The makers of Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom have missed an opportunity. Having filmed in the UK they overlooked the chance to film use our very own theme park of battling dinosaurs but then they were probably unable to obtain permission to film in the House of Lords. Instead the second in a rebooted trilogy in the franchise inevitably goes back to the island after the catastrophic destruction of the theme park and where the animals now run amok.
The world watches as the island is about to be torn apart by a volcano taking all the animals with it and fan favourite Dr Ian Malcolm played with his characteristic mannerisms by Jeff Goldblum who has been away from the series for the last two films addresses a senate committee as to why the animals should not be rescued. At the same time Clare Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is summoned by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) to assist in a privately funded rescue of 11 of the dinosaurs funded by the late John Hammond’s foundation that carried out the research that saw the animals created. Headed by an ailing James Cromwell his plan is to relocate the animals onto tier own island and let them live in pace and safety and to facilitate this she gets together with old flame the cocky animal behaviourist Owen Grady (Chris Pratt)to help save his beloved velociraptor, Blue, who is now the last of his kind.
With the constant rumbling of the volcano about explode in the background they round up several of the animals with a bunch of military grunts led by Ted Levine (who’s forever going to be the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs). It’s this first act which has some thrillingly tense set pieces which run almost back to back and it’s a shame that the film doesn’t spend more time there with both humans and animals fleeing from the erupting volcano.
Inevitably Claire and Owen find that the reason for the animal rescue as far as Spall is concerned is far from humanitarian as the animals are quickly whisked back to the foundation’s base, a huge multi storied mansion where Hammond’s business partner James Cromwell lives with his orphaned granddaughter. It’s Spall who’s at the capitalist centre of this being in league with Toby Jones as a bizarrely coiffuered auctioneer (a dig at Trump) because, yes, the theme from the last film of the animals being weaponized but being sold to the highest bidder all of whom seem to be ludicrously rich East European war lords and crime bosses. It’s a scene akin to those big game auctions seen in the States but here the animals are bought out in cages and it’s the latest genetic mutation , a DoYouThink ItsGoingToKillus or something sounding not too dissimilar created by the geneticist Dr Henry Wu (B D Wong) that gets them all into a bidding frenzy . What could possibly go wrong? It’ll be of no surprise that the animals get loose in the mansion and…. well you can guess what happens
Directed by J A Bayona ,whose previous film was A Monster Calls, he is ideally suited to this material and for a summer blockbuster his Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom episode is far darker than other entries in the franchise. He handles the set pieces well notably those in the first half of the film but there are some scenes which will be just too intense and frankly upsetting for younger children and a scene in a child’s bedroom, unlike the one in The Lost World, will leave very young children having nightmares for weeks. It’s this dark emphasis which makes Jurassic World Forbidden Kingdom, ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ of this new trilogy with an ominous ending that hints at the direction of the next film. It’s the most interesting part of the film with another twist briefly mentioned which hints at the franchise taking an unexpected turn. However whereas ‘Empire’ was seen as the best in the Star Wars trilogy the same can’t be said for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. It’s competently made but here there’s more empathy for the dinosaurs who in themselves are victims of being created by man and now frustrated at their circumstance. As the last film duly stated, audiences want to see a new dinosaur which it did so impressively but here the new DNA monster mash up dinosaur is not anywhere near as impressive as its counterpart in Jurassic World. It’s humans who are really the baddies and in typical Hollywood tradition those baddies are British. The chemistry between Pratt and Howard is not as on point although their love story does move on a notch at a crucial point and at least Howard is not running around in high heels as she was in the last film.
The effects are as impressive as ever with the practical and CGI dinosaurs blending seamlessly and the film now has a post credit scene. There’s little new here that is as awesome as the last film and the climax is a little underwhelming but it’s where it hints that the next film will go that is most interesting. Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, like its theme park ride, is slick and entertaining but soon forgotten in the quest for the next thrill filled blockbuster.
Here’s the trailer…….