Director: J.A. Bayona
Writers: Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall
It is really, really difficult for me to explain how I felt about Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
It stinks. Top to bottom, it’s a bloated mess of a movie that thinks we care about characters that we couldn’t possibly give a flying fuck about. And on a script level, it seems to think it’s a smart, interesting take on the JURASSIC PARK mythos, which it patently is not. It’s an insanely stupid, totally wild b-movie, and were it 40 minutes shorter I’d be giving it 4, maybe 5 stars.
Because here’s the thing—I think Bayona gets that this is a wildly dumb movie, and directs it as such. He directs the hell out of this and provides so many great images and moments that were a blast to laugh wildly at with my buddy Andy. By the time you get to the back half of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, you’re either on board or you’re not. And I think the only way you’re on board is if you’re tracking the incredibly high number of stupid character choices and ridiculous script moments and realize that this is where we are with these movies now—they’re the FRIDAY THE 13TH franchise of our era.
We’re 5 movies deep, none of them beyond the original very good, and now they’re just veering into insane territory to try and keep it interesting enough to get butts in seats. In 20 years we’ll look back at this entry as one of the best sequels, but in the way we look back at the Jason movies and go “Yo, JASON X is batshit! Ya gotta see it!”
LESS IS MORE
But here’s the one problem with that—Fallen Kingdom is over 2 hours long. It’s bloated as hell and needs 40 minutes cut from it to be the b-movie Bayona wants it to be. I know exactly what I would cut from this to make it an 80-90 minute roller coaster of insanity that would be on par with recent trashterpieces like XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE or GODS OF EGYPT. I’m confident there’s a movie people would absolutely love hidden inside this behemoth, and I wish studios weren’t so hellbent on “giving us our money’s worth” when that only means length, rather than quality.
I really enjoyed Fallen Kingdom for what it was, but I wish it knew what it was. If it did, I’d be talking about this movie and telling people to get the fuck up and go see it right now. It’s full of moments that will make a certain audience squeal with delight, but it’s also full of moments that make it clear this movie thinks it’s clever. It’s just not fully committed to being the wild b-movie extravaganza that it truly is, and if they’re going to go this direction they need to accept that that is in fact what they’re doing and embrace it. Parading around like it’s of equal quality to the original makes it all frustrating and fall a bit flat, and feel confused tonally.
Once Fallen Kingdom is out on home video I might become one of those nerds that starts experimenting with re-editing movies and see if I can create the 80 minute movie of my dreams that I think is hidden inside here.