J.A. Bayona (director)
2h 8min (length)
08 June 2018 (released)
08 June 2018
The decision to reboot the Jurassic Park franchise with 2015’s Jurassic World has proved a profitable one, as the movie won over a new generation of dinosaur lovers and dominated at the box office.
Inevitably, its success has spawned a sequel and so the prehistoric beasts are back for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
The new film begins three years after the climax of its predecessor with people around the world debating the fallout from the disaster that destroyed the dinosaur-filled theme park. Tyrannosaurus Rex and his chums have been left to roam the ruins - but are set to be made extinct again by a volcanic eruption that will destroy their home, Isla Nublar.
The dinosaurs’ fate has prompted former Jurassic World executive Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) to lead a campaign to save them. Having ditched her uptight corporate demeanour from the first movie, she leads Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) in a team of activists lobbying the U.S. government to fund a rescue mission.
After lawmakers take the advice of Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and leave the dinosaurs to die out once again, Claire takes a call from Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) the right hand man of Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) - a plutocrat who was a partner of Jurassic Park’s founder John Hammond. Via Mills, Lockwood offers to fund an exhibition to save the animals on the condition she bring along her ex, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) - as his rapport with the only surviving velociraptor, Blue, means he is the only one who can track and capture her.
As has been heavily trailed, the volcanic eruption on the island is featured in a spectacular, special effects laden opening act, but the rest of the film takes place largely in close quarters, as Claire, Owen, Zia and Franklin discover Mills’ intentions in sending them to the island may not be entirely altruistic. Ditching the epic landscapes and huge set-pieces for subtler interior scenes is a brave decision from director J.A. Bayona - but one that largely works.
Although the first Jurassic World film was a roaring success, it never quite recaptured the magic of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original for a very simple reason - it was impossible to recreate the thrilling moment where we first saw special effects resurrect the dinosaurs. The new film doesn’t try to outdo past instalments and is the better for it, as the focus is on the human drama and relationships. That’s not to say there are not plenty of thrilling danger-filled scenes, but Bayona has largely taken his lead from the original Jurassic Park’s famous velociraptor scenes rather than its T. Rex ones.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is not without flaws. The overextravagant nature of some of the villains means that at times one almost expects James Bond to arrive and corral a few dinosaurs. Its central theme of the dangers and duties which stem from the human transformation of the natural world - which mirrors the real-world debate on climate change - is also under-explored, and sadly, we only get a small taste of Dr. Ian Malcolm’s doom laden sermonising.
But on the whole, Bayona and his cast keep things simple and entertaining, as Pratt and Dallas Howard’s chemistry is still strong, while Smith and Pineda are worthy new additions to the franchise. There’s no need to overcomplicate a Jurassic Park/World film - seeing dinosaurs run amok is thrilling enough.