Jurassic World: 10 Things That Completely Ruined Fallen Kingdom
While the original made bank at the box office though, Universal have seemingly been intent on taking steps to improve on its lukewarm critical reception, replacing Colin Trevorrow with J.A. Bayona and promising a darker, more horror-inspired ride this time around.
Unfortunately, while the latest movie has solved a lot of the issues fans had with the original, just as many more have popped up in their place. Which is a shame, because it's clear that Bayona in particular is trying his best - often elevating material that could have been unsalvageable - but even his talents aren't enough to stop the movie from completely falling down during its worst stretches.
The end result, then, is a bit of a mess; a sequel which shows flashes of brilliance but completely falls off the deep end into a land of sheer stupidity, and, worst of all, utter boredom. Actually, that doesn't sound too far away from the 2015 film either...
10. A Painfully Unfunny Supporting Cast
Though Fallen Kingdom features a huge number of returning cast members from the last movie, it also features the introduction of three new main characters - each one more annoying than the last. Two, Daniella Pineda's Zia and Justice Smith's Franklin, join Owen and Claire to round off the heroes. Unfortunately, both are designed to be mere comic relief, with the latter in particular having some of the worst lines in the entire film.
Though it lays both newcomers on thick in the first act, the film then proceeds to forget about both towards the climax, leaving you with the feeling that either they were shoehorned into the script at the last minute, or the filmmakers simply got as sick of them as the audience will halfway through editing the movie.
The final new character, Ted Levine's villain Ken, fares no better, hampered by horrible attempts at comedy and quirks that amount to nothing in the long run. The only thing stopping him from being entirely forgettable is one moment that's inevitably going to be turned into a meme once the film is out in the wild.
9. Rafe Spall's Villain
Rafe Spall is one of Britain's most underrated talents, but you wouldn't believe it if the only film you'd seen him in was Fallen Kingdom. Revealed to be the main villain early on in the story, Spall does what he can with the material, but the character's cringe-inducing dialogue and 0-100 villainy results in a cartoonish performance that feels entirely at odds with the rest of the cast.
In fact, at times the character feels like he's in an entirely different movie. Until the very end, he only has a single interaction with either Chris Pratt or Bryce Dallas Howard, and even when the climax is in full swing, the heroes don't actually have any kind of rivalry with him.
He has no real motivations and absolutely zero menace, essentially only being there to give a face to the amorphous corporate businesses the film is really taking aim at.
8. Trailers Spoiled All The Best Moments
Though trailers often reveal way too much about movies before they land in cinemas, Fallen Kingdom's pretty much gave away every major moment in the sequel. Though the first was restricted to action from the first act, the rest have covered the entire movie, spoiling major set-pieces, the best jokes and even the climax.
Even the moments the trailer doesn't directly give away can be used to piece together the way scenes are going to end while you're watching the film. There aren't any surprises, and knowing what happens next in a scene because you've seen footage in the trailer makes watching an already boring and predictable film even more frustrating.
Though criticisms about trailers giving away too much information about a movie is always met with the same old "well don't watch them then" response, in this day and age, it's almost impossible to avoid them. For the biggest movies in particular, you're bound to catch them being screened before other major flicks, unless you leave the theatre for the two minutes they're on.
7. The Second Half's Sole, Drab Location
The first half of Fallen Kingdom returns pretty quickly to the now-destroyed Jurassic World of the last film, and it's pretty damn good. Seeing the park completely overrun, literally about to explode, is exciting, and surprisingly makes you a little nostalgic about a film that only came out three years ago.
Once the island blows up though, the action moves to a single location: a huge mansion out in the middle of nowhere. With a few species of dinosaurs transferred over to be sold off in an illegal auction (really), the entire final third is spent skulking through drab corridors, watching dinos confined in cages and squinting to see what's going on in dimly-lit children's bedrooms.
In theory, swapping out the vast, colourful island of the first film with claustrophobic real-world locations could have been an interesting subversion, but it's way too boring. Whatever spark of creativity the first film had is extinguished entirely, and it feels like you're watching a haughty British period drama rather than a Jurassic Park movie.
6. Jeff Goldblum Being Wasted
Although expectations were already low because all of Jeff Goldblum's footage in the trailers was taken from the same scene, it was still disappointing to learn that the actor had little more than a cameo in the movie. Admittedly though, the way the narrative is set up made it difficult to make space for him, and the overall quality of the flick probably suggests the actor did well to avoid being involved too heavily.
Still, it's a shame the actor wasn't given more to do, and the most frustrating part is just how extraneous he is to the actual events of the narrative. He doesn't interact with any of the main cast, instead spending his time in a courtroom making thematically-resonant speeches that would be just great to use in a trailer.
