Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom crafts an exciting story that has enough momentum to keep two hours of action exciting.

After the chaos that ensued on Isla Nublar during the events of Jurassic World, the dinosaurs were left unattended. However, once a volcano becomes active on the island, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) try to save the dinosaurs from becoming extinct once again.

Although the characters in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are flat and the film overall lacks depth, it does feel distinct from the previous Jurassic films in a positive and fresh way.

All the Jurassic films have a human component. They are critical in that humans brought dinosaurs back and the human antagonists typically try to use the dinosaurs for their personal gain. This is no different in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and it does completely recycle the themes of the previous Jurassic films. However, the central conflict is less centered on dinosaurs running amok than on the direct actions of humans.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom tries to differentiate itself from the previous Jurassic films by not taking place entirely on an island. A major portion of the film takes place indoors, in a completely different environment, which completely changes the atmosphere of the film.

This is due to the creative vision of director J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls, The Impossible) and his frequent collaborator Oscar Faura as cinematographer. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is consistently visually stunning. Many scenes showcase a beauty and serenity in the midst of the chaos. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not confined to the beautiful openness of an island, but instead gets to explore stunning shadows and contrasts in the confines of a mansion.

Unfortunately, the film devotes too much time to both of its major set pieces that it does drag, making the film feel longer than its two-hour run-time. While the action is consistently exciting, it is not buoyed enough by the characters. While Pratt and Howard are both charming, neither of their characters feels well-rounded. Claire is at least more interesting than she was in Jurassic World, as she is much more active in this film.

However, the new supporting characters constantly outshine Owen and Claire. Zia (Daniella Pineda), a paleoveterinarian, and Franklin (Justice Smith), a systems analyst, bring a much-needed energy to the film. While neither of these characters ever develops beyond simple archetypes, they are much livelier than Claire and Owen.

The human character with the most significance is Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the granddaughter of Hammond’s former partner in creating the dinosaurs, Benjamin Lockwood. She is the only character that feels human, despite one completely illogical decision, but while her role in the story is significant, she does not have a lot of screen time. However, towards the end of the film, she starts to feels less like a person and more like a prop to heighten the action and as a symbol for the film’s messages.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom tries to juggle some complex themes regarding the rights of dinosaurs; however, they ultimately get lost in the more prominent action and terror. Ultimately, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom completely serves its purpose in being a fun and exciting summer blockbuster and signals a potentially interesting future for the Jurassic franchise.

Grade: B

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ opened in theaters June 22, 2018

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