Isla Nublar is about to go sky high, killing every dinosaurs still living after the downfall of Jurassic World. Claire Dearing once again asks for the help of Owen Grady to go on the island of dinosaurs, no fences this time, with very few people and save them in the sequel directed by J. A. Bayona.
I had every reason to be anticipating this film. I love Jurassic Park. I loved what Jurassic World brought. They brought back Ian Malcolm. So why worry? Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver weren’t on board this time. Colvin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, who also worked on the first one, wrote the screenplay to prepare for the final chapter of the trilogy that will be directed by Trevorrow himself. This one is helmed by Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona who definitely brought a horror flavour to the Jurassic franchise. And I tell you what, for the first 6 minutes I was entirely proven right. For the first 6 minutes…
The opening is immaculate. You can definitely tell that Bayona as a taste for good horror direction. We follow a group of scientists (I guess) that came in the Mosasaurus tank where lies to Indominus Rex to bring back its DNA. The slow building of what the audience is expecting to happen was really impressive. The reveal when a flash of lightning lights the sky and we see the shape of the Mosasaurus standing over the pod underwater really grasps me. Then the lights of the pod going off and the Mosasaurus standing right behind it, mouth opened. The signal cuts, back to the island when another guy is controlling the gates of the tank. Michal Giacchino’s incredible score builds slowly. The guys in the helicopter scream after him, but he can’t hear them because of the storm. The Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives and chase the guy back to the helicopter. He gets away, but not quite… The Mosasaurus jumps out of the water and swallows him. I never thought Jurassic Park needed a horror flavour, but it is most welcomed here.
Isla Nublar goes sky high and the Brachiosaurus with it. I see this as the screenwriters telling us “We’ve done our lover letter to Jurassic Park. Now we’ll do our own thing.”
Unfortunately, the film doesn’t deliver on the promises of its opening sequence. It is by no means bad. I enjoyed the film overall, but none of what happens later comes close to the chills I had in the first 6 minutes. From then on, the film takes the traditional route of a Jurassic film with the Brachiosaurus from the first Jurassic Park being a wonder to the group of people coming to Isla Nublar to save the dinosaurs and, wait… What? Jurassic World had its doors opened for nearly a decade and you never came to see the Brachiosaurus? Come on! Like I said, Isla Nublar goes sky high and the Brachiosaurus with it. I see this as the screenwriters telling us “We’ve done our lover letter to Jurassic Park. Now we’ll do our own thing.” I’m OK with this. I don’t need a second film telling me how great Jurassic Park is. I’m ready to be entertained. The last half of a film took an unexpected direction that both pleased and disappointed me. Again, the premises was so great (and what the trailer sold also) that I expected so much more.
Let me explain. You have a Mosasaurus wander in the oceans. Were millions of people are at risks. I don’t need Jurassic World to become the next Jaws or Lake Placid, but the trailer sold us the Mosasaurus in a giant wave, with people surfing on it. A shot that we don’t get to see before the very end. At this point, I feel like Fallen Kingdom has just been a filler between the films Trevorrow really wanted to make. It’s not. Rest assured, Fallen Kingdom is a very well done film. I loved the opening scene. I loved the closing scene. All that comes between those is just… good. I’m expecting a lot of the next one, particularly because the T-Rex (king of the dinosaurs) facing the lion (king of the mammals) promises a lot of what is yet to come.