There’s a point in everyone’s life, at which we make a choice. Do we die standing in the name of what we believe, or be slaughtered under someone else’s tyrannical cause? Years ago I felt I’d made the right choice when I decided to buy my IMAX ticket for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Now, I understand that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Recently, my brother made me watch this with him as he’d never seen it before and I really, REALLY, tried to give it a chance but this is still appallingly terrible.
Multiple times during our viewing, he consistently would mention things like, “It doesn’t matter how the T-Rex was captured, just the fact that it was.” I never planned to discuss this film again, as I felt I had covered most everything within my article I originally wrote in 2018, sophomore year of high school, discussing my hatred for this movie. (Which can be found here.) I’ll do my best to add something new to the discussion rather than reiterate what I already wrote in that article, though, my opinion of the film is unchanged and my dismay for it has only grown.
Before we get straight into it, I thought it might be fun to briefly mention things I don’t hate about the movie. I think the cinematography is very appealing. One of my favorite shots is when the Indoraptor climbs on top of the mansion and roars with just his silhouette as the full moon is directly behind him. It feels a little out of tone, as it looks like it should be in a classic monster movie, but I think that was the point so it works. Unfortunately, while the shots might stand out, it’s what’s happening in those shots, or why things in the shots are happening I can’t stand.
I’m hoping this might be able to further help people understand why I can’t sit by idly as our society gives this atrocity a pass. With that out of the way, now, 3 years later, Fallen Kingdom must be put on trial once more.
The disrespect it has for the franchise is gut-wrenchingly disgusting, to the point where it doesn’t even feel like a Jurassic Park feature. The worst crime it commits in this regard is moving the lagoon. Now, if you compare the maps from each film, or by literally watching Jurassic World, you will see the lagoon is located nowhere near the ocean, but the middle of the island, clearly landlocked. By changing its location the writers are committing the act of retroactive screenwriting. The act of retroactive screenwriting is not always a sin, it’s possible to use this writing technique in a positive way, look at Avengers: Infinity War. 3 times now, Tony Stark has retired, even throwing away his chest piece in Iron Man 3, and yes, he has a new one in Infinity War. This is so that they can introduce “NanoTech,” which is what saves Tony’s life from Thanos stabbing him later in the film. It has a reason to be in the story.
So why do they move the lagoon in this film? To have one shot at the end, which was in several pieces of pre-release marketing, of the Mosasaurus in a wave that people are surfing. It does not further the plot, a character, add suspense, or do anything whatsoever to prove to me, the audience, why you changed something that was previously established.
The part about this entire endeavor that’s most disturbing is a tweet from Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World’s director, and co-writer of this film, “The lagoon is in the center of the island, connected to the ocean by a canal system. The digital maps in the film are incorrect, not a retcon. My fault for missing it, I had no idea the change was made until it was too late. Hope you guys can forgive it.” No Colin, actually this is a retcon, and the fact that you ‘missed it,’ does not help your case.
Something that could have helped your case, would be how this film ends by having the dinosaurs get onto the mainland, which is a cool idea. Too bad the entire point of the first act was that Claire was going to the island to get the right code to track the dinosaurs. Meaning that they can literally just send out teams to look at a GPS and kill them. The entire operation would probably take a week. Same with the dinosaurs bought at the auction, these animals still have trackers in them as well, so just track them and then kill them. With this script, the idiotic writers have done nothing but dig themselves into a hole for 2 hours, the next one will probably avoid all of this by having it take place to like 3 or 5 years later.
It only puts more wood on the fire when you realize that the entire point of Jurassic Park: The Lost World, was to show that you can only do one action scene with dinosaurs on the mainland, and that’s King Kong in New York. You can do this in a big city, in a forest, on a lake, in the air, in a box with a fox for all I care, but it is the same action scene over and over again. You may think there are more options off an island but really think about it, what makes the dinosaurs so scary? It’s due in large part to the fact that in each film the characters have been on an island being chased by dinosaurs, they can’t just get in a car and drive home. By taking the dinosaurs off the island, and onto the mainland, you immediately remove all suspense.
Then again, how can there even be any suspense here, when there are simply too many moments in this film that are so stupid no one is unable to suspend their disbelieve? At one point in the film, a little girl is able to watch a recording of Chris Pratt’s character working with Blue as a young Velociraptor. This scene is in the movie so that when they meet later, the little girl knows to trust Pratt. In the context of the scene, and what follows, there is no reason for anyone to be watching this video. It may sound small and meaningless in the overarching point of the movie, but when dumb things like this add up, it only takes away from the moviegoing experience and further solidifies how little the filmmakers cared. Fallen Kingdom is a film that doesn’t think about the small details because, at the end of the day, a mass audience can’t remember what the front of a dollar bill says anyway.
Normally I would say something like, “I respect that they tried to do something different even if it didn’t work.” I won’t be saying that here because while I refer to Fallen Kingdom as one, it is not a movie, but a product designed in a lab, ironically, much like the dinosaurs themselves. Why does the T-Rex randomly show up whenever the script wants it to? To sell toys. Why do they create the Indoraptor? To sell toys. The only difference between this movie and your childhood lunch box is that the lunchbox was more useful and probably lasted longer. (Not long in terms of runtime, but as in a reason to exist.)
There’s a lot that made me fall in love with the Jurassic Park movies. The fact that the first time I saw the original was in theaters for its 25th anniversary re-release in 3D with my dad, or that Jurassic World was the catalyst in my quest to study film as an art form rather than a simple hobby. I think what makes it stand out to me, and so many, was that it was a franchise that used something as silly as dinosaurs to bridge a discussion, not force it onto its viewers. That discussion being simply, is it possible? Looking back at one of the best moments from the original film, when discussing Chaos theory, Ian Malcolm says, “God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs. God creates Man, Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.” So I ask again, Is it possible for something that isn’t supposed to exist like dinosaurs, not by God, not by nature, but created in Man’s image; can that be beautiful too? None of the previous films tried to answer that question, but lend new perspectives on the matter, and add to the discussion.
But that’s just the thing, where I see this deep meaning behind the living remains of life 65 million years ago, similar to the island the dinosaurs inhabit, film as a whole can be viewed from varying different perspectives. Maybe people do like these movies because “DinOSauRs.” I would argue Fallen Kingdom doesn’t even really give you that, and maybe I need to get off my high horse and realize, that’s okay. I’ve done this with several different movies before, like Rise of Skywalker. I’m just legitimately not sure if I ever can with this waste of motion picture.
I often wonder, what the world of pop culture would look like if Michael Crichton had never written Jurassic Park, or if Fallen Kingdom had been good. It’s fun to wonder, and imagine, but far more important to look at reality and do our best to make it better. That’s what I’ve tried to do with this silly internet article. You can imagine it all you want, but you’ll never see the day where I speak in this film’s favor. Maybe I knew more than I realized in 2018 because Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will always be the Prius of film.