The Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom reviews are out now, and it isn't looking good for Universal Pictures' latest foray into the dinosaur-themed franchise. Directed by A Monster Calls helmer J.A. Bayona and based on a script by original Jurassic World writer-director Colin Trevorrow, Fallen Kingdom sees the return of Chris Pratt's Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire Dearing, while also bringing back original franchise stars B.D. Wong and Jeff Goldblum, who reprise their roles as Dr. Henry Wu and Dr. Ian Malcolm, respectively.
The 2018 sequel takes place three years after the events of 2015's Jurassic World and sees Claire's Dinosaur Protection Group attempt to rescue the dinosaurs off Isla Nublar, along with the help of Owen and other mercenaries, before a volcano erupts and wipes out the species. Of course, things don't go according to plan and that's when the movie takes a turn. From the start, fans were hoping for a more horror-focused installment in the vein of Steven Spielberg's original film, and while it seems there are elements of that in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel isn't the critical hit that the filmmakers and the studio were hoping it would be. Part of that is because critics feel that there are essentially two different movies (with two different genres) wrapped up in one.
At the moment, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom sports a mediocre 54 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, which makes it slightly better than Jurassic Park III (50%) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (53%) but worse than Jurassic World (71%) and Jurassic Park (92%). Sure, it's not an outright critical failure, and there are plenty of critics who thoroughly enjoyed Fallen Kingdom, but that doesn't disregard the fact that there are also a few film critics who've openly berated the sequel online. Here are some of the most brutal reviews for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:
In his very brief appearance in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm argues that mankind is on the verge of bringing about its own extinction through the reckless use of genetic engineering. Deliberately or not, the film appropriates a similarly jaundiced view of humanity. 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 — and I wrote a whole piece ranking the dumb characters in the first Jurassic World. - Screen Crush
The major problem with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” — the fifth installment in this dinosaur series, and the second of a prospective trilogy — is that the makers treat the action and suspense sequences in the way most of us go to the dentist. - The Wrap
I was one of the few naysayers when the franchise was rebooted with “Jurassic World,” yet even with the bar set lower for expectations on this one, I found it “Transformers” boring, a summer movie that however much it earns, fails to justify its existence. At least there’s Goldblum’s Dr. Malcolm there to speak for those of us who think these movies smell to high heavens. “When…will we learn? When?” - Rogers Movie Nation
The new Jurassic World is a messy menagerie of dino-related quirks and twists, a boisterous but muddled franchise-iteration which reshuffles all the old constituent plot points. But, infuriatingly, we don’t get much of that legendary Jurassic hero and style-guru of the moment – Jeff Goldblum. ...There are some reasonably entertaining scenes and set pieces, but the whole concept feels tired and contrived, and crucially the dinosaurs themselves are starting to look samey, without inspiring much of the awe or terror they used to. It could be that a meteor of tedium is heading towards these CGI creatures, despatching them to extinction. - Guardian (UK)
The appeal of dinosaurs is their enormity, which the “Jurassic Park” film franchise understands. Watching these prehistoric beasts crush cars underfoot like Coke cans has been a summertime thrill since Steven Spielberg’s first installment in 1993. But by the fifth entry into the franchise, they can’t get any bigger. The 2015 revival “Jurassic World” already achieved that goal, by introducing the fictional cross-species hybrid Indominus rex. Instead, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” finds another way to grow: by making its plot much, much bulkier. In doing so, it commits the worst possible sin: It makes dinosaurs boring. - The Washington Post
I’ve never thought more about Darwin’s “Survival of the Fittest” theory than I have during director J.A. Bayona’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingom. We’ve always had to swallow numerous failings and foibles of this franchise’s ‘heroes,’ but the new film pushes audience tolerance over the edge. This sequel to the widely (and unfairly) maligned Jurassic World takes what goodwill we had, douses it in kerosene, lights a match, and laughs as the flames burn higher and higher. It gets off on the wrong foot and limps all the way to the finish line. - Fresh Fiction
A once-dormant entity is resurrected and vulgarly mutated to fit the irresponsible demands of an entire population in the name of capitalist greed–this is not only the core narrative throughline of the newly-resuscitated Jurassic Park franchise, but also the primary goal of the executives at Universal Pictures. In Fallen Kingdom, we literally see dollar signs light up across the eyes of a megalomaniacal business tycoon (i.e. Universal) as his new technologically advanced breed of dinosaurs (i.e. this new iteration of the franchise) sell for millions to thrill-seeking bidders (i.e. the audience). One would think these parallels are obvious enough to be intentional, yet the new batch of Jurassic films seem to be completely bereft of a much-needed sense of self-awareness. - The Film Stage
We all know that dinosaurs are extinct. Too bad we can’t say the same for the new “Jurassic World” movie franchise. The original “Jurassic Park” was a technological marvel. The “Jurassic World” reboot of the series was a thrill ride that poked fun at corporate greed and the misplaced mindset that bigger is better. Now we have “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” which, as it turns out, is a very bad animal-rights, save-the-dinosaur allegory. - Reel Bob
Bottom line: there are some critics who like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and some that don't, and then there are the aforementioned critics who outright detest the new installment, regardless of its occasional redeemable scenes. To them, the sequel represents yet another misstep for the franchise, which won't conclude its burgeoning story arc until Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World 3 hits theaters in 2021. With the original writer-director returning for the third installment, it's clear that the threequel won't be taking the franchise in a new direction.
Given that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is already a hit overseas, it stands to reason that the sequel will perform just as well domestically, though it's unclear if it will be as successful as the first Jurassic World was (which set all kinds of box office records when it hit theaters), considering that that movie was the first Jurassic movie to release in 14 years (at the time). Of course, only time will tell on that front, but it certainly seems that not everyone is on board with the new sequel.