The hype surrounding this movie hearkens back to the time surrounding The Lost World Jurassic Park, with an abundance of merchandise; toys, games, Jeep commercials, candy, and more heralding the release of the fifth sequel in the franchise.
All of this new content tempts fans of the series with the promise of an epic film. So you may wonder: why do critics hate Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom?
In 2015, Jurassic World surprised the industry by becoming a huge commercial success. Jurassic World surged to a $208.8 million opening weekend in the United States. This success spurred a wave of promotional material for the sequel reminiscent of that surrounding earlier movies in the franchise.
The marketing teams realize that Jurassic Park can still draw huge profits. Luckily for fans, this led to more substantial products to gear up for this sequel. With a growing audience focused on this franchise, The question remains: did this film live up to these lofty expectations?
While opinions remain mixed, I am a huge fan of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom and believe it will be remembered as a strong entry in the series. Keep reading to find out why.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Place in the Franchise
I approach new sequels in this franchise with great anxiety. I know that the possibility of a letdown looms large. Fans share a deep connection with nostalgic franchises that the studio executives cannot comprehend.
Changes in direction for financial means can alienate fans of the original material. Jurassic World was profoundly successful because of the team’s commitment to respectfully adapting the franchise. You can read more about Jurassic World’s contribution to the franchise in our full Jurassic World movie breakdown.
Telling new stories in a way that remains faithful to the original becomes a critical component of retaining fans of the franchise. Following the success of Jurassic World, could Fallen Kingdom live up to its predecessor?
In short, it proved divisive. Critics went wild in picking apart each aspect of the film’s composition; many fans were left underwhelmed.
Despite the harsh criticism of most films in this franchise, I have yet to be disappointed. Each sequel provides further exploration of concepts and often incorporates ideas left behind by the novels.
Through the lens of nostalgia, critics often denounce sequels for not embracing the spirit of the original. The opening sequence of this movie achieved a perfect blend of classic action and originality. Something very core to the franchise had indeed survived.
The Fallen Kingdom Experience
This movie holds a unique place in the franchise by bringing audiences familiar territory with a new spin. The first provides intense action sequences with a similar feel to those of earlier films.
Fans get to journey back to Isla Nublar for one final adventure. The first act establishes the critical ethical concerns surrounding the survival of the remaining animals. In one iconic and heart-wrenching scene, we say farewell to old friends.
In the context of the film universe, characters are witnessing an end of an era. They watch as a place that holds vivid memories becomes violently reclaimed by nature. This brutal end mirrors the actual demise of the dinosaurs.
Further, the audience connects with the island and its dinosaurs through nostalgia. This end symbolizes the end of an era. Our childhood fades as we move into our future, for better or for worse.
In the second act, Claire asks, “Do you remember the first time you saw a dinosaur?” Many of us remember seeing Jurassic Park and being enchanted by the spectacular arrival on the island. Our first look at the Brachiosaurus was as close to a real dinosaur as we could find in a movie.
Imagery and Effects of Fallen Kingdom
The beautiful imagery accompanied by the grand score by composer John Williams conjured a sense of wonder. These emotions can become linked with our feelings toward these films.
The dinosaurs’ reign was ended by the scorching blaze of an asteroid impact. This event rid the world of some of the most fascinating animals of all time. Were it not for their demise, our species may never have evolved to overtake the world.
Likewise, the end of the island on screen serves as a necessary step for the franchise to evolve. Not everyone can agree on the direction change for the series, but I feel that the bold steps bring a degree of uncertainty that we need moving forward.
J.A. Bayona’s Impact on Fallen Kingdom
This is the point where the movie sets itself apart from its predecessors in a dramatic fashion. The large-scale invasion of dinosaurs into our world as hinted at in the first film finally comes to fruition.
In the past, the characters sought to elude danger by escaping the confines of an island. There is no safety anywhere. Dinosaurs can penetrate the barriers of our communities at will.
Paraphrasing Dr. Grant in Jurassic Park, dinosaurs and man have been thrown back into the mix and we cannot know what to expect. This raises the stakes to a new bar.
The film transitions to an urban experience in the second act of the journey. Here we explore more of the horror elements of the film that spotlight the choice of J.A. Bayona as director.
The Indoraptor serves as our new antagonist. He is an improved version of the Indominous rex, the creature that negated a decade of progress at the park. While this becomes only the second hybrid on screen, the concept of hybrid dinosaurs is nothing new to longtime fans of the franchise.
In 1998, the Kenner toy company produced a line of hybrid toys that Universal had intended to turn into an animated television series. The toughest dinosaur of the bunch, Ultimasaurus, was slated to be the most ferocious dinosaur of all time.
This hybrid combined DNA from Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, and Stegosaurus. While we never get to see Ultimasaurus, I feel that Indoraptor was a fitting final boss.
Introducing Hybrids to the Franchise
The concept of hybrids has concerned fans of the series for decades. Many outlandish scripts surfaced during the long gap between Jurassic Park 3 and Jurassic World. Most would agree that the actual hybrid plot has been intriguing yet tasteful. The final foray into the hybrid story held nothing back in portraying a movie monster.
Colin Trevorrow has confirmed that the Indoraptor will be the last hybrid to appear in a Jurassic World film. Thankfully, this dinosaur was sufficiently horrifying and worthy of a spot in the series as the next logical step for dinosaur development.
The film reminds of us how humans continue down a path of advancement to the detriment of stability. Again, this addresses the concerns that Dr. Malcolm presented back in 1993 and ties together this sequel to the source material.
We encounter many ethical dilemmas in this movie. These concepts bring the audience back to the core of Jurassic Park: the world at the edge of chaos. The lines between hero and villain become blurred as the consequences of the past are catching up with our hero characters.
Our protagonists Owen Grady and Claire Dearing, like John Hammond, come to accept their roles in the downfall of the park and in furthering the knowledge of how to weaponize dinosaurs.
Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom lays the foundation for the final entry in the saga to answer the difficult question of whether or not species separated by sixty-five million years of evolution can coexist.
Why Do Critics Hate Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom?
Critics have once again descended upon a Jurassic Park sequel armed with torches and pitchforks. It’s perfectly acceptable to dislike the direction of the franchise.
The expectation of any sequel to evoke the same emotions as the original is unrealistic and honestly, unfair. So why do critics hate Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom?
After decades of criticism that all Jurassic Park sequels are the same, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom made the bold decision to be different and it backfired. When looking through the lens of our nostalgia glasses, it becomes easy to judge anything new as unworthy. This is a natural human flaw and one that clouds any hope for objectivity.
Most fans are grateful for the decisions made by Colin Trevorrow and the team involved in reviving the franchise. Often those with the loudest voices, the critics, dominate the headlines. This does little to accurately reflect the opinions of the masses.
How Critics Misunderstood Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
We must understand, however, that praising a film is not good for garnering attention. Bloggers and film critics make a living out of nitpicking every component of movies. In the process, critics often miss the point. This becomes painfully evident when assessing the criticism of this movie in particular.
Reviewers, such as Rotten Tomatoes, tend to ridicule this movie for certain elements while turning a blind eye to the same problems in the original. The characters may be bland, mere caricatures, the plot may be cliché, and there may be scientific inaccuracies, but that does not mean it is a failure.
Jurassic Park has these same issues when looking for flaws. What makes a movie special is what it means to you. This film took liberties to break from tradition while providing plenty of opportunities for fan service.
If you’re curious, we have another article that goes in-depth about why Jurassic Park was so popular when it debuted. I wonder if it would have had the same reception if released today.
Any movie can be picked apart if your goal is to find fault. Basing opinions on the critics of Rotten Tomatoes does not make one an elite moviegoer. Find the types of films you enjoy and watch them despite what others think.
Where Fallen Kingdom Succeeds
Despite the negative press, the film is a resounding success with the general audience, grossing nearly 2.3 billion worldwide. This puts Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom at number 12 on the list of highest-grossing films of all time.
Furthermore, most of you reading this article likely have more appreciation for the franchise as a whole than the typical movie critic who views a film only once and does not share a passion for the genre.
While being a hardcore fan is a bias in itself, we must note that as a community, hardcore fans tend to be more critical than the average viewer. I hold a deep love for the series and will always fear the disappointment that has besieged other franchises, such as Star Wars.
I find this movie to be a wonderful change of pace. It does not produce the same nostalgia as the films of childhood, but it will endure as part of a new era in my life. The movie offers plenty of dinosaur action while provoking an interesting ethical dialogue that can apply to modern science.
Maybe those who bashed the film initially should give it a second chance before Jurassic World Dominion premieres. Often taking a second look at a movie can change how we feel about it.
So what do you think? We would love to hear your feedback in the comment section. If you find this content useful, please share it with your friends.