‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ Roars with Horror [Review]
The park is gone and dinosaurs have finally arrived on the mainland of America in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the new sequel that succeeds in making the re-born prehistoric giants scary again.
In 2015’s relaunch of the Jurassic franchise, the Park that was almost realized in the original 1993 movie is a fully functional tourist mega-attraction. It was bigger than Sea World and way more thrilling, thanks to the scientist-created Indominus Rex, a horrible idea conceived due to the park goers’ inevitable boredom of the traditional true-life dinosaurs that were brought back using advancements in DNA technology.
In Fallen Kingdom, the fifth film in the franchise, it’s three years after the Indominus disaster at the theme park, which is now deserted and in danger of being destroyed by an active volcano, and the surviving dinosaurs are the hottest animal rights issue in the world. Some, perhaps wisely, suggest that we should let nature take its course and wipe out the dinosaurs (again), as man should have never played God in the first place in re-creating them. Others, like Bryce Dallas Howard’s former Jurassic Park employee Claire, want to save the dinosaurs from re-extinction.
Claire is soon talked into joining and recruiting the park’s former raptor trainer Owen, played by Chris Pratt, for an illegal mission to rescue as many of the dinosaurs as possible before the volcano’s lava completely engulfs the entire island of Isla Nublar. This wild adventure through the untamed ruins of the park and its overgrown jungle surroundings makes up the first half of the movie, following a darkly violent and legitimately suspenseful pre-credits opening scene that is perfection.
The second half of the film cranks up the horror, with a manipulative cold-hearted mastermind revealed to be auctioning off what’s left of the park’s dinosaurs, and their technology, to the highest bidders among the various evil billionaire world leaders gathered at a Gothic mansion for a climactic black tie party.
Along for the ride with Howard and Pratt, Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda are the new blood, as the perpetually afraid comic relief Franklin and the tattooed badass dinosaur veterinarian Zia, respectively, two of Claire’s youthfully devoted dino rights activists.
As Maisie, the granddaughter of one of the park’s original founders, Isabella Sermon, in her feature film debut, gives a star-making performance that will tug at audience’s heartstrings, even as she provides the biggest, most unexpected twist in the film.
Jeff Goldblum has a brief cameo appearance, reprising his role of Dr. Ian Malcolm from the first and second Jurassic Park films, just long enough to remind us that a realistic co-existence with actual dinosaurs would most certainly mean the end of our own existence as we know it.
Powered by a truly heartbreaking scene of dino-death as the island’s volcano fully erupts and a third act drenched in the tense terror of newer and meaner man-made dino-hybrids, Fallen Kingdom sets the stage for all kinds of fresh and frightening possibilities for the Jurassic franchise going forward, all of which suggest that the title refers not to any animal kingdom, but more likely our own.
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (rated PG13) is playing locally at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills.
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