Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

It’s a shame that we’ve reached this milestone, but it warrants noting that “Jurassic World” is the first “Jurassic Park” movie to ever put me to sleep. I’m not saying “Fallen Kingdom” is an awful movie, it’s just that it’s not a very good one. If “Jurassic World” became a Saturday morning cartoon to entertain kids between bowls of cereal and bathroom breaks, “Fallen Kingdom” would be the pilot episode. It’s thin on narrative, but crowded with a ton of half baked, under developed characters, all of whom are so paper thin we barely get to know them, or engage ourselves with them all over again.

Owen and Claire are back as Claire (Sans her obnoxious nephews) is called back to one of the Jurassic Islands to help save some of the dinosaurs as a dormant volcano threatens to destroy the entire species. For some reason, Claire enlists the help of ex-boyfriend Owen to help in the expedition and find his old friend, the friendly neighborhood raptor Blue. Meanwhile, Claire brings along two new assistants to help in the capture of the dinosaurs, but are unaware that the man staging the expedition is an evil millionaire. He plans to create a super dinosaur with the DNA of other dinosaurs, and with the help of his evil hunters, he hopes to… um… I don’t know, sell them as weaponry. I think that’s what they explained, I was drifting in and out. With the help of the rambunctious little brat named Maisie, they hope to stop the bad scientists before they begin hurting the dinosaurs and creating a new breed of dangerous predators. Look! It’s Jeff Goldblum collecting an easy paycheck!

For a movie that’s two hours, “Fallen Kingdom” hits the ground running, sprinting for the finish line without ever letting up. There’s no down time, or time for us to catch our breath, because the script anxiously pads its paper thin script with action sequences, and dinosaur rampages that frankly felt redundant and repetitive after a while. These characters haven’t changed at all, and we don’t feel much growth with them. Owen is still kind of a lunk head who dons an in and out Southern boy accent, while Claire is a fine heroine. If “Fallen Kingdom” were well written and exciting, she’d be a wonderful heroine and a great addition to the canon. Meanwhile the three younger characters all feel tacked on, and wasted with nothing to do but react off of Owen and Claire.

They literally have no forward motion or life, save for Maisy, whose sub-plot feels like someone tossed it a whole other movie in to the script before filming “Fallen Kingdom,” just to hit the two hour mark. Nothing about “Fallen Kingdom” ever really clicks, as it all feels like recycled plot elements from previous “Jurassic Park” films, from the expedition, the crooked hunters, the evil organization, right down to the child being chased around by dinosaurs. It’s all so lazy and half hearted that it pretty much jumps in to auto drive mid-way and never stops. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are fine in the movie, but their characters don’t evolve or grow; they’re merely reduced to being props for the action scenes, in the end. “Fallen Kingdom” threatens to make oodles of cash at the box office, which is disheartening, since audiences deserve so much better than this drivel that never moves anything forward, or devises new ideas.