Who said it was safe to go back to the dinosaur island? 25 years after Jurassic Park first came out, we now have a fifth movie in the franchise. And while Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom raises some interesting animal rights issues and ups the stakes with an ending from left-field, there is little discernible difference between this movie and its predecessors.
In a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Chris Pratt quipped that “Dinosaurs out of control” was the original tagline for the latest Jurassic film. In truth, it could have applied to all five movies in the franchise. And while Fallen Kingdom is a lot of (predictable) fun, it amounts to little more than a fourth remake of the first movie.
After their (mis)adventures in Jurassic World (see our review), dynamic duo Owen Grady (Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard, who is spared the indignity of running around in heels this time) reunite to save the dinos from the island of Isla Nublar, as a volcano erupts.
But those pesky corporate interests get in the way (again), not to mention the men with guns who (again) think they can fend off the dinos. Grady’s words become self-reflexively prophetic: “Save the dinosaurs from an island that’s about to explode. What could go wrong?” And so it goes, as the lovely chemistry between Grady and Dearing, those AWESOME dinosaurs and lots of SCREAMING courtesy of (of course) a little girl, carry us through a wafer-thin plot.
There are some impressive set-pieces, including the opening underwater sequence, a classic dino stampede and one where dinosaurs invade a house (yes, really). Plus we get bonus nostalgia in the shape of Dr Ian Malcom (a very dapper looking Jeff Goldblum), who gets to solemnly utter lines like: “Change is like death. You don’t know what it looks like till you’re standing at the gates.”
Toby Jones also has a cameo as the oh-so-slimy Gunnar Eversoli, instantly classing up proceedings by his mere presence. And Singapore even gets a mention at a shadowy event where the megarich poke and prod the dinos and decide which ones they want to buy.
Perhaps the enduring appeal of the Jurassic franchise lies in the sense of awe and wonder that never quite goes away (OMG that’s a fricking T-rex!!!). But while Fallen Kingdom will undoubtedly make lots and lots of money, one has to wonder how long the producers can keep repeating the same formula: man goes to dinosaur island, man thinks he can control dinosaurs, all hell breaks loose.
Sure, it’s always fun to see archetypal characters get eaten by the dinos. But how long before the Jurassic franchise turns into a parody of itself?
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is playing in cinemas now.