Review for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
A couple of years ago, I gave Jurassic World a try, the recent reinvention of the Jurassic Park franchise begun over 25 years ago by Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton. The Jurassic Park movies have always been about entertainment and spectacle, which with the benefit of modern special effects technology just gets better and better, aesthetically speaking. That’s good, as when I think about it, there shouldn’t be a lot of life in the concept. With Jurassic Park, Spielberg effectively remade Jaws, but with land sharks, giant T-Rex shaped land sharks. Then again, there was a time when the cinemas were filled with sequels to Jaws that got progressively worse, always with an increasingly fake looking shark. As I said, the effects in these films only get better.
Once again, I bought the 3D version for its comparatively low price. You get the 2D disc thrown in which is the one that I watched.
Jurassic World moved the story on from the original Jurassic Park trilogy, introducing a working and prosperous theme attraction built on the bones of John Hammond’s failed dream a couple of decades on. But that attraction was beginning to see fatigue set in among its customers, that would only show interest when a new species was resurrected from prehistory. The bottom fell out of the genetically resurrected monster business when they tried to create their own uber-predator, and said predator, the Indominus Rex went on a rampage, eating the customers. Once again, the theme park on Isla Nubar was left to return to nature.
It’s been three years, and the world’s attention returns to Isla Nubar, as the formerly dormant volcano on the island has turned active again, an eruption is imminent, and it looks as if extinction looms for the dinosaurs for the second time in 63 million years. The debate turns as to whether it’s in humanity’s interest to rescue the animals. The consensus seems to be to let them die, to erase mankind’s mistake in assuming the powers of a god. Claire Dearing, formerly the park manager has a different perspective, motivated by guilt and compassion. She wants to save the dinosaurs, but when the government isn’t forthcoming, an opportunity arises in the form of philanthropist Benjamin Lockwood, who was Hammond’s partner on the original Jurassic Park. The velociraptor known as Blue is also still on the island, and Claire goes to Blue’s trainer Owen Grady for help, but time is running out before the island explodes.
You get a 2.39:1 widescreen 1080p transfer with the choice of DTS:X Master Audio English, and DD 2.0 Stereo English audio descriptive, with English and Arabic subtitles. The image is clear, sharp and pixel perfect. The effects are astounding as you’d expect, with a whole lot of dinosaurs to marvel at. Once again, you have to balance that against the ‘seen it all before’ sense that I’ve had ever since the original Jurassic Park, despite the exponential improvement in effects technology, One thing I do appreciate is that this film has serious dialled back the orange and teal colour timing that made the previous film look practically two-tone. Detail levels are excellent, and there is no sign of compression or banding. The audio is excellent, really immersing you in the action, and the exploding mountains. The music is typical for the franchise, with enough in the way of John Williams’ score being recalled to give the film continuity with the franchise. I did find that on occasion some of the dialogue was buried in the action, which was a waste of good action movie quippery, but thankfully the subtitles are there.
You get 2 discs on each inner face of a BD Amaray, as well as a piece of paper for the digital version of the film.
The 2D disc boots to an animated menu, after trailers for Universal Parks & Resorts, Mortal Engines, and Pacific Rim Uprising.
There seems to be plenty of extras on the disc, but they are all of the short EPK featurette type, so here’s a list.
On Set With Chris & Bryde (3:03)
The Kingdom Evolves (4:33)
Return to Hawaii (2:41)
Island Action (6:01)
Aboard the Arcadia (5:53)
Birth of the Indoraptor (4:09)
Start the Bidding! (3:18)
Death By Dino (1:33)
Monster in a Mansion (3:06)
Rooftop Showdown (3:48)
Malcolm’s Return (3:07)
VFX Evolved (7:08)
Fallen Kingdom: The Conversation (10:16)
A Song for the Kingdom (1:26)
Finally Chris Pratt’s Jurassic Journals collect 12 video diaries. Don’t get excited as the total run time for these snippet interviews with cast and crew is 12:09.
I found Jurassic World to be a remake of the original Jurassic Park, albeit with a working theme park, and loads of tourist hors d'oeuvres for the dinos. It turns out that Fallen Kingdom is pretty much a remake of The Lost World: Jurassic Park 2, albeit with a giant fricken exploding volcano. That’s not a bad thing as it goes, as the story is just as appealing the second time around, and the film does enough that is different to make it worth your while to watch it.
The film is bookended with Jeff Goldblum reprising his role as Ian Malcolm, solemnly warning of the implications of the dinosaur technology, setting up the direction the story takes. There’s a slight difference here. In the Lost World, there were two groups on the island, the conservationists and the commercial interests, safari hunting the dinosaurs for their smaller scale zoo. There the argument was between nature and exploitation. In Fallen Kingdom, there’s one group at the start of the film, all apparently after the same thing, saving these dinosaurs from another extinction. But there is a double-cross, and the true villains of the piece are revealed, and they are more insidious than the mere Barnum and Bailey crew of The Lost World. Taking a leaf from the Aliens book, they want to weaponise dinosaurs, and have once more been tinkering with genetic engineering. The previous film gave us the Indominus Rex; this film offers the Indo-Raptor. Just like that film’s theme park and its punters, it seems that we’ll only go into cinemas as long the films keep giving us new dinos.
Arms dealers versus the saviours of nature makes for a more extreme distinction, a larger contrast, and unlike The Lost World, where everyone was fair game, it seems in this film, only those deserving of that fate get chomped by dinos. Then again, there is a comparative shortage of protagonists, just four. Owen and Claire have plenty of chemistry, offering some rom-com to the sci-fi action. Two new characters that also journey to the island are feisty vet Zia, and easily spooked geek Franklin, and they add to the comic elements of the film. One notable new character is that of Maisie, Lockwood’s granddaughter who plays a significant role in the latter half of the film. It’s an interesting, and logical extrapolation which might surprise you in that it hasn’t been thought of in the franchise until this point. It isn’t quite explored properly here; more of a throwaway comment, but hopefully the ramifications will be explored further in the third of the Jurassic World films.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is just as much fun as the first in the trilogy, and it delivers profligately in terms of action and spectacle. But once again, it lacks the magic and grandeur of the two Spielberg films. It works effectively as a summer blockbuster, but it still has enough intelligence to it to provoke some thought. In that respect, just as I preferred The Lost World to the original Jurassic Park, I find I also like Fallen Kingdom more than Jurassic World, although it’s a fine distinction. Certainly the characters, both new and recurring, work better in this film than they did in the previous. The quality of the Blu-ray is as you would expect from the format, but the extra features are so disposable as to be insignificant.