I want to try something with you. A sort of meditation, if you’re willing. I want you to breathe deep. Loosen your shoulders. Calm your mind. Exhale. And pretend with me, for just a moment, that you’ve never heard of Jurassic Park.
Have you done it? Is your head clear? Has the franchise as a whole been erased from your brain? Ok, good.
We’re calm, we’re cool, and we’re collected. We’re pretending that Jurassic Park/World doesn’t exist in our reality. Now, I’m going to try to sell you an action film, and you have to pretend it was written for adults and their families. NOT exclusively for elementary school children.
Are you ready? Okay, here’s the Adult movie I’d like to sell you…
The movie starts with two attractive adults of child-bearing age who are arguing about why they split up. The answer: they don’t know, and neither do we. Owen says Claire told him to leave, so he left. And Claire claims she was mad because he wouldn’t let her drive. For whatever reason they just sort of stayed separated, like driving off without having a fight or talking is a real thing adult people do. So Claire went off to the big city to become a non-profit dinosaur advocate (a real job that pays big-people money in this movie universe) while Owen built cabin in a field with a hammer alone.
Please keep in mind, this is an adult movie.
So Owen is asked by Claire to come help her rescue the dinosaurs from a volcanic island. Which is about to explode. But they can predict exactly when the dangerous lava will come spilling out, so Owen agrees. They get an expedition together with the help of a kindly old British grandfather who lives in a mansion/dinosaur museum. Later, we discover that the kindly British man’s granddaughter is actually the clone of his deceased daughter, and the nanny who takes care of her has known the entire time.
This is an adult movie.
Google Images / Milton Bradley
Owen, knowing that his pet velociraptor Blue is still on the island, comes along for the expedition. And Claire gets to go because she finally bought some boots, and letting a dinosaur lobbyist without weapons or training venture to an exploding island full of carnivores is a normal decision made by rational adults. Or by two children hiding in a trench coat.
Then Mom and Dad *ahem* Claire and Owen are joined by a group of elite para-military hunters led by a man who pulls teeth out of lizards.
Once on the island Owen, Claire, and her other friends from work; I.T. Man and Public Relations Woman, get busy hacking the old park systems. Mostly so they have a reason to be trapped in a concrete box that will fill with lava.
Meanwhile, the scary hunters get busy with immediately betraying Owen. First they shoot his pet dinosaur with real bullets, and then they shoot Owen with sleepy-time fake bullets, that way he doesn’t get an owchie… Then they leave him to be consumed by lava. While he’s paralyzed and awake. So he can feel his body slowly being scorched. Which is much more humane than a bullet.
Back at the mansion the real hero of the story, Orphan Girl, is doing some sleuthing of her own. Orphan Girl discovers that the man working for her grandpapa is really an evil con artist, and he’s planning to sell the dinosaurs to foreign-looking rich people during a shockingly conspicuous auction where everyone parks on the front lawn. Instead of trafficking their illegal goods online through proxies like people have been doing for the past decade. Oh, Orphan Girl also finds out that the conman is growing monsters in the hidden laboratory under their mansion/museum.
Google Images / Nickelodeon
Back on the island Mom and Dad sneak onto the hunters’ ship before it can sail away. Then half of their group gets captured. Then two of them get free again. Then they get captured in a cage with a T-Rex. Then they go free again. Then they get stuck in a truck. Then they go free again. Then they’re discovered in the truck and imprisoned in the mansion. Then they go free again.
Anyway, Mom’s friend from work, Public Relations Woman, knows how to give blood infusions to dinosaurs, so they give Dad’s pet velociraptor some T-Rex blood, and he gets all better. Then Mom and Dad arrive at the mansion, break up the auction by releasing the dinosaurs on the entire human race, and they adopt Orphan Girl so they can all go live in the cabin that Dad built in a field with a hammer and no help whatsoever. And I’m sure Mom and Dad will take great care of us…until one of them drives away and forgets where they live.
Honestly, and I say this without any real malice or investment; this movie is pants-on-head, aggressively dumbed down. If you don’t believe me go watch it. It’s actually kind of fun in a Saturday Morning Cartoons sort-of way. Those aren’t punchlines you scrolled past, those are legit plot points this movie hits on.
While trying to explain Fallen Kingdom I found myself comparing it to cheap Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novels from the early 90’s. There are just too many plot points that overlap into this film; finding a secret lab in the mansion, having the protagonist get a pet dinosaur, a clandestine auction being held by a greedy con-man, a plucky young orphan getting adopted… It’s almost as if the screenwriters weren’t using Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel for source material, and instead were basing it on something written for children that came directly after Crichton’s book.
Okay, I’ll admit it. This last one is just wishful thinking.