Jurassic Park has been one of my favorite franchises since childhood. While Fallen Kingdom is my least favorite, I’m still anticipating Dominion coming June 10, 2022.
Director J.A. Bayona captures a bombastic spectacle and southern gothic tone, but his characters and ending need tweaking. Here’s my diagnosis.
1. Side characters are forgettable and one-dimensional. Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith) needed more purpose. I forgot they existed when I first saw this. For instance, Zia was nicknamed “the SJW character” by fans. Her dialogue was too politically charged and unnatural, constantly repeating how strong she is. More subtlety with an appropriate backstory would resolve the matter. One idea can involve her experiencing gender discrimination during her career, thus explaining her no-nonsense personality to men. There’s many examples of strong females who don’t need to state their capabilities like Ripley (Alien), Sarah Connor (Terminator) and Laurie Strode (Halloween).
On the flip side, Franklin was too annoying as his dialogue mostly includes screaming. He’s supposed to be relatable. Compare him to Lex and Tim from Jurassic Park. Of course, they screamed and ran from dinosaurs. However, they felt realistic, charming and provided heart to the film with Dr. Alan Grant. Franklin doesn’t contribute much to the story and has no visible personality. Both Zia and Franklin are erasable as audiences don’t really care for their survival.
2. Maisie Lockwood isn’t significant enough. Maisie (Isabella Sermon) is part of a trend the Jurassic franchise can’t let go – every film needs a kid to reel in younger audiences. She’s not memorable like Lex and Tim, nor independent and capable like Eric (Jurassic Park III). If you cut her out, nothing major would change.
Consider my version of her: Maisie works with Claire Dearing’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) Dinosaur Protection Group as a mascot – another Greta Thunberg in her own right. She’s also partnered with PETA and ASPCA, an avid animal rights activist and aspiring veterinarian. The revelation of her being a human clone will be removed. It’s not significant enough and only mentioned once. She’s simply the biological granddaughter of Sir Lockwood (James Cromwell).
3. The justification for the ending was weak. When I watched Fallen Kingdom on opening day in 2018, I didn’t care for its ending. “They’re alive, like me.” This was Maisie’s excuse for saving the dinosaurs from cyanide poisoning. I thought it was weak, confusing and made little sense. We know how vicious these creatures are since the first film. She may be a human clone, but it doesn’t justify releasing dangerous dinosaur clones upon the world.
Continuing my version of Maisie: she presses the red button to preserve the animals. Maisie believes dinosaurs deserve the same rights as dogs and elephants. She wants to study and normalize dinosaurs coexisting with humans. They are indeed alive because we created them. It is our duty to care for them now.
IMDb Official (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4881806/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_8)