‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Blu-Ray Review: Dinosaur Spectacle Continues
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the second film in the Jurassic World trilogy and the fifth film in its franchise. J. A. Bayona inherits directing duties from Colin Trevorrow, who instead co-wrote Fallen Kingdom with Derek Connolly and worked alongside Steven Spielberg as an executive producer. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, meanwhile, reprise their leading roles from the preceding installment, continuing the story a few years after Jurassic World’s conclusion.
Fallen Kingdom was released in theaters earlier this year and is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, but is this film’s world one worth visiting?
Although the previous episode closed with Owen and Claire, respectively played by Pratt and Howard, promising they would stick together, we swiftly learn they split apart. While Owen drifted away to some remote town, Claire became politically active, trying to convince the Senate to save the dinosaurs from their inevitable (re-)extinction. Isla Nublar, a recurring setting throughout the series and the dinosaur’s current homeland, is about to succumb to a volcanic eruption, one that will kill everything situated on it.
Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) enlists Claire and, by proxy, Owen and her two ragtag sidekicks Franklin (Justice Smith) and Zia (Daniella Pineda) to venture there to salvage as many species as possible. To the shock of our protagonists but not the audience, the banal businessman was secretly plotting to strand our heroes on the inlet while his men bring the time-displaced behemoths home to sell. While Spall did a fine job with what he had, Eli failed to become a stimulating antagonist. His dramatic reveal regarding little Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) likewise fell flat in part due to their disinteresting presences, but also because the twist is bluntly telegraphed right from the girl’s introduction. Mills also suffers from how the mechanics and finer details of his machinations make no sense (why use the light emitted by a sniper rifle to guide a dinosaur to attack someone when you can just shoot your target?) and are best glossed over.
Eli’s prized creation, the Indorapter, faired no better. It’s a composite of dinosaur DNA that seems to eclipse most of our human characters in the gray matter department, even if its “achievements” — opening a door and hunting a hunter — were already accomplished by its ancestors in the first Jurassic Park, and they were frankly handled more compellingly there. The former scene — when the Indoraptor’s dim-witted victim enters its cage, spurring the genetic abomination to practically smile at the camera as it’s about to pounce — stuck out as one of the movie’s worst moments in its cartoonish irreverence.
However, if you’re watching Fallen Kingdom for the requisite Jurassic spectacle, then you’ll be catered to, even if the thrills get progressively less thrilling with each new iteration in this series. Additionally, Michael Giacchino’s score is nice, and the actors did a fine job. Pratt, as always, exudes the jocular charisma that served him well from Parks and Recreation to Guardians of the Galaxy, albeit in lesser quantities. Jurassic veteran Jeff Goldblum briefly returns as Ian Malcolm, still the series’ sanest character, nicely bookending Fallen Kingdom.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Blu-ray disc comes with a nice helping of bonus features, although sadly none of them are individually all that long or in-depth. All of the clips touch upon the studio’s creative decisions and how they were realized in the film. It was interesting, for example, to see the blend of digital effects and animatronics that brought Blue and the Indoraptor to life, or how Howard and Smith had to perform the their underwater escape sequence.