricera-plops, more like.