Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
(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.