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Movie review: It’s a ‘Jurassic’ sequel World,’ after all

Published July 05. 2018 12:03PM

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” sequel to “Jurassic World” (2015), is second in a trilogy, with “Jurassic World 3” set for 2021 release.

While “Jurassic Park,” released in 1993, had lots of human drama, character interaction and peril, “Jurassic World” has the peril, but lacks the human element. It’s a long way from the original Michael Crichton screenplay.

Director J. A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls,” 2016; “The Impossible,” 2012) moves the action along solidly, working from a screenplay by Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World” director).

The dinosaurs are hauled away on a ship to a California estate (no, they’re not going to stomp grapes at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery), following a volcanic eruption that destroys Jurassic Park on the fictional Isla Nublar, off the Pacific Ocean coast of Costa Rica. The ostensible goal is to save the clones of the ancient beasts. The secret plan is to auction them off to the highest bidder.

Chris Pratt (flat as Owen Grady until he kicks into action), Bryce Dallas Howard (wonderfully adept at providing the movie’s emotional core as Claire Dearing), B.D. Wong (Dr. Wu), and Jeff Goldblum (Ian Malcolm, in what amounts to a cameo) reprise their roles.

In the “Kingdom” in supporting roles are Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Isabella Sermon and Geraldine Chaplin.

There’s at least one terrific jump scare in “Fallen Kingdom” that made me jump in my theater seat. The depiction of the dinosaurs attacking, maiming and eating humans gets more violent, grisly and graphic as the film unreels. The Indoraptor, a dinosaur weaponized as a battle beast, is particularly gruesome. The battle between the Indoraptor and Blue the Velociraptor evokes the Godzilla milieu.

The computer-generated imagery, animatronics and puppets that depict the dinosaurs is superb. The dinos seem so lifelike. The movie is massive in scale and has several good set pieces, notably, the eruption of the volcano, the dinosaur auction, a scene at a diorama and dinosaur skeleton display that recalls the “Night at the Museum” movies (2006, 2009, 2014), and a sequence inside and on the rooftop of a castlelike Gothic mansion that recalls Universal Studios monster thriller-chillers.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” lacks the originality of the original released 25 years ago. And it doesn’t equal “Jurassic World.” It’s simply a good sequel that sets us up for the next, hopefully, even better sequel.

“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” MPAA Rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Parents are urged to be cautious. Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.) for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril; Genre: Science-Fiction, Adventure; Run time: 2 hrs., eight mins. Distributed by Universal Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: Stay to the very end of the credits (Only two others in addition to Michael “Movie Maven” Gonkkosky and myself did so at the sold-out 3D screening) to see pteranodons circling the Eiffel Tower replica on the Las Vegas Strip. Here’s hoping “Jurassic Park 3” includes Elvis Presley’s original version of the “Viva Las Vegas” theme song. Dancing dinosaurs in a chorus kick line. Now that would be peril.

Box Office: June 29 weekend box office results were unavailable because of the early Focus deadline for the July 4 holiday.

Unreel, July 6:

“Ant-Man and the Wasp,” PG-13: Peyton Reed directs Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, and Walton Goggins in the science-fiction action film. Ant-Man and The Wasp team up for a new mission.

“The First Purge,” R: Gerard McMurray directs Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, and Steve Harris in the science-fiction thriller. The sequel is a prequel, explaining what resulted in the first Purge.

“Whitney,” R: Kevin Macdonald directs the documentary about pop singer Whitney Houston that includes her, Bobby Brown, Bobbi Kristina Brown, and Cissy Houston.

Two Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes

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