Film: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, James Cromwell, Jeff Goldblum, Isabella Sermon, Rafe Spall, Toby Jones, Justice Smith, Ted Levine, Daniella Pineda, B D Wong, Geraldine Chaplin
Director: JA Bayona
Rating: * * * and a half
Pity and fear. Spanish horror-meister J A Bayona ( The Orphanage, A Monster Calls) a dab hand at evoking cathartic emotions, succeeds in getting moviegoers emotionally invested in prehistoric animals and puny humans in this thrilling action adventure, the fifth film in the Jurassic franchise and second in a trilogy which takes off three years after the destruction of the iconic theme park in Colin Trevorrow’s 2015 reboot of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original.
In the film under review, park manager Claire ( Bryce Dallas Howard ) Dearing and raptor trainer Owen ( Chris Pratt) Grady return to the beautiful island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano. I thought of the Islanders in Barack Obama’s native Hawaii, threatened as they have been, by molten lava. Was this how Vesuvius had erupted in southern Italy centuries ago killing thousands including the historian Pliny who wrote about trade with India?
The Biblically inspired title harks to man’s fallen nature. Who has evolved, rather regressed, into monstrosity? Only the stone-hearted will not feel compassion for the mighty animals who suffer and die in Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom. Nature’s fury spares none, neither carnivore nor herbivore. And if there’s a lesson to be learnt from the extinction of the gigantic,it is this: that it is not the fittest who survive as Darwin put it, but the adaptable, that prevail.
The fifth instalment has new (CGI) breeds but these, we learn, are the result of genetic engineering. Bayona and screenwriters relocate the action from beautiful Isla Nublar and its derelict theme park to a majestic manor where the plot plays out via such characters as nerdy computer hacker Franklin (Justice Smith) dying palaeobotanist ( James Cromwell playing Benjamin Lockwood, ex-associate of Jurassic creator John (Richard Attenborough) Hammond and greedy double-crossers Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), Gunnar Eversoll (Toby Jones) and Dr Henry Wu (BD Wong)
The film is beautifully shot and peppered with memorable music and nail-biting set pieces. However, some of the characters are thinly sketched but there’s an interesting sub-plot involving Lockwood’s lonely grandchild Maisie played by Isabella Sermon, who with the core issue of ethics, will doubtless play a major role in the third chapter which is scheduled for a 2021 release.