Rap­tors still de­light as hu­mans make mess

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - Broward - - MOVIES - By Michael Phillips

Of all the ter­rors on view in “Juras­sic World: Fallen King­dom,” the sight of Toby Jones’ toupee bob­bing up and down, when his char­ac­ter (a snivel­ing di­nosaur auc­tion­eer) dashes into an el­e­va­tor to al­leged safety, with the camera and some­thing called the “In­do­rap­tor” scram­bling be­hind him — reader, it is a strange and won­drous vi­sion of fool­ish van­ity in flight.

There are other di­ver­sions in di­rec­tor J.A. Bay­ona’s Gothic-tinged fol­lowup to “Juras­sic World.”

That 2015 pic­ture brought the Michael Crich­ton-de­rived and Steve Spiel­berg-bol­stered fran­chise back from ex­tinc­tion. “Juras­sic World” went on to be­come one of the more for­get­table block­busters to cross the $1.5 bil­lion world­wide mark. Chris Pratt had a lot to do with it. He and Bryce Dal­las Howard are back, run­ning, mak­ing eyes, mak­ing the best of their semidis­pos­able plot ma­chines dis­guised as char­ac­ters, and gen­er­ally light­en­ing a heavy dig­i­tal ef­fects load.

I like the new “Juras­sic World” movie bet­ter than the 2015 edi­tion. Bay­ona’s di­rec­tion is con­sid­er­ably more stylish and ac­tively mo­bile than Colin Trevor­row’s was. Much of the cli­max un­folds inside and out­side a brood­ing, sprawl­ing 19th cen­tury man­sion out of “Re­becca,” com­plete with base­ment lab­o­ra­to­ries and hold­ing pens for cloning ex­per­i­ments. In other words, Bay­ona’s ear­lier film “The Or­phan­age” proved ex­tremely help­ful for the at­mos­phere.

It’s a dis­arm­ing sight, watch­ing di­nosaurs knock­ing around the cor­ri­dors at high speed, or creep­ing MPAA rat­ing: PG-13 (for in­tense se­quences of science-fic­tion vi­o­lence and peril) Run­ning time: 2:10 Opened: Thurs­day evening stealth­ily into a child’s bed­room. The thrills aren’t new-new, ex­actly, and I sup­pose you could go all the way to same-old, same­old. I doubt “Fallen King­dom” will turn any cur­rent hunters (of any­thing) into animal-rights activists.

But we’re ahead of our­selves. Script by Trevor­row and Derek Con­nolly goes like so: Back on Isla Nublar, the tooth­some meat- and plant-eaters cloned for ad­ven­ture park fun and profit are threat­ened with ex­tinc­tion thanks to a newly ac­tive vol­cano. A kindly col­league of the orig­i­nal park’s in­ven­tor (played by James Cromwell) wants to bankroll the res­cue of the sur­viv­ing di­nosaurs, which he plans to re­lo­cate to a sanc­tu­ary. But with the mas­ter on his deathbed, a weaselly fac­to­tum (Rafe Spall) schemes to sell the newly weaponized crea­tures to the high­est in­ter­na­tional bid­der. Boo!

For sev­eral good long stretches, Bay­ona main­tains steady, art­fully var­ied sus­pense and peek­a­boo games as well as a more in­ter­est­ing batch of sup­port­ing char­ac­ters.

Once the ac­tion moves to the main­land, it be­comes its own kind of haunted-man­sion movie. Some may balk at where “Fallen King­dom” ven­tures, but the in­te­rior se­quences work craftily.

Is the movie a great time? Well … with the di­nosaurs in a con­stant sweat, be­ing shot at with bul­lets and tran­quil­izer darts and sub­jected to nasty tooth ex­trac­tions, “Fallen King­dom” leans aw­fully hard on the animal-abuse pathos. I was more in­trigued by the pres­ence of Geral­dine Chap­lin as a lit­tle girl’s pro­tec­tor in the Man­der­ley garb. Chap­lin was fea­tured in the finest scene Bay­ona has di­rected: the eerie seance in “The Or­phan­age.” Even if noth­ing quite mea­sures up in this movie, other than com­poser Michael Gi­acchino’s lush yet sub­tle or­ches­tral colors, Bay­ona and his writ­ers wanted to give au­di­ences a dif­fer­ent kind of mon­ster movie. That they did. Michael Phillips is a Tri­bune critic.


Di­nomeis­ter Owen (Chris Pratt) re­unites with his old pal Ve­loci­rap­tor Blue in “Juras­sic World: Fallen King­dom.”

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