Written by: Jonathan Pabico
If you want to take a break from superhero epics for a while, check out J. A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Bayona crafts a riveting sequel to Jurassic World that incorporates heart-pounding action and startling originality.
The action sequences live up to the thrills of previous instalments. These scenes capture the harsh realities of the story’s world with breathtaking visuals and Michael Giacchino’s powerful soundtrack.
A prominent example is the volcanic eruption at Isla Nublar. Bayona perfectly sets up this sequence: the island’s ancient ruins evoke a peaceful stillness, and the dinosaurs convey glory and majesty. With staggering colours and grim lighting producing believable textures, the island’s compelling awe foreshadows the sorrow from the eruption’s apocalyptic imagery.
While the film is still an exhilarating dinosaur adventure, Bayona also makes this sequel terrifying through darkness-enshrouded, nightmarish atmospheres at every location. Bayona uses the story’s newest antagonist, the Indoraptor, to create havoc that feeds the characters’ fears and uncertainties. This gruesome dinosaur, complete with a devilish grin and long-reaching claws, makes for a frightening parallel to Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street.
However, the movie’s stakes and plot points seem at times too similar to The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Because of this resemblance, the climax is less impactful, especially with character choices becoming more predictable as the narrative progresses.
D. Wong returns as Dr. Henry Wu. While he adds satisfying continuity to the film, his performance is unable to go beyond his character’s usual dynamic of frantically reciting dinosaur facts just to advance the film’s tensions.
Despite these shortcomings, Bayona and scriptwriters Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow make the story original. They employ the film’s corporate underworld as an ominous foreground that expands the narrative’s scope. Through the disturbing happenings there, they continue to explore the Jurassic Park franchise’s overarching moral themes, but also offer an innovative direction. In doing so, Bayona and the film’s writers transcend the series’ traditional staple of dinosaurs running loose and causing chaos.
The film’s most compassionate relationship is between Chris Pratt as Owen Grady and his favourite velociraptor, Blue. Bayona explores the sentimentality behind this bond through Grady’s memories of raising Blue during the dinosaur’s infancy. These scenes instill a childlike innocence into the film that humanizes Blue and Grady as an unusual, but touching family. Their bond portrays their past as a happier time that differs from the story’s current world of corporate greed and ruthless corruption.
Overall, Bayona delivers the adrenaline in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. He shapes this film as a worthwhile entry that, together with realistic visuals, captivating music, and impassioned themes, create an impressive sequel to its predecessor, Jurassic World.