Movie Review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

The sequel delivers more dinosaurs and action, but a thin plot

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Jurský svět: Zánik říše)
Directed by J. A. Bayona
With Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, B. D. Wong

The dinosaurs return just in time for summer. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom picks up a few years after the events of 2015's Jurassic World and is the second part of a new trilogy based on the previous Jurassic Park films from the 1993–2001.

The fictional Isla Nublar, where the theme park filled with genetically created dinosaurs was located, is about to be blown up by a volcano. It has been sitting idle since the tragic events of the previous film, and the dinosaurs have been running wild.

Some people want to rescue some of the dinosaurs, but as in all of these films there will be some complications.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are back from the previous film. Pratt plays Owen Grady, who is trying to put the past behind him. Bryce Dallas Howard plays Claire Dearing, who is a bit more gung-ho on saving the creatures.

Dearing is now involved with the Dinosaur Protection Group, which is lobbying to save the remaining dinosaurs. Two other people tag along from her group to the island when she is approached by the park's aging creator.

Pratt holds the film together with his disarming charm and humor, just as he does with the Guardians of the Galaxy films. Howard exudes sincerity.

Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) is the generic IT guy. His job is to get the park's systems back up and running. This mainly boils down to him turning things on and plugging things in. He is supposed to provide some comic relief by constantly being scared and asking about whether T-rex is still alive.

Pop star Rihanna had a very similar role in Ocean's 8, and managed to make a compelling character out of it. Smith never manages to be convincing that he knew more than simply hitting the reset button.

Also with the good guys is Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) as a paleoveterinarian. She is quite charismatic but her role is rather small, dealing mostly with an injured dinosaur and trying to sound concerned, and also being put in the role of the woman who needs to be rescued.

There are bad guys of course. Some paramilitary group is already on the island, and they all look a bit scary. Ted Levine, who played Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, plays Ken Wheatley, the head of the mercenaries.

One look at him, and the audience knows something is wrong. This isn't the rescue mission that Owen and Claire signed up for.

But that matters little, as the volcano is exploding and all hell is breaking loose. This all creates opportunities for CGI-filled scenes of stampeding dinosaurs and shooting rocks of lava. These are very well done, and keep the audience at attention.

Running parallel to the plot on the island is another story with an ailing Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), his accountant Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), Lockwood's granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon) and the housekeeper (Geraldine Chaplin).

The plotting here is rather generic, unfortunately. The twists are fairly predictable but they do set up more action scenes once the crew returns from the island.

Though, as in many films, much of the action at the end could have been avoided if people had simply followed basic safety protocols, especially in the design of the genetic research lab.

As a summer action film, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does produce more than its quota of action, with dinosaurs fighting dinosaurs, dinosaurs eating people, natural disasters and other explosive scenes.

The plot, though, too often is routine and unimaginative. But summer film audiences often don't want to be challenged with too much plot to try to unpack while the action unfolds on the screen.

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