I had some more thoughts on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and these thoughts had spoilers in them, so here we are.
OK, here’s the thing: I am not a big fan of the Jurassic Park series. The first one is fine, but if I never saw it again, I wouldn’t mind in the slightest. Jurassic World was, like many sequels to many movies, little better than a louder, busier, and lesser version of the original, but by the point the original movie had come out, Steven Spielberg had entered the phase of his career when his movies are either highly personal art or popcorn flicks. There was a time early in his career when he seemed capable of both at the same time, but those days are long gone. The original Jurassic Park was essentially a B-movie with an A-list director and special effects. None of the characters are particularly memorable save Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, and with his return for an extended cameo in Fallen Kingdom, that’s still true even though the character is basically every Jeff Goldblum character. In both the original and this version, Goldblum is essentially the voice that says this whole thing is a bad idea and dinosaurs died out for a reason.
That said, this is a new story after a fashion. Yes, there’s still a raptor as the ultimate “villain” dinosaur, and there’s still a trip to the park and a T-Rex roaring at an appropriate time, but the main idea here is less about simply surviving a dinosaur attack as trying to get around the idea that genetic engineering is the real villain here. B.D. Wong returns for another quick appearance, and he had what I thought was the best speech in the previous Jurassic World, namely when he said that the dinosaurs in the park aren’t real dinosaurs so much as what humans think a dinosaur should be or look like.
That’s a very meta statement in that it refers not only to the way the dinosaurs were “made,” but also that fact they’re just special effects.
As such, this movie deals more with the idea of letting the genetic engineering genie out of the bottle. Yes, there’s more talk about weaponizing dinosaurs, and we have a human clone, The bad guys here are greedy humans, and the movie at least tries to make something of the idea more than “dinosaurs that shouldn’t have been brought back are running amok!” It isn’t perfect by a long shot, and I would say it is decent at best this time around. The direction helps, but the script at times tosses out some lines reminiscent of a particular president, with references to “alternative facts” and a “nasty woman”. Since these lines are said by or about the movie’s human villains, it would suggest a statement about greed or something, but the lines don’t do more than reference Donald Trump without connecting anything in the movie to anything beyond a line or two. The references aren’t appropriate beyond trying (and failing) to look edgy as there doesn’t seem to be any Trump-like characters in the movie or references to any of Trump’s known stances on anything unless you count maybe cutting regulations in the EPA. There’s a lot that can be said about political issues involving things like animal rights and environmental concerns, but these lines don’t really refer to those issues, so why bother having them?
As it is, this may be the best directed movie in the series since Spielberg left. It would probably be OK if you liked the previous movie, but otherwise I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. Just because it tells a more original story than the previous movies in the series, that doesn’t mean I think this one was done any better. Go if you’re a fan of the series; don’t bother if you aren’t.