Director: J. A. Bayona
Runtime: 128 Minutes
Blue is back, and surprisingly so is Jeff Goldblum in the latest instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up three years after the events of the previous film, although without the happy ending one might have expected. Isla Nublar, the location used in both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World is under threat from an active volcano, placing the dinosaurs at risk of a second extinction. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the former operations manager of the theme park, is now the face of a charity, advocating for the protection and salvation of dinosaurs on the island. The government declines to support her cause, so she takes matters into her own hands when she is approached by Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and his aid Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), who are prepared to finance an illegal venture to save the species. Enlisting the help of dinosaur trainer and former flame Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), they embark on a mission back to the island to save as many species as possible—including Owen’s trained raptor, Blue. However, upon reaching the island, they find out too late that all is not as it appears with their financiers.
Colin Trevorrow steps out of the director’s chair, co-writing the film this time and making way for director J. A. Bayona. Bayona is best known for his haunting work on horror flicks The Orphanage and A Monster Calls; this horror pedigree translates over to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, resulting in a darker and scarier film than its predecessors. In many instances, the film resembles more of a thriller, directly in opposition to the action-adventure nature of the series. However, one thing that hasn’t changed is that the dinosaurs are again the stars of the film, with the CGI effects showcasing the magnificence of these larger-than-life beasts.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard hit all the right notes, showcasing the undeniable chemistry between the two leads. Unfortunately, the good performances stop there, as the rest of the human characters feel like two-dimensional caricatures only there to help move the plot along. The villains felt especially cartoonish and may as well have been dressed in burglar’s outfits holding bags of money, as was the subtlety of their motives. The dinosaurs themselves seemed more fleshed out and interesting, with each creature appearing to have its own unique personality.
Based on the events in the movie, it seems like Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will be the last film to feature Isla Nublar, or any island for that matter, and this is a welcome breath of fresh air as the island setting has started to become a little stale. While this film does offer cinema-goers something new, it again shows that many of the characters from the previous films have not learned their lesson, as once again a genetically engineered dinosaur runs rampant on its creators. It is my hope that any future films in the franchise steer clear of relying on a mixed-up mega-dinosaur and come up with something a little more creative.
While the film has its faults, it redeems itself with some thrilling action sequences and great CGI animation. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is probably one of the weaker films in the Jurassic Park series, but it is still sure to be a hit with fans for utilising the nostalgic elements of the ‘OG’ films and building more of a human connection with the film’s dinosaurs.