Juras­sic World: Fallen King­dom

The Observer - The New Review - - Film -

(12A, 128 mins) Di­rected by JA Bay­ona; star­ring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dal­las Howard, Rafe Spall

With Span­ish hor­ror di­rec­tor JA Bay­ona (The Or­phan­age, A Mon­ster Calls) at the helm, I’d hoped for more cre­ative in­ter­ven­tion in this chap­ter of the Juras­sic Park – sorry, World – fran­chise. Yet though there are some in­ter­est­ing genre flour­ishes, and a set piece in­volv­ing a gor­geous, shad­owy gothic man­sion, this over­long in­stal­ment is merely ser­vice­able.

The vol­canic, di­nosaur-in­hab­ited is­land of Isla Nublar is about to erupt, and so Bryce Dal­las Howard’s Claire Dear­ing (in com­bat boots rather than heels this time) and an­i­mal be­havioural ex­pert Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) have been flown in by Ben­jamin Lock­wood’s es­tate to help trans­port the di­nosaurs to safety, helped along by a sweaty, jit­ter­ing coder named Franklin

(The Get Down’s Jus­tice Smith) and a tough-talk­ing palaeovet­eri­nar­ian named Zia Ro­driguez (Daniella Pineda). Pre­dictably, some peo­ple in on the plan have other de­signs for the di­nos and so the res­cue mis­sion be­comes a col­lec­tion of in­creas­ingly tense, video game-like sce­nar­ios.

The film ends up be­ing a blud­geon­ing po­lit­i­cal satire that queries the ethical im­pli­ca­tions and eco­nomic ad­van­tages of poach­ing ge­net­i­cally engi­neered an­i­mals. There’s also an em­bar­rass­ing coda about how we’re “caus­ing our own ex­tinc­tion by way of avarice and po­lit­i­cal mega­lo­ma­nia”. It shouldn’t be a bad thing that Claire, Zia and Maisie, Lock­wood’s spunky grand­daugh­ter (Is­abella Ser­mon), are sign­posted as the bravest char­ac­ters, yet the film’s overt girlpower pol­i­tics date it. A close-up of Claire’s high heels, fol­lowed by one of her com­bat boots and a scene that sees Zia called a “nasty woman”, grasp at cul­tural rel­e­vance but end up too on the nose.

The for­eign vil­lains – a Chi­nese ge­neti­cist and a Rus­sian oli­garch – are fur­ther causes for eye-rolling.

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