It all feels incredibly baiting, especially because his characterisation goes entirely against how he was established in the original trilogy.
5. How Boring The Indoraptor Is
After so many Jurassic Park movies, it seems as though Universal no longer have faith in the classic dinosaurs being able to headline the franchise. Instead, they've decided to create their own dinos with each new instalment, the latest being the Indoraptor, a genetic combination of the original Jurassic World's Indominus Rex and a velociraptor.
Not only is the movie once again relying on yet another plot about evil businessmen playing God and creating their own ultimate predator, but the Indoraptor itself feels barely like a footnote on the movie overall. The animal is talked about all the way through the flick, with characters constantly repeating how it's the most sophisticated animal on the planet, yet you never feel the tension you're supposed to.
It's a prime example of the need for movies to show and not tell, as that menace is never actually conveyed by the creature itself, even when it's inevitably let loose.
4. Repeating Moments And Plots From Jurassic World
Although Jurassic World was a solid revitalising of the franchise, it was undoubtedly so successful because it was such a thorough trip down memory lane. The film had a new story, sure, but it directly lifted certain plot elements and scenes from the original Jurassic Park, relying heavily on the nostalgia audiences still have for that iconic blockbuster.
In a way that was exactly what the film needed to be, though, a reminder that viewers love this world for more than just the spectacle of seeing dinosaurs on the big screen. With that already established, then, there was no reason at all for Fallen Kingdom's over-reliance on repeating plots and set-pieces from previous movies.
Most tragically, a lot of them are retreads of beats from Jurassic World. Between the evil geneticists betraying the heroes, the creation of the latest, deadliest dinosaur, and the strained relationship between Claire and Owen, fans have seen it all before, three years ago.
3. A Human Cloning Sub-Plot
Throughout Fallen Kingdom you always get the feeling that you're watching two different films competing to come out on top, and by far the worst one of the two is built on a plot surrounding Lockwood's granddaughter, Masie. A mystery is set up from the get go about her relationship with the rest of the characters, with the implication being that she might be the daughter of Jurassic Park's Lex.
However, it's eventually revealed that she's not really anyone's daughter, and is in fact a human clone. Her existence is apparently what drove Lockwood and Hammond apart years ago, but the fact that she's a clone doesn't really go anywhere. It turns up far too late and is merely an excuse to make the ending choice, to release all of the dinosaurs into the wild rather than killing them, make a lick of sense.
There were ways to make this reveal actually integral to the plot as well, as it's suggested that the Indoraptor has been created by merging a bunch of genetic material to make it receptive to human commands - some of which could have belonged to Masie. Yeah, that all might have been stupid, but it would have at least warranted this plotline being included in the first place.
2. Trying To Send A 'Serious Message'
By far the worst thing about Masie's inclusion though, is that it's part of the film's greater attempt to send a serious message on nature and the animal kingdom. The whole movie is built around the idea of animal preservation and saving the dinosaurs from extinction, rather than continuing to cage them up and sell them on for profit.
It's all very on the nose, but it isn't an inherently bad message. It's just the way it's communicated which sucks all the fun out of the wackiness the filmmakers indulge in otherwise.
The extinction event at Jurassic World, for instance is outstanding, and having to live through the end of these creatures firsthand is genuinely tragic, but it comes just after Chris Pratt does his best PG rendition of the quaaludes overdose form The Wolf of Wall Street and the heroes have jumped a truck off a pier into an escaping helicopter.
Consequently, the 'insightful' moments only feel even more half-baked and laughable, treated with a self-seriousness the rest of the movie lacks.
1. The Ending
The ending of Fallen Kingdom should have been incredible. After saving a few remaining dinosaurs and bringing them over to America, the sequel ends with the animals being let loose into society, forcing humanity to live with their decision to mess with genetics and live alongside their creations.
All of the best scenes shown off in the trailer - the dino about to chow down on some unknowing surfers, the lion roaring with the T-Rex - come from this final montage, and it does genuinely set up the inevitable third film well. Unfortunately, it can only happen after one of the dumbest decisions in cinematic history.
After the Indoraptor is killed, it's revealed that the rest of the dinosaurs are about to be poisoned to death, giving the heroes a dilemma: let them die and reset the natural order, or let them loose and potentially put innocent people at risk of being gobbled up by a T-Rex.
They decide they can't free them, but Masie goes rogue and lets them loose anyway. Consequently, the dinos proceed to do everything we feared they would, immediately killing the first people they come into contact with.