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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom review
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Ted Levine
Director: J. A. Bayona
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
RUNTIME: 128 Mins
Watching highly-detailed graphically-rendered dinosaurs hunt mostly helpless humans through a gorgeous Victorian-esque manor will always be a guilty pleasure, but I fear that the Jurassic franchise may be one headed for extinction.
Jurassic Park, when it first came out, was hailed for its uncompromising approach to serious and ethically-charged subject matter, coupled with goofy jokes and highly likeable characters.
The basic formula remains, but as some of the world’s best geneticists will tell you, the key is to try and improve upon the original, not create a carbon copy.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens with a 21st Century edition of an extinction threat: a topically relevant volcanic eruption. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, our previous heroes, Owen and Claire, played by Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard respectively, mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.
Some new characters join the cast, including our new antagonist, Eli Mills, played by Rafe Spall, dinosaur expert Zia Rodriguez, played by Daniella Pineda, and nervous wreck nerd Franklin, played by Justice Smith. Without revealing too much, we see some all-too-familiar faces, including Jeff Goldblum, in a few sneaky cameos.
From the start, we see a lot of similarities to this movie’s predecessor. Genetic scientists get too big for their boots and decide to create ‘the ultimate killing machine’ as a way to elicit greater profits. No one seems to stop and think: maybe creating an alpha predator that can commit mass slaughter isn’t such a great look for the dinosaur park, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
The special effects are truly something spectacular. Every ripple of every muscle is in eye-popping clarity, in itself a measure of the budget and attention to detail spent on each scene.
The same can be said for the impressive action set pieces. It’s packed with edge-of-your-seat chase scenes, made all the more immersive by the increasingly anthropomorphized dinosaurs.
If you’ve got a keen eye, you’ll spot a lot of Spielbergian homages to previous Jurassic films, as well as other huge action blockbusters that the great director has produced before. As a result, this movie is wildly more poignant than its prequels, with a surprising depth that leaves you truly moved at many points.
The biggest potential issue here is a wildly concocted story treating itself with too much sobriety. You’ve got Chris Pratt cracking jokes in the midst of a serious look into the privatisation of genetic weaponry, and on the other hand an innocent, curious, and highly intelligent young girl caught in the midst of a greed-driven and murderous household.
It can’t seem to decide what tone it wants to strike. In some ways that’s appealing and leaves you with a lot of questions to ponder. In other ways it’s wobbly. The good thing is, this movie saves itself with a great cast and excellent visuals; even though the story could use refinement.
Not quite extinct, but it’s fearfully close to making the endangered species list.
Now showing in: Cineco, Seef II, Dana Cinemas, Wadi Al Sail, Mukta A2, Al Jazeera