Film review: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

After 2015's execrable Jurassic Park reboot became one of the highest grossing movies of all time, the lifespan of this dinosaur cloning franchise has been extended for a few more years yet, as evidenced by this largely tedious follow up.

Chris Pratt and friend in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Chris Pratt and friend in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (12A) **

Full of self-aware dialogue about “new iterations” and “creatures of the future made from pieces of the past”, Fallen Kingdom, like its predecessor Jurassic World, is an exasperating comment on its own creation — a trick that might have worked had it been approached with the storytelling nous of that other Michael Crichton-sourced theme-park-gone-awry reboot, West World, and not as a spectacle-heavy summer movie in which its big ideas are bolted onto a story with a broken-backed plot and cardboard characters.

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Director JA Bayona (A Monster Calls) may serve up the occasional poignant image, but much of the film feels like yet another try-hard tribute to Steven Spielberg’s directorial ticks and tricks.

"The dinosaurs, meanwhile, have lost much of their threat..."

The idea this time is that the rampaging dinosaurs of the now-abandoned tourist attraction are facing extinction from a suddenly active volcano. Do these genetically engineered animals have rights or should they be left to perish? A group of dino activists led by Bryce Dallas Howard’s reformed Jurassic World executive think the former, but because the film needs to return to the island, they’re easily hoodwinked by Rafe Spall’s smarmy villain into doing the bidding of another sinister cabal of profit obsessed tycoons.

Chris Pratt reprises his role as the film’s lovable beefcake (albeit with even less charm). The dinosaurs, meanwhile, have lost much of their threat, a consequence of an earlier plot point in which the one surviving velociraptor has been taught, Terminator 2-style, to repeatedly come to the hero’s aid, if not the movie’s.