Upon my first viewing of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – my opinion was mixed. The hype had built, and built, and built, and what was before me wasn’t quite what I expected. Was I disappointed? I wasn’t sure. But it was very hard to make a judgement. The film, fundamentally to me, did not feel like a Jurassic Park film. It felt too serious – too grounded, and that wasn’t what I wanted. And that uncertainty quickly led me to my second viewing, the very next day. I had to see the film again – to make sense of my thoughts. And it is this second viewing that clarified things for me. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom wasn’t what I wanted – it was the sequel this franchise NEEDED. The change in tone combined with new characters and new threats takes us in a direction we have always been on the cusp of – but have never fully committed to exploring.
Initially, I was opposed to this change of tone. It was new – and something new can often be daunting, especially when you have pre-defined expectations for what a franchise should be. But that doesn’t mean a franchise can’t be something new. Fallen Kingdom fundamentally builds on a plot thread which has been in place since the very first Jurassic Park film. Our greed as a species – and how our greed can often make us ignorant to our wrong-doings and errors. Across the franchise – and even through to Jurassic World, we never get a true sense of consequence for the errors of our ways. Fallen Kingdom rectifies this by not only exploring the science of the first films – but by retroactively questioning whether the ethics and morals of John Hammond and other characters went too far from the very beginning. It makes us question this by leading to what is ultimately an impossible decision – and a decision which, no matter which way it went, would have chilling consequences for the third film in the ‘World’ franchise.
We are using that word a lot – consequence. And I think that term really is the best word to describe Fallen Kingdom. Take, for example, the first Jurassic Park. Several characters lose their lives – Muldoon, Ray Arnold and Dennis Nedry chief amongst them. But beyond those loses of human life, we never truly get a sense of the wider-reaching impact of the film. Nublar is abandoned and that is that – with nothing else left to say. We then see the same throughout the next three sequels – with limited real-world consequences, but not enough to make them feel justified and real. By the time we reach Fallen Kingdom, it is apparent that enough is enough. To reach five films and still be playing with this technology seems absurd – and Fallen Kingdom really uses this as a strength to convey just how wrong actions taken out of greed can really go.
They say the best films are films which you can relate real life events to – and it was only on my second viewing that this really became true to me. Fallen Kingdom really parallels several key fundamental plot points – from our responsibility as a species to look after this planet, to our desire to use technology before it has been fully developed, to our greed and lust for money – a raw lust which can often make us over-look the most irrational and stupid mistakes we can make. It is these clever and subtle plot points throughout which ultimately make the tone in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom feel justified within the franchise. Colin has frequently said that this film is a parallel to our relationship with real animals, and it truly is.
The course of the film loses the magical ‘Jurassic’ tone we are used to deliberately, because, just like in the real world we are now entering an error where I relationship with animals is increasingly murky. Hundreds of species are extinct, and we threaten many more – and Fallen Kingdom’s transition into a much darker third act sets about in conveying this theme fantastically.
The film is a bold-new step in a new direction, and it takes a step which shifts many of the childish, fantastical moments from the initial films, even if these are still sprinkled in the Fallen Kingdom mix-pot. And although this is a step which I was initially displeased with, I can now see that it is a step which is the most natural for the franchise – and allows for the most organic next-step in this story. These consequences have been coming for a long time – ever since a T-Rex set foot in San Diego. But Fallen Kingdom takes no prisoners and dives straight into this new and scarier world – because that is exactly where humanity’s actions have ultimately lead them. It’s an interesting study on many real-world actions and mistakes which I am sure will only continue to convey interesting parallels in the future.
If you were like me and were unsure about Fallen Kingdom on your first viewing, give this film another chance. It isn’t perfect – but no film is. Fallen Kingdom does do an incredible job in taking a naturally progressive step forward to finally explore the consequences of all this mad science. I’m excited to see what Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael create in Jurassic World 3, as there is some real potential. And Colin – if you’re reading this, Jurassic World: Extinction is a good title to me!
Article written by: