Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, with Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell, BD Wong. Directed by JA Bayona.
THE latest in the Jurassic franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is pure CGI escapism with a lesson about the illicit trade in endangered species thrown in.
Just like the others, there has to be a great white hunter who turns out to be an arrogant, capricious jerk. And a greedy corporate type who wants to genetically engineer extinct species. Of course, we know they are going to get their comeuppance in the jaws of some nasty predator.
Following a few years after the events in Jurassic World, when a multimillion dollar dinosaur theme park on the island of Isla Nublar was overrun by rampaging beasts, the dinosaurs that have the run of the island are under threat of extinction all over again because of a volcano that is about to erupt.
Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) heads a campaign trying to raise political support and funding to save the dinosaurs.
Help comes in the form of Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the partner of dinosaur-cloning pioneer John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) from the original movies.
Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), meanwhile, is content with the quiet life, building a rural cabin. That is, until Claire shows up and appeals to him to help her save the dinosaurs, particularly because of his uncanny relationship the last surviving velociraptor he called Blue. He reluctantly agrees.
The only familiar face from the original series is Jeff Goldblum, as the cynical chaos theorist Ian Malcolm, who appears testifying before a senate committee and advises that the dinosaurs be allowed to go extinct. He’s right of course, but for the sake of the story, that does not happen.
The plan is a Noah’s Ark-like expedition to save as many species as they can, but you know it’s going to go awry. A villainous counterplan unfolds and the intrepid band of heroes has to avoid being eaten by the predators they’re trying to save, make an escape and somehow foil the assortment of mercenaries, mad scientists and greedy animal merchants.
None of the Jurassic movies have taken themselves too seriously, and it’s a relief to be able to laugh at the baddies getting their just desserts as well as smile at the nods given to the first movie, Jurassic Park, like looking at dinosaurs reflected in a rearview mirror, and a child’s narrow escape using a dumbwaiter elevator.
It’s good entertainment for the family.