Long running franchises usually have two paths that they can take. They can either stubbornly stick to the formula that worked and hope that familiarity is what audiences want out of them. The other path is to adapt in order to become something new and exciting. Up until recently, the Jurassic Park franchise had stuck to the former road. Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, and Jurassic World all have very similar aspects to them. For the first act of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, that’s the case as well. Then, however, it goes in a very different direction. Opening this week, the series offers up a look at a rather new place that the next installment will opt to go. At last, the franchise is evolving.
The film is the latest sequel in the franchise, though a direct follow up to Jurassic World. The official synopsis from IMDb sets up the first act nicely: “When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.” Yes, at the start, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is recruited by John Hammond’s former partner Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) to help save the dinosaurs they created. With help from Lockwood’s underling Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), a rescue mission is being designed. Claire needs to bring Owen (Chris Pratt) along too, since he’s the only one who can find the raptor Blue. Once on the island, however, it turns out that Mills has a nefarious plan. He wants not to save the dinosaurs, but to see them. This leads to a whole other rescue mission, along with the reveal of the most dangerous new monster yet. J.A. Bayona directs a script by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow. The rest of the cast includes Geraldine Chaplin, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, BD Wong, and more, plus a cameo by Jeff Goldblum. The score comes from Michael Giacchino, while Oscar Faura handles the cinematography.
This movie is the epitome of dumb fun. One bit is more ridiculous than the next. Admittedly, they do set things up in a very interesting direction for the conclusion of this trilogy, one that Trevorrow has always planned and will return to direct. Here, Bayona adds a nice look to things, especially in the third act, when it becomes a bit of a haunted house flick. Now, given his talent, this probably should have been better, but it’s still on point with Jurassic World. If you liked the last one, you’ll like this as well. Best in show is Blue, who’s easily the most well developed character. Plus, credit where credit is due, the dinosaurs generate emotion, just as if they were real animals.
This is how I would rank the Jurassic Park franchise so far:
5. Jurassic Park III
4. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
3. Jurassic World
2. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
1. Jurassic Park
Starting on Friday, audiences can again see dinosaurs roam the Earth when Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theaters. Nothing will ever match the Steven Spielberg original, though at least here they’re no longer trying to mimic it. Going in a new direction will likely be how this franchise survives, so it’s a welcome change. When you see this movie, you’ll know what I mean when I say the next installment could be absolutely insane. In a few years we’ll likely see that flick, but for now, we have a fun one to enjoy. Give this film a look and you’ll probably have a good time. It won’t set the box office records the last one did, but it’ll hit the spot, pleasure wise…
Be sure to check out Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, in theaters everywhere this weekend!