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Review: Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom is too tame to really run wild

PUBLISHED: 08:47 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:47 08 June 2018

Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing and Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal Pictures/Giles Keyte

Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing and Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal Pictures/Giles Keyte

Archant

Splicing the creative DNA of Steven Spielberg’s Lost World sequel with the rumbustious 2015 reboot Jurassic World, should roar and rampage but despite some great set-pieces this muscular fifth instalment is too tame to really thrill.

Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing and Daniella Pineda as Dr Zia Rodriguez in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal PicturesChris Pratt as Owen Grady, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing and Daniella Pineda as Dr Zia Rodriguez in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal Pictures

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (12A)

***

The defining aspect of the dinosaurs, as I understand it, was a stubborn refusal to kick-start the whole evolution fad. They ruled the earth for the best part of 200 million years but their extinction seems to have found them little the wiser than when they first appeared.

When it comes to the cinema, this appears to be infectious. There something about dinosaurs that makes people quite militant in asserting their right to have turn-your-brain-off fun. Here we are at Jurassic Park 5 and nothing much seems to have moved on since Spielberg first started it back in 1993.

Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal PicturesChris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal Pictures

Within a few minutes of the film starting, what do they decide to do? Go back to the damn island.

Fallen Kingdom is a definite improvement on Jurassic World, but maybe I’m not the best person to listen to on the subject of things Jurassic. My favourite one is Lost World, the Spielberg directed first sequel, which everybody seems to vigorously hate.

Still can’t see it: it replaced Neill and Dern with Goldblum and Julianne Moore; the motorhome dangling from the cliff top sequence is the most exciting in any of the films and it has the King Kong style ending.

Fallen Kingdom is closest to that in as much as the film doesn’t spend all the time at the island but takes the action back to the mainland. It also incorporates some of the ideas John Sayles came up with for Jurassic Park 3 which were considered too wild to use.

Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal PicturesChris Pratt as Owen Grady in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Photo: Universal Pictures

Chris Pratt is much more comfortable in the lead role this time, and Bryce Dallas Howard’s character has been given a bit more dignity. There are a plethora of quality villains including Toby Jones who makes good use of a combover.

Spanish director J.A. Bayona, the man previously behind The Orphanage, The Impossible and A Monster Calls, has probably brought more imagination to the staging of the set pieces than anyone since Spielberg himself and the script has just a bit of depth to it.

But, it is still utterly disposable, to a degree that is significant even in comparison with other summer blockbusters. Star Wars and the various schools of superhero movies provoke passionate feelings among fans and audience.

I imagine the most enthusiastic response you’ll get to this film is someone emerging from the darkness announcing, “Hey that was really great. Where shall we eat?”

Probably my biggest gripe with this and the previous entry is they break the promise of their titles. It’s supposed to be Jurassic World, not Park. These films have a license to break free and run wild, yet they choose to remain tame and submissive.

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