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Movie Review: Fallen Kingdom reigns in a new Jurassic World

JurassicWorldFallenKingdompic1 | Photo: Universal Pictures
JurassicWorldFallenKingdompic1 | Photo: Universal Pictures

Dinosaurs and mad scientists rule in this summer’s biggest showstopper. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is full of huge components, ranging from giant reptiles and sets to giant loopholes. And however disjointed, the movie is oddly satisfying.

The crude mix of organic and inorganic elements differentiate this from the classic sci-fi adventure Jurassic Park. But unlike other boring sequels that carbon copy the original, this one is unquestionably unique.

If you want summer escapism with generic action and cool dinosaurs, you’ll have a blast watching Fallen Kingdom. If you can stand the endless, impossible encounters with terrorizing velociraptors, that means you’re among the dedicated audience that’s seen all the previous dino-flicks from Universal pictures.

There are motifs and elements of the classic films, but the plot structure and style is radically different. This new instalment’s darker feel and themes are definitely contemporary. But it’s also more brooding and obnoxious, and that makes the movie less fun.

The story continues in an alternate present day, three years after the fallout of the accident in 2015’s Jurassic World. When an volcano eruption threatens the extinction of the remaining dinosaurs, former staff Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) return to save the animals for a double-dealing boss.

Director J.A. Bayona knows how to make certain scenes exciting and suspenseful. Deceptively easy details like dinosaur chase scenes or new character reveals are shot with delicacy and creativity.

 Photo: Universal Pictures
Photo: Universal Pictures

Small details like flashes in the lighting and creative camera movement make now-familiar shots in the blockbuster Jurassic franchise feel re-energized. But these short moments of beauty or genuine thrills are short-lived and scattered. The most frustrating thing about watching Fallen Kingdom is its inconsistency.

Most of the film is short moments of a truly entertaining spectacle across an otherwise boring and ordinary movie. The story is overlong and narrowly focused, so it feels sporadic and less grand. (More than half the film is confined to an elaborate mansion; the better scenes are in the larger, exotic locales.)

Nothing is ever so uninteresting or silly that it ruins the rest of the movie. In that same regard, the implausibility of volcano flumes and dinosaur attacks permeate the story. That shallow feeling doesn’t go away - especially in the second, weaker half of the story.

Some of these complaints may sound familiar to Jurassic Park: The Lost World. That’s because they both feel like sequel movies. Also like that 1997 sequel, Fallen Kingdom has some great cameos, including franchise favourites Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong.

Overall, it’s a beautiful, exciting, and only-a-but-too-grisly epic that will mystify and delight its target audience. It has heart and danger in the best moments, and it captures the spirit of what make summer blockbusters great.

That doesn’t meant the final product is great itself. But the fallen kingdom could have crashed much worse. And this Jurassic World is entertaining enough.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

2 1/2 out of 4 stars

14A, 2hrs 8mins. Science Fiction Thriller Epic.

Directed by J.A. Bayona.

Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Rafe Spall, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith and Isabella Sermon.

Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.