Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Early Reviews: Narratively Uneven, but Full of Dino Thrills

The first reviews for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom say it doesn't quite reach its ambitious goals, but offers plenty of action and a welcome change of scenery.

by | June 5, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

Despite being one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, 2015’s Jurassic World is far from being one of the best-reviewed; it currently sits at 71% on the Tomatometer. With J.A. Bayona at the helm, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has the potential to hew closer to the original Jurassic Park (92%) in terms of chills, thrills, and dinosaur action. So far, though, it’s at risk of becoming the first film Bayona (The OrphanageThe Impossible) has directed that won’t be Certified Fresh.

Below is a breakdown of the earliest reviews of the new movie, which indicate it’s not quite the improvement fans were hoping for, but it’s still reliably entertaining.

How does Fallen Kingdom compare to the other Jurassic movies?

There is a little bit of the wonder and joy that made the original so special embedded deep within Fallen Kingdom, which I credit to Bayona.
Emma Stefansky, Uproxx

Just about clears the low bar required to qualify as second best in the whole sequence.
Donald Clarke, Irish Times

Lacks the bite of previous outings.
Matt Chapman, Digital Spy

Less like a slavish imitation of its predecessors and more like a poor-man’s Gremlins.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

I did not think I could hate a Jurassic Park movie more than I hated the last. But here we are.
Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

Is it better than the last one?

A more thoughtful and interesting film than its immediate predecessor.
Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

Fallen Kingdom isn’t quite so awful as its previous iteration.
Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

It’s sad to say this after such a fun, adventurous return to the franchise in Jurassic World, but Fallen Kingdom is not the sequel we were hoping for.
George Simpson, Daily Express

Ultimately, Fallen Kingdom is a more mature and fully realized vision than Jurassic World.
– Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

How is the Script?

A kind of furrowed-brow disaster-movie pastiche.
– Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Scrapes the bottom of the barrel for narrative ideas.
– David Crow, Den of Geek

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a character in any movie do something as dumb as several of the things the characters in this movie do.
– Matt Singer, Screen Crush

The less you try to dissect it, the more you’ll enjoy it.
– Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

How is the action?

Bayona finds many opportunities to transform action beats into memorably beautiful visions.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

Bayona balances horror with action and adventure for some of the more thrilling sequences in the entire Jurassic Park franchise.
Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

Still mostly like a roller coaster that you’ve ridden many times.
David D’Arcy, Screen International

[Fallen Kingdom] opens with one of the most exciting set pieces of the year.
Gav Murphy, IGN Movies

[The pre-credits sequence is] like an effectively directed and higher budgeted sequence out of Jaws 3D.
David Crow, Den of Geek

(Photo by Universal Pictures)

How scary is it?

What was [once] exciting and scary…feels expected and very hackneyed now.
Dan Callahan, The Wrap

The expected horror uptick doesn’t pay off – particularly given the high number of last-minute reprieves.
Matt Chapman, Digital Spy

Bayona infuses plenty of fantastic horror imagery in Fallen Kingdom, again utilizing beautiful visuals to eke out as much emotion from a scene as possible.
Molly Freeman, ScreenRant

Fallen Kingdom is as close as the Jurassic movies are going to come to a horror film and it gels nicely with a franchise that’s always had a gleefully sadistic streak.
Philip De Semlyen, Time Out

[Bayona] does lovely, creepy things with shadows and close-ups, and he playfully uses tapestries and dioramas.
Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice

 How’s the cast?

As for our heroes, Howard and Pratt develop their characters beyond the archetypes they inhabited last time. Claire 2.0 is more engaging and sympathetic — and yes, she wears sensible shoes this time — while Owen’s more brash, chauvinistic edges are rounded off..
Ben Travis, Empire Magazine

As far as new characters go, there’s some particular standouts, such as Danielle Pineda’s spirited and take-charge character Zia, and Ted Levine’s absolutely insane Wheatley, as both add even more spice to the proceedings.
– Mike Reyes, Cinema Blend

The cast brings some spark, especially [Danielle] Pineda.
– Kristy Puchko, Pajiba

[Isabella Sermon’s] quiet shock and astonishment at the lunacy surrounding her brings a credible gaze to circumstances in dire need of it. Fallen Kingdom could have used more of her.
– Eric Kohn, IndieWire

Are we left wanting more?

Fallen Kingdom‘s closing scenes seem intent on something far bigger, like a Planet of the Apes-style saga that has barely begun… intending to milk things for as long as the public will keep buying tickets. If future installments are this rich and exciting, that’s probably going to be a while.
– John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

[A sequel is] shamelessly set up at the end of Fallen Kingdom with the help of an old fan favorite. I can’t say I’m all that eager to see what becomes of our prehistoric pals next.
– Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

There will be a sequel. The ending makes that abundantly clear. But in all honestly, I’m rooting for one. Because Fallen Kingdom kind of feels like one big set-up for a much more complex, nuanced, and interesting premise (and no hybrid dinosaurs!).
– Anne Cohen, Refinery29

Despite some familiar echoes of The Lost WorldFallen Kingdom also takes big, brave, irreversible strides, deriving tantalising logical conclusions from Michael Crichton’s original premise and setting up a brave new World for this trilogy’s final chapter.
– Ben Travis, Empire Magazine

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens everywhere on Friday, June 22. Read all the reviews for it here.

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