Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was terribly disappointing. The writers’ failure to sew together the different sub-plots made the whole movie a glorified trailer.
A few years after Jurassic World, there’s a social movement that calls for government intervention to protect the dinosaurs from their island’s dangerously active volcano. But concern for dinosaur rights is an unbelievable premise, no only because Claire and Owen narrowly escaped the jaws of one Indominus Rex, a pack of Velociraptors, and good old Rexy, but also because Jurassic Park fans know that it is wewho are endangered by dinosaurs. We should be relieved, not sentimental, when dinosaurs are on the path to extinction again. The brachiosaurus asphyxiating in the hot volcanic ash, Blue bleeding out on a table, and both dinosaurs and humans running from an erupting volcano were not nearly enough to make us empathise with dinosaurs. Finally, dinosaurs have been brought back to life multiple times, so there is no reason to not make new ones again.
Nevertheless, the film’s rescue mission is still engaging due to its forthrightness: go to island. Capture dinosaurs. Place on sanctuary island. By contrast, the film’s second half is a bundle of thread bare storylines. I was unclear about who the real antagonist was: the Indoraptor? Genetic engineering? Eli Mills? The eternal propensity for human arrogance and greed? Isla Nubla’s volcano? In the Jurassic Park franchise, the antagonist was the unintended consequences of our scientific arrogance that led us to believe that we could control nature with all of her teeth and claws. In the first part of The Fallen Kingdom however, the chief bad boys seem to be human greed, incarnated in Eli Mills and mercenary Ken Wheatley. Compared to the destructive and unpredictable forces of mother nature, the puny actions of one dimensional characters are incomparable.
Later, we learn that Eli Mills wants to sell the dinosaurs as weapons to the highest bidder, rather than preserve them on a sanctuary island. This is another ridiculous premise. Forget using them as tools, we cannot even exhibit them without them running free and killing people. The dinosaurs are more likely to become exotic pets than weapons. It is thrilling to watch prehistoric serial killers roaming around, and the writers fail to successfully move the story away from this classic plot.
The Indoraptor isn’t your usual dinosaur. With a laser and the right audio signal, one can direct its killing impulse to wherever the laser points. But even a bit of scrutiny makes this plan a sham. An enemy could get his own laser and also use it to control the Indoraptor. And as Roaming Millennial pointed out, if you can pointer a laser at a target, why not just shoot it instead?
If the Indoraptor is a weapon rather than a dinosaur, this turns the story into a “hero rushes to stop the evil organization from unleashing its destructive weapon on the world” narrative. You must have victims for this, like the dogs of civilians by swimming pools and executive babysitters, to name a few. Without them, there is no terror to run from, and no hero to rescue people.
But you may say that this is what the next movie is about. Fair enough, but then Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom falsely advertised: if it cannot stand on its own two feet, then it is only a glorified, two hour trailer. At best, it is grossly incomplete, and at worse, it is a tease.
The ending was by far the most unsatisfying I have ever watched. As humans, we’re not supposed to be liberating or saving dinosaurs! They are supposed to be killing us while we barely make it out alive! It should not be the case that Maisie, nor any other human, has the ability to “put the toys back into the box.” The ending was unsatisfying because it was not nature that sent everyone running, but human error. This means humans were the ones in control at the end, when it should be clear that nature cannot be held down by any force. Maisie could have just opened a window.
In Jurassic Park I and Jurassic World I, the answer to the question of “should we open the box of genetic engineering” was “we already did it, we messed up, and we’re sorry.” But now it has become “cloning is fine, but GMO humans are not.” This answer does not have nearly as much punch to it! Maisie is not much different from other humans. The Indoraptor is not much different from the velociraptors of the Jurassic Park series (except for its little crush on Maisie).
The problem is that the writers took their audience for granted. They weakly built up something we all wanted to see, but then disappointed us by postponing the end. The Indoraptor narrative, which could stand by itself, was not satisfying. Finally, dinosaurs cease to be dinosaurs when we can control and change them to fit our desires. The dino scenes were scary, and the writers deserve some credit for trying to make the story more sophisticated, but their cure was worse than the disease. I hope that Jurassic World III gives us the release we are all looking for.