JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM isn’t a perfect movie, but it has something to say and it has fun saying it. Now, the best part of any Jurassic movie is seeing dickheads get eaten by dinosaurs. If “how many dickheads get eaten” is the scale that we’re using to judge these movies, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM would rank at the top.

(On any normal quality scale, it’s probably just the best sequel of the bunch.) Director J.A. Bayona applied his wicked horror sensibilities to the shambling husk of the JURASSIC WORLD franchise. (Sidebar: Can you tell I don’t like JURASSIC WORLD? Because I don’t like Jurassic World.)

Bayona, originally from Spain, is the best man to tackle the story at the heart of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. Bayona’s outsider perspective is probably the best to address a script that satirizes America so relentlessly. The film is a story about America’s relationship to capitalism and the ways it’s driving us toward utter cruelty.

Life, Uhhhhhh, Finds A Way

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment

Let’s talk about JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM’s predecessor for a second. JURASSIC WORLD, whether intentionally or not, ultimately becomes an ironic commentary on itself. Within the story of film, the idea of building the Jurassic World theme park is shaky enough as it is. After the complete failure of the park the first time, the next step was to do it again but bigger this time?!? That’s like doing two sequels that were nowhere near as good as the original and then doing a fourth one expecting it to be different. Oh, wait.

The crux of JURASSIC WORLD’s plot lies in the Indominus Rex, a genetically altered Frankenstein’s monster of a dinosaur. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) explains that audiences have become jaded to dinosaurs. They need something new and unexpected to drive ticket sales to the park. She might as well have turned to the camera and winked at this point.

Yes, JURASSIC WORLD is about how our modern blockbuster entertainment has fallen far from the Spielberg tree. It decries the shallow sound and fury of modern blockbusters in the form of the Indominus Rex. Then it becomes a shallow blockbuster with any sense of wonder or excitement stripped away. Ironically, it is a product of the consumer greed that JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM satirizes.

The Battle of the MCU Chris’ — Chris Pratt: The Superior and Awesome Chris


FALLEN KINGDOM picks up three years after JURASSIC WORLD. A massive volcanic eruption is about to occur on the abandoned Isla Nublar. The eruption will wipe out all of the dinosaurs on the island. Claire has started an activist group dedicated to protecting the dinosaurs and defending their right to live.

The American government, led by a president who, according to an in-universe news crawl “questions the existence of dinosaurs in the first place,” has decided the best course of action is inaction. The dinosaurs will return to the realm of extinction. Mankind refuses to take responsibility for dragging these creatures back into existence in the first place.

There’s a lot to unpack at this moment. First, it’s hard not to see parallels to the American government’s recent refusals to provide proper aid even to American citizens following a natural disaster, or man-made disasters. Consider the devastation and lack of aid to Puerto Rico, or the contaminated water of Flint, Michigan.

Second, the film begins to show its hand as an animal rights allegory. Again, another area where the American government has shirked its duties either by lifting bans on hunting restrictions or ignoring, y’know, all science to rollback restrictions intended to protect the environment. Callousness and money are the root cause of all these problems. If you don’t help people in natural disaster zones or save endangered animals, you’ll save money.

So while JURASSIC WORLD is this weird, half-baked metacommentary on big blockbusters that eventually disappears up its own butt, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM focuses on these larger satirical ideas about capitalism ideas that drive us towards a cathartic final act.

What We Talk About When We Talk About People Getting Eaten By Dinosaurs

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment

After the government announces they will not be providing aid to any of the dinosaurs (can we pause for a second to appreciate the sheer weirdness of that sentence?), the Lockwood estate approaches Claire with a tantalizing offer. Benjamin Lockwood was a partner to John Hammond on the original Jurassic Park before they had a falling out (it’s a long story involving clone daughters, don’t worry about it, the movie sure as hell doesn’t).

The representative of Lockwood, Eli Mills, might as well have a flashing sign over his head that reads “Do Not Trust” because he inevitably and unsurprisingly betrays them. Why? To sell the dinosaurs for money, of course! Once again, greed is the motivating factor. This moment also alludes to activist causes being co-opted by capitalist influences that are focused more on the bottom dollar than the cause.

There were the infamous solidarity safety pins following the 2016 election that became boutique Etsy items. Over the last few years, the presence of massive corporations having a presence at Pride month events following decades of prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community has been a hotbed of controversy.

When the dinosaurs are returned to the island for the auction, a cadre of “capital T” terrible people line up to partake in a night of animal cruelty. There’s a veritable who’s who of cliche bad guys. There’s a Russian mobster, a bunch of haughty rich people who look like they walked off the set of THE PURGE, and my favorite two dudes with handlebar mustaches and cowboy hats who you just know were there because they wanna hunt a triceratops. And then out comes the main attraction: the Indoraptor.

FALLEN KINGDOM Brings Action, Forgets Characters, Awe

 The Indoraptor Breaks Out-Doraptor

Once again, a genetically altered monstrosity represents the very franchise itself. This time, the Indoraptor is slicker, meaner, sociopathic (seriously, at one point they say it has no empathy), and a cash cow for its amoral creators. The Indoraptor is capitalist greed personified. It was created without any thought on how to properly control it and without any concern for the consequences. Can it make money? Yes. Good.

The Indoraptor breaks free and wreaks havoc on its captors. The established order is overthrown and those who were at the top of the economic food chain are now on the bottom of the literal one. From there, the film goes pretty much exactly where you expect it would. They fight the Indoraptor. There’s a winking homage to the conclusion of JURASSIC PARK. There’s a sequel tease, and then we all go home.

Look, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM isn’t some transcendent cinema experience. It’s a cinematic romp that you’ll half remember seeing when it pops up on cable. But for a few brief moments, it danced with an anarchic brilliance and a middle finger to the system that created it in the first place. The same system that promises we’ll see JURASSIC WORLD 3 in 2021 directed by…JURASSIC WORLD director Colin Trevorrow. Yay?

But perhaps that’s appropriate considering the film’s ending. The dinosaurs are loose. They cannot be contained. And we, the audience, are at their mercy. The wheel of capitalism spins on and crushes those who get in its way, like a rampaging t-rex.

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