I will never forget the first time I saw the film “Jurassic Park” in 1993 at a theater in Asheville, NC. I had read the novel the movie was based on, so I was excited to see how filmmakers would translate the thrilling novel to the big screen. Even though many parts of the book were omitted from the movie, I was thrilled with the results I witnessed. The dinosaurs were amazing, and the film was filled with excitement and awe. I certainly hope you have been able to see the original film on the big screen, if not you have the opportunity to see the latest dinosaur adventure in the new film “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, a direct sequel to the 2015 release “Jurassic World.”
The new film is the second in a planned trilogy of “Jurassic World” stories, and this film takes us back to the fictional island of Isla Nublar, which was abandoned at the end of “JW”. The character of Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) has created a Dinosaur Protection Group to save the animals from the impending volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar. When the U.S. Senate rules against their rescue, Claire is contacted by John Hammonds’s (one of the founders of the original park) former partner Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) who has a plan to rescue the dinosaurs. Lockwood and his aide Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) have a plan to relocate the dinosaurs to a new island sanctuary.
Mills is concerned about catching Blue, the last living Velociraptor, and convinces Claire she must get help from Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), the guy who trained and raised Blue and her fellow Velocirpators, to help catch her. Claire and Owen head to the island with the rescue group, only to find a very angry volcano that appears only minutes from exploding and destroying the island and the dinosaur population unless they work fast. Once the mercenaries begin capturing the dinosaurs, and eventually Blue, Owen and Claire, along with their helper IT tech Justice Smith (Franklin Webb), discover all is not going as they planned. Eventually, the group, along with the dinosaurs make it to the Lockwood estate where they are caged.
I will not spoil why they are caged, but at this point the film basically changes into a horror film. The film also cranks up the intensity once the dinosaurs are at their new home, and the dinosaurs, as usual with these films, are wreaking havoc and using the nearest human for a quick lunch. The story also features a kid, Masie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the granddaughter of Benjamin, so Claire and Owen will have a child to protect from the dinosaurs. After all, these films always need a screaming juvenile for good measure. The film also features a brand new “created” dinosaur, that is certainly the most fierce and smart of the dinosaurs featured in these films. Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong), as seen in “JW” and “JP” is responsible for the new creature, and is his usual villainous self. Director J.A. Bayona (“The Orphanage”) keeps the thrills and chills coming, and even though the film runs 129 minutes, the fast pace of the story kept me enthralled.
The actors are all wonderful, with Pratt leading with his expected witty dialogue, and at times it feels like his character of Star-Lord from “Guardians of the Galaxy” is carried over to this film. Thankfully, Howard does not have to run in heels in this film as she did in the first “JW” effort, and has sensible shoes for running. Despite all the strong actors in this film, we all know the real stars are the dinosaurs, and they deliver on all levels. The CGI dinosaurs, some created via animatronics, improve with each film, and let’s confess we go to these movies to see humans run from dinosaurs. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” features all of the aforementioned running, along with screaming and dinosaur fights. Be sure to stay until the very end of the credits for a brief bonus scene. Dinosaurs still rule the Earth in the world of cinema. (Rated PG-13)
Not recommended for small children ****(out of 4)