Dinosaurs Return in Frighteningly Fun ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard & Rafe Spall
Directed by J.A. Bayona
Dinosaurs became extinct some 66 million years ago—just not in Hollywood.
Pop culture’s favorite prehistoric reptiles come rip-roaring back to life once again in this frighteningly fun fifth installment of the Jurassic Park movie series, the dino-mite franchise launched by director Steven Spielberg back in 1993.
Director J.A. Bayona reunites costars Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt from Jurassic World (2015) as the genetically engineered dinos on the isolated Pacific island of Isla Nublar face a cataclysmic extinction event. A heaving volcano is about to explode, killing off all the dinosaurs—unless they are somehow rescued.
Which is exactly what the dino park’s former manager, Claire (Howard), and animal behavior expert, Owen (Pratt), are asked to do—by the estate of Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the ailing silent partner of John Hammond, who created Jurassic Park.
The plan: Claire and Owen will join an expedition to evacuate the creatures, load them onto a boat and resettle them on a new island haven, where they can roam free, undisturbed by people or volcanoes.
So off they go, and so do we—and that’s just the setup. There’s action, explosions, double crosses, chases, races, dirty tricks, bad guys, a big surprise, and lots and lots of dinos!
Little dinos, big dinos, sad dinos, scary dinos, angry dinos, rampaging dinos, even a crying dino. If you come for the creatures, you’ll definitely leave with a paleo pallet-full.
And you’ll likely end up rooting for the reptiles—especially Blue, the hyper-intelligent, super-sensitive Velociraptor that Owen raised and trained from infancy in Jurassic World. As in a lot of monster movies, this one creates a huge amount of sympathy for its beleaguered beasties, the Stygimoloch and Triceratops and Pteranodon and Brachiosaurus and even the ferocious T. rex. After all, they never chose their fates—created, mutated and now chained, caged, carted, tased, sedated and shipped off.
The movie takes an even darker, more ominous turn once the dino boat hits the mainland, and it becomes clear that human greed can be as much of a threat as hot lava.
When a bad guy gets gobbled, you’ll want to clap or cheer.
There are plenty of candidates you hope might become dinosaur chum. Ted Levine (he plays Thomas Byrne on TV’s The Alienist—but everyone remembers him as serial killer Jame Gumb in The Silence of the Lambs) is a sleazy animal trafficker (boo!). Prolific British actor Toby Jones (Marvel fans will recognize him as Dr. Zola from the Captain America franchise) plays a rogue capitalist who wants to pocket a cool billion or two on black-market dinos (hiss!).
And watch out for Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), Benjamin Lockwood’s slick young associate. He spends a lot of time on hushed phone calls and slinking around in the lab, yelling at paleo-geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong).
Claire and Owen’s dino rescue squad is rounded out by spunky paleo vet Zia (Daniella Pineda, who plays Vanessa on TV’s The Detour, and she was Sophie on The Vampire Diaries and its spinoff, The Originals); and Franklin (Justice Smith, Ezekiel on TV’s The Get Down), a high-strung computer nerd who provides much of the comic relief.
Jeff Goldblum, who appeared in the original Jurassic Park, briefly reprises his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm, who sagely cautions—again—that man was never meant to monkey with nature.
But much of the plot hinges on young Maisie (Isabella Sermon, making her movie debut), Sherwood’s granddaughter, who becomes a key and a bridge to the story in more ways than one. Director Bayona loves putting kids in the thick of trouble and trauma, like he did in the horror thriller The Orphanage (2007), the true-story tsunami drama The Impossible (2012) and the nightmarish fairy tale A Monster Calls (2016). As the escalating action moves off dino island to Sherwood’s sprawling Gothic manor, the movie builds to a haunted-house-worthy finale—thunder and lightning and rain and a shadowy bedroom with Maisie cowering underneath her covers, her big bay window open and a huge dinosaur claw slowly, slowly, slowly creeping toward her trembling, terrified face.
“Do you remember the first time you saw a dinosaur?” Claire asks at one point. For most moviegoers, that’s a hard question to answer. Do we count Barney? Dino from The Flintstones? Godzilla? But one thing’s for sure: We haven’t seen the last. Fallen Kingdom ends with a setup for its sequel, and a coda promising an even wider, wilder Jurassic World out there, waiting—next summer.
Dinosaurs extinct? Don’t be roar-diculous!
In theaters June 22, 2018