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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 11, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Movie Review: Spectacular Sequel With An Ending That Opens Up Possibilities For More Sequels With Dinosaurs Now Roaming Freely

DINOS make big money. Hollywood knows this by now so it’s not surprising that the Jurassic franchise films continue to persist after it was first seen on the big screen in 1993, directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Michael Crichton, the rights to which were bought even before the book was published. It was such a big hit that two sequels later came in 1997 and 2001.

14 years later, it was given a reboot as “Jurassic World” in 2015 with new characters led by Chris Pratt as Owen and Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire, set in Isla Nublar, off Costa Rica, where the theme park with the cloned dinos is located. The theme park was reopened as Jurassic World. This was also a huge blockbuster, so we now have a new sequel, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, that brings back Chris and Bryce, directed by Spanish filmmaker J.A. Bayona, best known for “The Orphanage”, “The Impossible” and “A Monster Calls”.

This time, the dormant volcano in Isla Nublar has become active again and is about to blow up. The dinosaurs left in the island are threatened with extinction and Claire, the former operations manager of the failed park who has now become a dedicated dinosaur right activist, is tasked to rescue them, along with Owen who’s an expert on velociraptors.

Claire was asked to help the dinos by a very wealthy man, Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the former business partner of John Hammond, the industralist played by Richard Attenborough who created Jurassic Park in the very first movie. Lockwood now wants to set things right for the dinos that he helped create. He wants Claire to transfer as many dinos as possible to a new pristine island where they will be allowed to roam free, without tourists bothering them.

But just like in the previous Jurassic flicks, a greedy villain comes along to mess things up. This is Lockwood’s chief of staff Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), a conscienceless profiteer who is secretly running a nefarious business aiming to earn some big bucks by selling the saved dinos to unscrupulous businessmen who want to experiment on them, arms dealers who want to weaponize them and other dudes wo just want to hunt them for sport.

From the island that is now in flames, the action is then transferred to Lockwood’s cavernous mansion which is apparently enormous enough to hold that many dinosaurs, including a new villain dinosaur. In the first “Jurassic World”, the dino antagonist was called Indominus rex, a genetically modified version of the T-rex. In this new movie, the evil hybrid dino is called the Indoraptor. Just like his predecessor, he is soon on the loose and goes on rampage, eventually finding his nemesis in Owen’s friend, the intelligent velociraptor called Blue. Half of the fun really comes from the dinos chomping down on the bad guys.

The scenes showing the volcano’s eruption are spectacularly shot for the IMAX screen, where we
saw it. There’s a thrilling underwater sequence where Claire and her nerdy assistant, Franklin (Justice Smith), were trapped inside a sinking gyrosphere while the eruption escalates, the dinos going on a stampede and the volcano spewing lava all around them.

Director Bayona certainly knows how to bring the fear factor back with scenes of gothic glee, like the Indoraptor chasing a poor little girl to her bedroom, then through cramp corridors and rainswept rooftops. The introduction of the smart and curious girl, Maisie (Isabella Sermon), who is said to be Lockwood’s granddaughter but who turns out to have a secret identity, is a welcome element in the story.

This film also also developed the two lead characters beyond the usual archetypes they played before. Claire is now more sympathetic, with her character being introduced with a shot that starts with her shoes and then the camera goes up. It’ll be remembered the previous movie showed Claire running around during the climactic parts in high heels, so this time she’s wearing more sensible footwear. Owen’s brash and rough edges are also downplayed to make the impending romance between him and Claire more believable.

Chris and Bryce get adequate support from their sidekicks, Daniella Pineda as a paleo-veterinarian who helps Blue with a blood transfusion when he gets shot, Smith as the scaredy cat technician who helps them against the villains and Isabella Sermon as the precocious Maisie who can totally relate with the dinos. Also on hand is Jeff Goldblum as the scientist from the first movie, who delivers a lecture to a congressional committee on how technological advancement should be preceded by the ability to use them responsibly or it leads to chaos.

The movie ends with an act that opens up so many possibilities for the franchise, with the dinos now existing and roaming freely in various locations. It’s obviously intended for bigger sequels and we won’t be surprised if the Jurassic films would later be like the “Planet of the Apes” saga that is being milked for as long as the public will keep buying tickets to watch them.