Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the theme park disaster on Isla Nublar. Now the remaining dinos are facing extinction once again as the island’s volcano erupts and is about to take the whole place down. Consequently, there’s a ‘Dinosaur Protection Group’ and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is doing what she can for what seems like a lost cause as the Government has refused to help. However, when she is contacted by Benjamin Lockwood, the partner in creating the dinosaur-cloning technology many years before, things start to look up.
At the vast Lockwood estate, she meets Eli, a schmoozy young gun who explains that they want to rescue the dinos and put them in a sanctuary free from human intervention – just one problem – they need help capturing ‘Blue’, the last Velociraptor. Remember Blue from Jurassic World? She was reared by Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and was pretty smart with following instructions. So, they need Owen’s help and it’s up to Claire to get him onboard. Of course, Owen is in, but upon their return to the island that seems to have already hit the self-destruct button, the real motivation to the dinosaur ark plan starts to be revealed. What unfolds is a multifaceted dino extravaganza that’s entertaining with the right amount of jumpy, creepy, beasts-in-the-shadows moments and classic horror genre tricks to keep the momentum going.
After a fun start that perfectly sets up this Jurassic World sequel, we go back to reality to see our human screen heroes. Unfortunately, the good guys don’t grow any new layers of characterisation, but at least Claire is wearing flat shoes this time! The bad guys do get a bit more time to shine in their glimmering-evil-plan moments but it’s the dinosaurs that dominate in both screen time and often in personality too.
Pratt and Howard are effective in moving the story along and Pratt’s Owen is the consistent and necessary superman of the piece. The intro of some new sidekicks – a feisty paleo vet, Zia (Daniella Pineda), and nervous tech geek Franklin (Justice Smith), adds only a sprinkle of the much-needed dialogue and banter that would make this a more well-rounded movie. Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood’s granddaughter, adds bright-eyed innocence and raw emotion to the piece and she does a great job. Toby Jones and Rafe Spall are fun in their more villainous personas and create the perfect panto atmos needed for us to root for the good guys.
Director J. A. Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible) knows how to play with the monster movie genre and does some great work here with beasts emerging from the darkness or using flashes of light to reveal a hungry dinosaur about to get his din-dins. The action is fast paced and from the T-Rex to the Pterodactyls, the effects are perfectly executed and big blockbustery.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom might lack the script or one-liners to bring this franchise to the heights of the original, but the movie more than satisfies with a fun dino house of horrors.
Out in cinemas 21st June.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.