Jurassic Park is one of the most beloved movies of all time. Its groundbreaking use of computer-generated imagery to create life-like dinosaurs paved the way for movies like Avatar. It also cemented Jeff Goldblum’s status as a national treasure – for me at least. Even at five, I knew I was witnessing something special, which is why Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom cuts so deep. The latest installment in the Jurassic franchise reaffirms that some things are better left extinct.

With the Jurassic World theme park permanently closed, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), now a dinosaurs rights advocate, is contracted by John Hammond’s former partner, Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), to rescue the dinosaurs from the island before they’re wiped out by a volcanic eruption. Claire enlists two colleagues, Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith), and her former boyfriend, Owen (Chris Pratt), to help retrieve the dinosaurs. Unsurprisingly, the operation does not go as planned and Jurassic World: Kingdom Fallen quickly turns into just another action movie with two-dimensional characters.

The CGI dinosaurs in Jurassic World: Kingdom Fallen are impressive. However, that’s the only thing the movie has going for itself. The rest of the movie, including its characters and plot, is executed poorly. For instance, Franklin, a systems administrator, is brought to the island to assist Claire in reactivating the dinosaur tracker system. He’s also the movie’s comedic relief. Unfortunately, Franklin is not all that funny no matter how much the movie tries to exploit his neuroses. We’re also introduced to Maisie (Isabella Sermon), Lockwood’s granddaughter. From the beginning, the movie teases some mystery surrounding her character. I’m still not sure what purpose her character served other than the fact that there’s always an innocent kid in a Jurassic movie. She does have a big scene at the end, but it’s more infuriating than anything else.

My other big issue with the movie was its derivative plot. Like the other Jurassic movies, Jurassic World: Kingdom Fallen has good guys and bad guys. The good guys respect, admire and love their prehistoric friends, while the bad guys, powered by greed and underestimate how resourceful the dinosaurs are. Inevitably, the good guys prevail while the bad guys are eaten. It’s not that I want the bad guys to win for once. I just wish the movie would’ve raised the stakes a bit and made it not so easy to predict the outcome.

Despite the fact that the Jurassic movies keep getting worse, I fear sequels will continue to be a staple at the box office. To be honest, though, I get why. No matter how terrible the story is, there’s something exciting about seeing a dinosaur on the big screen.

Jennifer Cleary

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