Do you ever get a sense of déjà vu when watching a movie? Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is more than déjà vu; it is essentially the same movie as Jurassic World. Substitute a character and setting and Jurassic World becomes Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The latest dinosaur pic might be the most unoriginal film I have seen in a while. Unfortunately, as expected, the trailers and TV commercials gave away every last plot point to Fallen Kingdom minus one that will undoubtedly be a central point of the trilogy’s conclusion. While Fallen Kingdom is enjoyable to an extent, it would have been nice to not know the entire plot going in.

Thanks to some of the worst marketing of the year, Fallen Kingdom is highly predictable and features minimal surprises. Nothing seems new about this film, except for one plot point that is dropped a little after the half way point and is never fully discussed. For the sake of not spoiling the one thing the marketing didn’t show, I won’t say what this moment is. However, if you have seen the film, you should know what I am talking about. The new parts of Fallen Kingdom are the characters, some settings, the latest genetically engineered dinosaur, and the horrific themes that are not appropriate for children.

The film introduces some troubling themes to the Jurassic franchise that certainly didn’t feel necessary. Animal abuse, cruelty, and trafficking, child abuse, and stone cold murder plague the film. Fallen Kingdom also plays with your emotions by showing graphic images of dinosaurs being killed by each other, that lovely volcano that was never mentioned until it was about to explode, and drowning. It’s actually kind of awful to watch the CGI dinosaurs go through so much in just the first half hour or so, but it gets worse as the film progresses. If you thought the characters were unjust and awful in Jurassic World, then you probably won’t be able to deal with the latest batch of terrible human beings in Fallen Kingdom.

The script is pretty much the same thing other than those few minor changes. In the three years since the Jurassic World theme park was destroyed by the Indominus Rex, the downright stupid characters still haven’t learned the dangers of dinosaurs. There’s still a group that wants to militarize the animals, and yes, Dr. Wu (BD Wong) is still plugging away and creating even deadlier dinosaurs! Sound familiar yet? These people don’t seem to ever learn their lesson and clearly don’t know the franchise’s tagline: “Life finds a way.” Can you guess what happens next?

The real tragedy of Fallen Kingdom is the underuse of former franchise star Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm. He seems to be one of two people who actually have a brain in this franchise and realizes the true danger of what has been done. His speech about letting the dinosaurs die off instead of saving them bookends the film in a scene that was obviously cut in two. Fallen Kingdom only brings back three characters from Jurassic World, and the rest appear to never have existed. Along with Wu, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) return and do the exact same things they did in the last film. At least Owen has the same mindset as Malcolm in this one.

Pratt and Howard’s roles are exactly the same: Pratt does all the work by himself as Howard stands around looking uninterested. Claire has an unrealistic character change in Fallen Kingdom by being the head of a dinosaur protection group. It doesn’t make sense that the very uptight businesswoman, who had never interacted with a dinosaur and didn’t consider them real animals until a very bad day in Jurassic World, is now the world’s top preacher for saving the creatures. But, she does wear a drastically more functional outfit this time around! Claire and Owen’s lackeys, Zia (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin (Justice Smith), are wasteful characters that unfortunately only exist to make the film more diverse. Zia and Franklin are useless characters to fill up space on the screen. Rafe Spall’s evil Eli Mills was at least somewhat interesting.

The CGI dinosaurs are easily the best part of the film. All of your favorites make an appearance at some point, including Jurassic World’s standout Mosasaurus. I really liked Fallen Kingdom’s new Indoraptor and thought it was a big improvement on the Indominus Rex. The Indoraptor’s abilities are reminiscent of the dinosaurs in the original trilogy. The animals keep the film enjoyable, but the miserable script and predictably bring Fallen Kingdom down a few notches. Without the spoilers, the film could have been good. Instead, it’s decent at best.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia