Film review: ‘JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM’, by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

After three Jurassic Park movies and one Jurassic World film we pretty much know what to expect: ravenous CGI dinosaurs chasing and chomping on humans. The fifth instalment in what is now a quarter century long franchise adds a couple of new wrinkles but mostly adheres to formula for an underwhelming movie experience.

In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom the dinosaur-infested island of Isla Nubar – the original setting for Jurassic Park – is facing destruction as an erupting volcano threatens to wipe out all the resident wildlife.  As debate rages about the morality of saving the dinosaurs or letting nature reclaim them, some typically nefarious characters commanded by corporate sleazebag Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) spirit away some of the beasties for sinister purposes. Trying to stop the dinosaur heist are Jurassic World heroes, kick ass animal behaviourist Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and dinosaur rights activist Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). They’re accompanied by youngster Maisie (Isabella Sermon), dinosaur vet Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and neurotic computer geek Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) who is convinced T-Rex is personally after him.

While this film, like most in the franchise, touches on tantalising issues such as destructive corporate greed, the dangers of genetic tampering and animal rights, it quickly shunts these aside in favour of monster porn.   There’s plenty of raptor rampages and people being turned into T-rex buffets and this film is a more violent film than most in the series.  Fallen Kingdom features a couple of thrilling set pieces including a mass dinosaur stampede as they attempt to flee the doomed volcanic island but these can’t overcome a feeling that we’ve seen all this before.  The film includes the unusual setting of a sprawling English manor house for much of the action but this aesthetic change doesn’t do much to quell the sense of sameness.

Humans are essentially ciphers (as well as lunch) in these sorts of films but Pratt brings enough of his likeable goofy swagger to the role of Owen Grady while Bryce Dallas Howard manages to be one of the few characters in the Jurassic universe to display convincing emotional depth.

The dinosaur effects are as realistic as in any Jurassic film although they still haven’t quite nailed creature movement as some still swish around as if they’re underwater. Also, they’re not presented in a way that inspires the awe the effects in the magnificent original Jurassic Park achieved.

A few slight changes aside this is business as usual for the Jurassic film universe and there’s an undeniable sense that filmmakers are flogging a near extinct horse.

Nick’s rating: ***

Genre: Science fiction/ action.

Classification: M.

Director(s): J. A. Bayona.

Release date: 14th June 2018.

Running time: 128 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show

 

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