Film - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Open the door, get on the floor, Kraig Taylor-Bryant walks the dinosaur and looks at Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (slight spoilers)...

So weirdly enough, I haven't actually seen the Jurassic Park films. I know, crazy, isn't it? However I have seen enough of Spielberg's work through the Indiana Jones franchise to get me to watch both Jurassic World films so far but, to be perfectly honest, I really didn’t like the first Jurassic World film. Of course, I cared about the kids in the film because, at the time, I felt like I could kind of relate to at least one of them, but there was just nothing to keep the tension throughout it, maybe a few nameless characters killed off-screen, but that was it really.

What excited me and kept me engaged throughout Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to the 2015 film Jurassic World, was the tension from the organisation that supposedly wanted to "save the dinosaurs". I mean, sure we knew it was coming, because that was pretty much given away with the little too revealing trailers we were shown in the build up to its release. But, regardless, we still felt on edge for the main characters, because each threat seemed ridiculously close to killing the main characters. And, unlike the first film, by the end of this one, we start to care about the dinosaurs more because they're not the real threat like they seem to be in every other Jurassic movie (to my knowledge). This made it particularly interesting because one of the main members of the team that was sent out to help recover the dinosaurs, Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), cared about the dinosaurs because they were living things and yet there were many moments (in the first Jurassic World film at least) that made us believe that these were simply mindless creatures, with the possible exception of Blue. But this film has a great way of shifting our opinions of them to match Claire's view on dinosaurs. It's almost like the way the audience is made to feel sympathy for these dinosaurs, has made them seem more like actual beings, making us forget that this version of the dinosaurs in the Jurassic series, are mostly (if not entirely) CGI.

One of the moments that you really feel a connection with these creatures is when one of the dinosaurs is left on the island to be killed by the lava flowing over the island. It's almost as if it was smart enough to know that the boat was the only way off the island and it was moaning, in a way, to try and call the boat back because it was scared to die. It was in this moment, I felt as if there were actual stakes to this story, because a character/dinosaur that I had a connection with was killed off, which I really didn’t feel in the first Jurassic World film. And it's also in those moments, like when we see Blue as a young dinosaur starting to feel empathy for Chris Pratt’s character of Owen whenever he would pretend to be sad and Blue would, over time, start to feel the desire to comfort him, helping us to believe that these animals are capable of feeling proper emotion, already making them more intelligent than a number of creatures on our planet.

It also felt as if the first Jurassic film was really just a weirdly similar version of the first Jurassic Park film (I know roughly what happens in that film), the fact that they go to a park, the dinosaurs are loose, they attack the people, and it's all very scary (except for me it wasn’t in the first Jurassic World, because it looked very CGI), before they somehow eventually survive the ordeal and everyone's happy. But in this film, even at the end, you feel genuine concern for the dinosaurs in this world that was created and you feel a different kind of fear, one of concern for this cohabitation between humans and dinosaurs. This would, in my opinion, make a very interesting sequel because the dinosaurs tend to be confined to one small area, such as an island, or a park, or a big mansion, which would not be the case in this literal Jurassic world that was created in this film.

Anyway, through the whole of Fallen Kingdom, we experience a sense of urgency, and the unfamiliarity that makes this film feel very unpredictable because, instead of people coming to the dinosaurs, the dinosaurs are coming to them and that’s even scarier, leaving some to believe that they can be monstrous beasts if intimidated. But this film shows the human race that if you show kindness towards most of these dinosaurs, then they won't harm you.

It's interesting that these dinosaurs also seem to be going through natural issues that we suffer today as human beings, which kind of helps us relate, not to them per se, but to their situation. The fact that they are in danger of going extinct due to global warming, that being a natural cause, is very similar to the dinosaurs in Jurassic World being threatened to extinction by a natural cause, that is the volcano on their island, erupting and killing them. I could almost picture us being in similar shoes to these dinosaurs in 10/20 years' time where, possibly, we have the ability to live on Mars to try and save our species from having global warming take a more harmful turn on our world, and if, in some way we were to encounter life, we may rely on their acceptance of us to survive, much like the dinosaurs had to in this film, making us, in a lot of ways, embody situations that may encounter in the future.

As well as all this, the film seems to have some actual themes to it, almost having it have its own morals, such as the dangers of possessing so much money, and the fact that it can even drive a person to kill another, if there is enough money involved. Thankfully it's no gruesome death, so it's still the kind of film that a kid could watch and, I think, they could enjoy this film very much. It also seems to show us that a man would be willing to sell these beings to militaries of different countries almost as slaves, showing the pure evil that the corruption of money can have on a person. We kind of see a moral also in the fact that we need to feel empathy for any living creature that is nearing extinction, regardless of its danger to our species, even finding an isolated place to keep them would be acceptable, as long as they have a comfortable quality of living, and that’s a great message to give to kids of the next generation. 

It's also different that in this film, we see a way more intense fight between the dinosaurs, because it's one between a dinosaur that we have grown to like across these two films. In the first film, it was really just a fight between two dinosaurs that they team creating the film, and didn’t give us enough time to grow to care about the dinosaur defending the humans, making it feel way less intense for me. In any CGI fight, you really need to make the audience believe the character to be real, otherwise it's just a CGI mess (in my opinion) and that was the biggest issue for the first Jurassic world film in my opinion. But in this film, it was a character that we grew to like because it helped Owen to survive through the first film, and we start to care about her/him. We also have the fact that we get to see some footage of when Blue is little, and the fact that Blue cares about how Owen is feeling at one point in the film. This is what really helped me to buy into the character, and really hope that Blue did not get killed in the final fight sequence. 

And then we have a plot twist that makes the film even more interesting that helps to develop a few characters in particular in this film. And that’s another thing that this film does very well; They choose characters that even an older audience can relate to. Of course kids can still relate to the adults, in the same way that kids still want to believe that they're Batman or Superman. And the fact that these characters are making the odd joke and that there is a real dynamic between this nerdy group of friends really makes us root for them. The only issue I had with this was that it would have been perfect to see one of these people die, because it would almost help to seal the connection between all of them, and possibly bring them closer together as friends, in the realisation that they need to trust each other or that this is serious now.

So, I think overall, this story is much more compelling that the previous instalment of the Jurassic World series because of the attachment that grows within us, towards the dinosaurs, and I would personally love to see a situation where the humans are portrayed to be almost the villains of the film because the government has chosen to hunt them to extinction, this could make for a very devise and interesting film (a similar concept was done with the game Detroit become human). And the characters from the previous film have developed that little bit more, and the film even manages to make us care about the newer characters, as well as sending positive messages to kids, and limiting the blood to also make it appropriate for them.

That’s not to say that the film doesn’t have its darker moments, because it really does. In the final moments, when the dinosaurs are suffering, and the main characters have to decide to either let them suffer or release them into the real world, the fact that most of them want to leave the dinosaurs in there because they're afraid for humanity shows almost the dark side in everyone that is needed to make the safest decisions. But, of course, you could alternatively follow your heart, which often has greater risk attached to it.

Follow Kraig on Twitter @kraigandhismac

Images - IMDb/Getty Images

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