The Jurassic Park franchise has struggled with what it’s supposed to be ever since the original became the biggest movie of all time for four and a half years. People associate it with the magic of the 1993 movie because that was the sense of discovery with Spielberg, but you could never show people dinosaurs for the first time again, and that audience wouldn’t all agree about what comes next. Hence, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is getting mixed reviews, but Franchise Fred approves of this direction.
Like Star Wars, a Jurassic movie can never be the first one again, so you have to think about what it can be long term. This franchise can be just scenes of dinosaur set pieces. The Lost World: Jurassic Park is my favorite in the series because it appeals to my action-driven sensibilities (double the Goldblum, sans the majestic wonderment). So if you’re a Lost World hater, your mileage may vary, but Fallen Kingdom is pretty hardcore.
As a vehicle for set pieces, it’s hard to complain about T-Rex vs. helicopter (although did the crew exploring the wreckage of Jurassic World forget that there was a Mosasaurus that hadn’t been accounted for?) The volcano eruption sequence may actually have too much going on, but dinosaurs and lava are a combined thread. There are some dino on dino fights in the chaos too. To counter that the entire climax is contained in a mansion.
They’re not all giant set pieces like the volcano or the mansion. The transfusion scene is all about performing small actions without causing a stir. Those elaborate set pieces pay off. Owen doesn’t get in the gyrosphere because the sequence needs him outside for later. The A-holes get what they deserve like the lawyer who abandoned the kids or Peter Stormare in Lost World. Blue gets action hero moves.
Admittedly, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom starts out with a much more interesting story than it ends up with. The post Jurassic World political debate is an interesting one. We made these dinosaurs exist. Don’t we owe it to them to protect them? Or is this volcano giving us a Get Out Of Jail Free card? The humane point of view is: We did this, we have to make it right. Conversely, life finds a way. Nature is trying to fix this.
If they just wanted to do the story of Owen and Claire tricked into returning to the island and having to stop an evil corporation, they could have just gotten right to that. It still
would have set up the third Jurassic World in the end.
The thing about that debate is, we all agree with Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Anything humans try to do with dinosaurs is a terrible, terrible mistake. But we the audience want them to keep making that mistake so we can keep enjoying these dinosaur rampage movies. Real people never learn anyway, so why should movie people? What Fallen Kingdom sets ups for the third movie is so crazy I hope they fully embrace it. There’s still three years for them to get cold feet.