Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The “Jurassic Park” franchise is one of the most successful and recognizable film franchises of all time. The first film, directed by Steven Spielberg, is considered by many (including myself) to be a masterpiece, and it has become cemented in pop culture relevance for years to come.

The sequels, however, are a completely different story, and nowhere is that more evident than with the fifth and latest installment: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

Set a few years after the events of 2015’s “Jurassic World,” this film follows Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s characters as they return to the island to save the dinosaurs from the erupting volcano that could ultimately cause their re-extinction. On top of that, there’s a lot of corporate greed surrounding the potential weaponization of the dinosaurs, which could change the world forever.

I had hope for this film. I liked the quasi-reboot that was “Jurassic World,” and this follow-up was set to be directed J.A. Bayona, known for his great work on 2016’s “A Monster Calls.”

Unfortunately, this film is arguably the worst installment in the franchise so far, and it has almost entirely killed my desire to see any more films in the series.

Where this film fails the most is with the most important element: the story. To put it plainly, this movie makes no sense. It feels as if it were crafted by a dozen or so studio executives who were just throwing together whatever came into their minds first. The result is a mess of a film that has no clear story direction and ultimately feels hollow.

The film also introduces some of the most cliché and ridiculous elements to this franchise that I’ve seen yet. I won’t say much about them for fear of spoiling the film, but just know that at one point I laughed out loud at what was supposed to be a dramatic revelation about a new character.

What is frustrating is that there are brief moments of quality sprinkled throughout the film. They serve as little glimmers of hope before the film plunges back into the dull experience it was before.

One of these glimmers is the relationship between Pratt’s character and a velociraptor he trained, named Blue. Their relationship was by far the most interesting thing in the film, though that isn’t saying much. Their relationship was built upon a mutual respect. It wasn’t like a man and his pet, which is what I was afraid of. There’s a sense of camaraderie between the two that was intriguing, but unfortunately the film doesn’t explore it enough to make the two-hour-plus runtime worth it.

Most of the performances in the film, aside from Pratt’s, were a pain to watch. Howard can be a pretty hit-or-miss actress, and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” was definitely a miss for her. It was obvious she didn’t really care a whole lot about what she was doing. She brought no emotion to her character, and her performance reminded me of one from a made-for-TV movie. She was just there because she had to be, and it was hard to sit through.

I could hammer on about how stupid this movie is for hours. I could talk about some of the obnoxious and unnecessary new characters, or how it just repeats a lot of the same beats as the franchise’s previous installments, or how it tries to set up for a sixth film in a fashion that I could only describe as cringeworthy, but at that point I would just be beating a dead horse.

It’s probably obvious at this point that I would not recommend this movie. Please, if you want to see a movie in theaters now, see something that is actually worth your time, such as “Incredibles 2” or “Tag.”

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