Nobody has spent the three years since Jurassic World considering what was next in the lives of Squinty McOneliner (Chris Pratt) and High-Heel Controversy (Bryce Dallas Howard), including the writers of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This is a sequel that exists only to move parts around for what will either be the most unhinged, gleefully weird installment or the most violently disappointing end for dinosaurs that’s not an asteroid. Although it spends two-plus hours running around and making loud noises as a distraction, this is one of those films that unravels faster than Weezer’s sweater once you tug on a single plot point. Still, that ending tho…
Years after the Jurassic World park briefly bumped Seaworld from the bottom of the rankings, High-Heel Controversy now works with Glasses von Science-lady (Daniella Pineda) and IT Crowd (Justice Smith) as an activist raising money to save the abandoned dinosaurs from a volcano. This, despite Jeff Goldblum’s very serious beard and glasses telling congress to let them go extinct again. Elderly Bajillionaire (James Cromwell), who has never been mentioned before but was apparently and conveniently a partner in bringing dinos back to life since the very beginning, offers to fund the rescue mission.
Obvious Evildude (Rafe Spall), who manages Elderly Bajillionaire’s money, says that they need Squinty McOneliner and High-Heels Controversy to go back to the island for valid, scientific, understandable reasons that you should totally just trust him about. Turns out his motives, which are the only motives any human character seems to have in the entire film, are uber-ulterior. This leads to a third act that is too ashamed of itself to embrace its abject lunacy but does include a profoundly satisfying sight gag about Trump’s hair.
There’s no challenge quite like remaining doggedly spoiler-free while discussing a movie where the end is legitimately the only interesting part. This awful, fractured world so desperately needs Jurassic World 3: Oh Yeah, We Went There to fully embrace every insane implication of Fallen Kingdom’s super-weird “reveal” involving Doe-eyed Child (Isabella Sermon). It also must aspire to the craziest permutations and full madness of the final shots. If we don’t get a demented sci-fi dystopia that makes the art available online from John Sayles’ aborted Jurassic Park 4 seem tame and practical, what has all human progress really been about?
Assessing Fallen Kingdom as an isolated entry is like critiquing only the ramp when assessing Evel Knievel’s jump across a canyon. The movie legit forgets it has human actors in it for oddly long stretches and often seems terribly ashamed of itself. Ideally, this is a bridge movie between the quasi-family-friendly summer spectacles of past entries and the nutso light-horror science-fiction gibberish of the future. Were it more confidently silly, it could have been endearingly brave. As it stands, Fallen Kingdom is just a dopey introduction to a trilogy-ending entry that is almost guaranteed to not go the very places it should most assuredly visit.
Grade = C