A film of two halves. The first half of the film is an awesome rollercoaster of dinosaurs and molten lava; delivering arguably JP sequel experience to date. The exploding island premise was always a bit of an eye roller, but once you buy into it, its incredible. The volcano effects and cinematography are breathtaking, and I thought the tone was spot on. Not throwaway like its predecessor. And there's an extremely sad moment to close that segment of the film. The opening scene is also fantastic. Shame the trailer ruins some of it.
The second half left me frustrated and disappointed. We spend most of our time at an absurdly huge (and obviously CGI'd) mansion with a moustache twirling villain and his newly-minted 'Indoraptor'. That creature is pretty effective however and a fearsome addition. This is to the Velociraptor what the Indominus was to the T-Rex. There is a fairly interesting subplot re a little girl, but doesn't go anywhere beyond the reveal.
Characters: Chris Pratt owns the role. If anything he's even better here than in the first. Bryce is also much better now she's ditched the stuck up twit persona (and the heels). New additions mostly perfunctory. 'Sexy smart girl with attitude' is cool (or irritating- haven't decided). The little girl is excellent. Corporate douchebag and military bastard are absurdly one dimensional villains and only there to get their comeuppance.
JW:FK feels like a medley of Jurassic tropes from the other films. There's the 'ill-advised expedition' with smart alec civilians butting heads with a snarly military squad. There's the rich, reclusive benefactor. The kid character. The computer hacker. We've seen it all before, its just been reshuffled.
For better or worse, the franchise is now a series of monster films. No more or less substantial than Kong or Godzilla. There is little in the way of thoughtful sci-fi (although there is some semblance of a moral dilemma that's explored) so the magic of the first film is pretty much fossilised in 1993. These are comic book films now, much like Fast & The Furious franchise has become.
The trailers for this film are also a disgrace. They give away so many money shots and climatic moments that it almost ruins the film. Simultaneously, they also give glimpses of things that remain just that: glimpses.
The more I think about it the more disappointed I am in the direction they took. Not so much the story, but the vibe of the film. It became a shallow, box-ticking exercise with human and dinosaur chess pieces precision engineered to play out the story exactly as they wanted it to play out. Each one disappears off screen simply to show up at just the right moment; and happenstance and dumb luck win out over logic.
It takes away the organic, chaotic nature of the concept, that drove the original film.
I still think however that the opening scene and all the Island stuff was great. Great tone, great sense of dual-threat from the molten lava fields, plus some emotional weight. The epilogue also promises better things in a Rise of the Planet Apes kind of way. Here's hoping.