The filmmakers responsible for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom have stuck with a tried and tested formula. It makes money, so why fiddle too much with it? Two of its co-writers, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly are back as scriptwriters for this one. Connolly also directed Jurassic World three years ago, but this sequel is helmed by JA Bayona (A Monster Calls). Also returning are the two stars, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, who enjoy an easy-going chemistry. So, you have adventure, action, scares and some corny moments.
It’s been four years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, the park’s former operations manager Claire Dearing (Howard) and raptor trainer Owen Grady (Pratt) mount a campaign to try to rescue the remaining dinosaurs as they once again face extinction. Owen is driven to find Velociraptor Blue, who’s still missing in the wild. Claire has developed respect for these creatures, and she now makes saving them her mission. After arriving on the unstable island as lava starts raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.
This instalment also features James Cromwell (Babe) as Benjamin Lockwood, a wealthy entrepreneur who was Dr John Hammond’s partner in creating Jurassic Park. Isabella Sermon makes her debut as Lockwood’s granddaughter, Maisie, a brave and optimistic 10-year-old. Rafe Spall (Prometheus) is cast as Eli Mills, Lockwood’s right-hand man. He recruits Claire and Owen to transport the dinosaurs to a private reserve.
Of course, there has to be a villain – but this one is pretty lame and shallow.
Let’s face it though, our interest in dinosaurs will never wane … and if you can get them running and fighting, kids (and many adults) will lap it up. Hardly any originality springs onto the screen (except Lockwood’s mansion), but Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is big and showy.
Once again Howard comes across as thoroughly likeable. Surprise, surprise… he-man Pratt – channelling his best Indiana Jones – saves the day more than once. To me the weakest link was the young tech guy Franklin Webb (Justice Smith), a hacker in Claire’s Dinosaur Protection Group. He turned in a decidedly wooden performance. Conversely, Daniella Pineda impresses as Claire’s other DPG colleague, paleo-veterinarian Dr Zia Rodriguez.
In summary, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is good old-fashioned popcorn entertainment with modern visual effects thrown in for good measure.
Director: AJ Bayona
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell
Release Date: 21 June 2018
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television