jurassic world: fallen kingdom
DIRECTOR: j.a. bayona (the impossible, a monster calls)
STARRING: chris pratt, bryce dallas howard, justice smith, and Daniella Pineda
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen and Claire return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that's about to erupt. They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinosaurs while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet.
When a new instalment of a franchise as beloved as Jurassic roars into the cinema, you find yourself nervously waiting with baited breath hoping that if it's not better than the last film, that it's just as good.
I'm glad that I'm the bearer of very good news. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is good, so good in fact it might just be the best film in the franchise since Jurassic Park.
On Isla Nublar the very existence of the remaining dinosaurs are being threatened by the impending eruption of a volcano. Claire's (Dallas Howard) dinosaur protection agency lobbies the government to no avail: politicians will not intervene to save the dinosaurs. Claire is then summoned to a mysterious house (we will leave it a mystery, no spoilers remember?) where she is tasked with heading to Isla Nublar to mount a rescue to save the dinosaurs. But Blue, the velociraptor and the last of her kind, can only be rescued by someone she trusts: Owen (Pratt). Claire convinces Owen to head to the island and rescue Blue and the rest of the dinosaurs before it's too late.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom not only grips your attention but has you gripping your armrest from the opening sequence until the credits roll. This isn't just down to the dinosaurs ripping off limbs and smashing through everything in their path, but it's the story that holds it all together.
Now like I said before there will be no spoilers but I don't think I'm giving away anything by stating that this wouldn't be a Jurassic movie without more going on behind the scenes. There are shady characters setting up a myriad of shady deals, with consequences that reach far beyond the running time of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
These dodgy backroom deals and the dark history of one particular character in the film, add a depth to Fallen Kingdom's story that hasn't really been in the franchise since at least the first two outings.
Also contained within its story, Fallen Kingdom has a timely and valuable message about animal exploitation and humanity's responsibility to care for the endangered species on our little blue planet. Who thought your heart would break at the sight of a brachiosaurus doomed to die? Fallen Kingdom feels like the Jurassic franchise has grown up a little bit.
Chris Pratt. One of the biggest stars in Hollywood, and in Fallen Kingdom, we see every reason why. Self deprecating, hilarious, an action hero, and yet you feel someone you could sit down and have a beer with, Pratt is brilliant as Owen. Bryce Dallas Howard is equally as good as Claire, not willing to sit back and let Owen have all the fun or save the day on his own, Claire gets more than her share of the action. It's also great that they didn't have her running around in high heels like they did in Jurassic World.
The chemistry and tension between Owen and Claire is palpable, and their reunion in the bar at the beginning of the movie brings some belly laughs. New characters Franklin (Justice Smith) and Zia (Daniella Pineda) fit into the Jurassic world like Dr. Alan Grant at a palaeontology convention, with sass and spark to spare. Rafe Spall (his Dad is Timothy Spall aka Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter) and Toby Jones are particularly slimy with James Cromwell and debut child actor Isabella Sermon ...well that, again, would be a spoiler - sorry.
The CGI on the Jurassic movies just keeps getting better and better, and you can't tell the difference when the film makers blend it with practical puppetry. I always loved dinos as a kid and seeing the vast variety of dinosaurs in this film close up and not just in the distance made my heart sing.
You can't write a review of a Jurassic film without talking about the action, and we have it in buckets with the escape from the lava spewing volcano not only one of the best in the film but in the whole franchise. There are also some grip-the-edge-of-your seat scary moments too as the ferocious, untameable power of the dinosaurs is unleashed.
Some movies have little moments. Perhaps it's an epic scene, nostalgia, a feeling of a shared experience, or a part of the story that speaks to you. Theres a scene in Fallen Kingdom where Owen looks up at a T-Rex as it roars over its prey and John William's Jurassic theme music soars through the cinema. Chills ran down my spine and there's no other way to describe it other than I just felt really, really happy. I love those moments. I guess that's one of the reasons why we go to the movies.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has the scares, the adventure, and all the dino action you can shake a stick at. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the best film in the franchise since Jurassic Park.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD, and digital from all good disc and digital retailers.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is absolutely chock a block with extras. If you're a Jurassic Park/World fan then you just have to get Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom of Blu-ray to truly appreciate all the bonus features it has to offer.
There are Chris Pratt's Jurassic Journals, On Set with Chris and Bryce, exploration of new creates and characters, indepth looks into the various action set pieces, and a feaurette on the return of Ian Malcolm - of course.
By far my favourite featurette was The Kingdom Evolves which had interviews with Spielberg and the director of JW: Fallen Kingdom J A Bayona. This featurette explores the legacy of the previous four films in the franchise and everything that the new film adds to the franchise both in the respect and homage it pays to what has come before and everything new it brings.
Overall some really great features, over an hour in fact. If I had one gripe it would be that instead of having a big, long in depth 'making of' feature, which I prefer, these days they seem to split them up into little bite size chunks. Maybe I'm a bit of an old dinosaur. I know. A terrible pun.
Blu-ray Bonus Features: