It’s been three years since the world was graced with Jurassic World, a new era of genetically-modified dinosaur adventure films that follows on from the Jurassic Park universe (originally created by Michael Crichton) back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing respectively who are essentially the “Dr. Alan Grant” and “Dr. Ellie Sattler” of the Jurassic World universe.

Of course, the biggest talking point of this movie is the fact that Jeff Goldblum makes a return appearance as Dr. Ian Malcolm. So it’s pretty unfortunate that his screen time clocks in at around 5 minutes. He basically bookends the film in a courtroom setting and delivers some admittedly scene-stealing lines.

The main storyline sees Claire visiting the Lockwood Estate and enlisting the help of Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) and Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell). We learn that Lockwood was in fact a co-founder of Jurassic Park and helped John Hammond to realise his dream (or nightmare!). Eli gives Claire the resources to fund a rescue mission on Isla Nublar and transport all of the dinosaurs to an uninhabited safe haven.

Next we see Claire trying hard to convince Owen to come along on the expedition due to his animal behavioural skills and the relationship he formed with a velociraptor named Blue. We also meet two new companions named Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) who is a paleo-veterinarian and a systems analyst respectively.

After the volcano on the island explodes and the velociraptor Blue is found, Eli’s true intentions begin to unravel. He is actually a slimy, selfish businessman who wants to sell the dinosaurs to greedy investors who will pay millions of dollars including a man named Mr. Eversol (Toby Jones) who is in the middle of organising a dinosaur auction of sorts.

Then there is Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) who is Benjamin Lockwood’s grand-daughter. After learning about what his guardian Eli Mills is really up to, she becomes a spanner in Eli’s plans and eventually teams up with Claire and Owen to save the dinosaurs.

Directed by J.A. Bayona, this sequel to Jurassic World is certainly darker, emotional and more intense than the previous installment with the writers and producers ramping up the drama and the scares. It’s good to see that they balanced the CGI effects with some animatronic dinosaur models to make them seem more genuine and realistic with the actors.

There are also plenty of parallels and references to the original films, Jurassic Park and The Lost World in particular. Scenes like the silhouette/shadow of the tyrannosaurus rex, the classic “kitchen” chase between Timmy and the raptor, the yellow and green 4WD, the fact that it’s raining in almost every scene, shutting down park systems and lots of explosions.

We also see another appearance from our chef genetic engineer Dr. Wu (BD Wong) who again gets caught up doing some dodgy business with Eli Mills. However, it seems like he’s caught in a moral dilemma this time especially during the auction scene where his prototype dinosaur hybrid goes up for the bid.

Speaking of dinosaurs, there’s a few new additions for Fallen Kingdom including the Allosaurus, Baryonyx and the hybrid Indoraptor. They all look really menacing and very impressive with lots of familiar ground stomps, vibrations and roars to be heard. And the final scene with all those trapped dinosaurs being released was literally like watching a dino version of Noah’s Ark.

Overall, I feel like the makers of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are finally branching out a little from the roots of Michael Crichton’s original novel whilst still incorporating familiar elements from past films. They’re trying to take things in a fresh direction with a slant towards the importance of animal protection and how far corrupted organisations like InGen will go for power and profits. Looking forward to the next installment. 8.5/10

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