Opening this week

‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ film review: Bland humans and not enough dinosaurs

JA Bayona directs the sequel to the 2015 hit ‘Jurassic World’.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the fifth film in the Jurassic Park franchise and the sequel to Jurassic World (2015) has its moments. Director JA Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible) creates a tense atmosphere in the fights between human and dinosaur only at the the tail end of the 128-minute movie. Cinematographer Oscar Faura efficiently conveys scale and splendour through imagery, such as a tiny plane flying by gigantic mountains. The movie frequently, if not always successfully, invokes the iconic scene from Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original, Jurassic Park, in which the characters first encounter the dinosaurs and are awestruck.

The biggest failings of the sequel, co-written by Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, are that the human characters never truly become interesting and there aren’t enough dinosaurs. For large portions of the movie, the perfect predators are reduced to whimpering animals that would not be out of place in a petting zoo.

The movie is set three years after the events of the 2015 film, which ended with dinosaur trainer Owen (Chris Pratt) and theme park manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) fleeing the island Isla Nublar after an artificially created dinosaur went on the rampage. Owen and Claire are called back to the island by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), who is shepherding the surviving dinosaurs to a sanctuary owned by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) before a volcano erupts. Lockwood, however, has other plans for the creatures.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018).

Many of the characters seem to have been created to fit an audience-friendly demographic chart. There’s a tattooed, tough-talking hipster (Daniella Pineda), a constantly frightened geek hacker (Justice Smith) and a young adventurous girl (Isabella Sermon) who uncovers mystery after mystery. These underwritten characters are never fleshed out, and the actors never do them justice either. The only time any of the human interactions become interesting are when veterans such as Toby Jones and Jeff Goldblum appear on the screen.

The film does have a few charming moments and decent action scenes, and all of them involve dinosaurs. But whenever any energy builds up, the film falls into its tired old patterns, resorting to either safety or danger at the last minute. The characters are either completely safe when a dinosaur suddenly pops up, or they are in extreme peril when something miraculous brings them out of harm’s way.

The first film in the series, Jurassic Park, was lean and taut, had little exposition and just the right amount of back story. As the franchise progressed, the writers fleshed out certain elements that did not actually need to be explained or repeated the original theme of whether humans should play god and clone prehistoric creatures. The main thrill of the movies, however, isn’t the animal rights allegory embedded into the narrative. It is the spectacle of giant dinosaurs wreaking havoc on the screen, and Fallen Kingdom doesn’t have enough of these moments.

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.