My World Is Empty Without ‘Blue’ : A Review of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"
It was getting to the point where the Jurassic film franchise was merely about the dinosaurs—creating a bigger, fiercer model to wow the audience, or giving Velociraptor Blue new tricks to charm us. In 2015’s Jurassic World, this was very evident as the humans, like Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) had their moments; but these were far and few, and more often, they were reduced to stock figures brought along to merely gape in awe, or be struck by terror.
Enter Spanish director J.A. Bayona who directed the gothic thriller Orphanage, the tsunami-led human drama The Impossible, and the highly styliszed A Monster Calls. Working on a Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly screenplay, Bayona injects ‘new blood’ to the enterprise, and bestows much stronger human elements to this SciFi adventure franchise. It is without doubt, the most cerebral, human-motivated instalment in the franchise (even if it is human greed), and augurs well for the final chapter of this trilogy.
The first half of the film is familiar territory—the long dormant volcano on Isla Nublar is roaring to life and threatening to escalate to an extinction level event. And so the question is posed as to whether we save the man-made dinosaurs or leave them to go extinct a second time in Earth’s history.
It’s when the second half of the film kicks in that Bayona’s touch is most evident and effective. Set in a secluded mansion on the Lockwood estate (shades of The Shining?); the plot develops to the point where individual dinosaurs that were saved from Nublar are going on auction. There’s also a newly-cloned hybrid dinosaur, the Indoraptor that makes its appearance here—a bigger, meaner version of Blue. It’s at the Lockwood Estate that we meet Maisie (Isabella Sermon), granddaughter of Lockwood, with her own Origins-story reveal, and the most promising of the new characters introduced in this film.
To be frank, there is a lot that seems hackneyed and deja vu with this film, and this is felt more in the first half—like why the murky prologue? But the darker, claustrophobic, gothic tone of the second half breathes new life to the franchise. And there is an end credit Easter egg that gives us (and Las Vegas) fair warning that something apocalyptic is being projected for the third instalment.