Those tourist destinations — Jurassic Park, followed by Jurassic World — on Isla Nublar, just off of Costa Rica, are long gone, due to the fact that some of its attractions would rather have eaten the tourists than be seen by them. But now, three years after the demise of Jurassic World, it’s those attractions — the cute little ones and the hungry, toothy, vicious huge ones — that are endangered. A volcano has erupted and is threatening to return the island’s remaining inhabitants to extinction … unless the well-meaning folks at the Dinosaur Protection Group, run by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) can secure government funding to save the creatures.
“Get lost,” says Congress. “Hey! We can help,” says Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), who handles money matters at the Benjamin Lockwood Estate, and who tells Claire that if she works with them, they will put up the money for a new home on a sanctuary island, where there will be no fences and no tourists.
But this means she’ll have to enlist the help of animal behaviorist (some call him a raptor wrangler) Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), even though they’ve been apart for about three years, since their fling and dead-end romance that began when they met in “Jurassic World.”
No, he’s not interested. Hold on, yes, he is interested. Uh-oh, is there at least a hint of a spark still between them? Sorry, no time to think about that, as suddenly they’re on a plane, with a reptile veterinarian and a computer expert tagging along, winging their way to the island, where they’re met by a phalanx of heavily armed mercenaries who will assist with tranquilizing the animals then transporting them to their new home.
Yeah, right. There’s no sanctuary. The gun men aren’t there to help. This is a story about greedy people doing dastardly things. Damn those mercenaries! Damn whoever hired them!
The film’s brief time on the island is filled with danger upon danger. All hell breaks loose there, and then it does again, as the volcano goes from lava flows to flaming explosions and dinosaurs are fleeing while people are getting out of their way. As always in these films, the dinosaurs are stunningly realistic. Surprisingly, though, the volcano effects are comparatively hokey.
But that’s made up for when the action and a number of specimens return to the mainland and the Lockwood estate, where the main story — along with a couple too many side stories — unfolds. There are additional characters to meet, including wealthy, ailing Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) and his feisty granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon), who are both fine in small parts. Pratt has less to do in this installment, and is prone more to eye winking than heroics. Once again, Howard is OK as far as delivering her lines, but even her screams aren’t very convincing when she’s in peril.
The script provides plenty of good, zippy dialogue, and will bring about lots of nervous laughter in the numerous scenes of people in danger. And even though the plot gets crazier and more outrageous as it goes along, the story manages to stay grounded. The apocalyptic climax, very much in homage to the original film, is exciting, terrifying and fun, just as it should be. Although the end credits run close to 10 minutes, you might want to stay to see what happens at the end of them. It’s only 10 seconds worth of extras, but they’re 10 pretty cool seconds.
— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”
Written by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow; directed by J.A. Bayona
With Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Isabella Sermon