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Review – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – “Full of fun and thrills”

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the fifth film in the franchise, and the second to focus on the adventures of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) – following 2015’s Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow has been ousted as director in favour of J.A. Bayona, who made his name with the super jumpy The Orphanage, and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm makes a slight return to the series with a small amount of action-free screen time. The cast is further bolstered by English thesps: James Cromwell (L.A. Confidential), Rafe Spall (Prometheus) and Toby Jones (seemingly everything right now).

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom drops us straight into an Indominus Rex tooth recovery mission. This sequence’s pace and style instantly put you in mind and the mindset of the original with plenty twitching jungle, torrential rain and bright yellow raincoats ripe for dino dinner. After reassuring you that Fallen Kingdom is in good hands and on the right track, we transition to Claire being hired to help evacuate/rescue the rest of the dinosaurs before they are made extinct again by a volatile volcano.

Dragging in her former flame and raptor wrangler Owen, the pair return to the faded glamour of the crumbling trashed theme park with a group of dubious and well-armed and well-muscled men led by the never-up-to-no-good Ted Levine (The Silence of the Lambs). After the foreordained double cross, the ‘saurs are shipped back to a spooky chateau and the gang must try and stop the animals from being auctioned off to the highest evil bidders in a huge gothic mansion during a storm.

Whoever hired J.A. Bayona to direct is a blimmin’ genius.  ‘The Orphanage’ helmer knows big scary houses and how to scare your pants off in them, and he clearly relishes having a bevvy of enormous scaly killing machines to fill this one with. His horror approach to the dinosaurs actually makes them scary again, but he also deftly gets you emotionally invested in them and their well-being like we haven’t been before too.

Pratt and Howard’s old-school screwball banter is poppier and livelier than before, and their chemistry pumps up the set pieces that Owen and Claire keep finding themselves dropped into. Pratt also showcases his great physical comedy talent after being partially paralysed by a tranquiliser dart. Howard makes it very clear that she is not in the mood for any misogynistic rubbish, and is definitely not wearing heels this time.

The effects work is extremely impressive, with the line between physical and CG effects being frequently impossible to discern. An extra level of care and detail also seems present, with flies, snot, and grime on the dinos that hasn’t been there before. The classic creatures are back, alongside new dinosaurs that have not appeared before in the franchise, as well as some terrifying man-made genetic creations. With all the eye-popping effects, suspense sequences and an array of dino money shots it is very worth checking out Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in IMAX 3D as we were lucky to do.

Forgotten Kingdom is a fantastic Jurassic that is full of fun and thrills, and also leaves the franchise’s future pointing in an interesting and uncharted new direction.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom on general release in the UK now.

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