Chris Pratt’s character Owen Grady comes face to face with a tiny dinosaur in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. IMDB

Chris Pratt’s character Owen Grady comes face to face with a tiny dinosaur in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. IMDB

ON FILM: Planet of the Dinos returns

Reviewer Robert Moyes offers his take on Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Robert Moyes

Monday Magazine columnist

It’s been 25 years since Steven Spielberg first invited audiences to marvel – and then scream, again and again – at dinosaurs brought back to life via genetic manipulation.

That popcorn classic has been clumsily cloned a few times since – but with over $4 billion to show for it, who can blame them? A decent reboot of the series landed in the theatres in 2015 and now we have Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to entertain us with a thrill-a-minute reminder that messing with prehistoric über-predators is always a bad idea.

In the original World, a Disneyfied theme park for dinosaurs came to a spectacularly gory end; in Kingdom we learn that the abandoned island, still inhabited by dozens of dinosaur species, is being torn apart by extreme volcanic activity.

Enter the deeply concerned Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), who played a corporate loyalist in the earlier film but has reinvented herself as a “dinosaur rights” activist desperately hoping to save at least some of the toothy critters from destruction. But the last minute, military-scale rescue evacuation that gets put together has a sinister agenda lurking beneath its benign façade, and Claire and returning velociraptor-wrangler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) spend the rest of the movie struggling to outwit a large number of human and reptilian opponents.

There are lots of technically impressive set pieces, although they tend to evoke memories of the Jurassic original rather than showing much fresh imagination.

That said, it’s always satisfying when vile scoundrels scream their last as massive dino jaws start chomping away, and director J.A. Bayona dispatches key villains with gory gusto. (Hey, greedy fools, we told you not to mess with Mother Nature!) There are some good comedic touches too, especially involving a thickheaded dinosaur that butts like a billy goat.

Although many critics have harrumphed that Kingdom seems to have emerged from the Cretinaceous Period, this is perfectly adequate escapist fare.

Pratt has a sturdy, utilitarian charisma, Howard has become more than just a pretty face and the action-heavy plot – although often predictable – chugs along efficiently. And even if the scenes with the delightfully weird Jeff Goldblum testifying to Congress fall flat, Toby Jones picks up the slack as the sinister and deliciously slimy businessman with a wild scheme to profit from all those dinosaur refugees.

Rating: **1/2

Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard; Director: J.A. Bayona

Playing now at the Cineplex Odeon, SilverCity Victoria and Landmark Cinemas 4 University Heights.

COMING SOON:

–– Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

Soulful director Gus Van Sant should deliver the goods in this true-life drama about famed cartoonist John Callahan (Joaquin Phoenix) who only discovers his talent after a drunk-driving accident leaves him a quadriplegic. With Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, and Jack Black.

–– Equalizer 2

Denzel Washington reunites with hard-edged action stylist Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) to repeat his role as a former CIA operative who goes from benign to brutal when circumstances demand a vigilante hero.

–– Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!

Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard – and a new-to-the-party Cher! –sing up a storm in this ABBA-tastic musical comedy sequel.

–– Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Expect twisty plotting and ferociously adrenalized stunts as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his crew of spy guys race against time to prevent a global catastrophe. With Henry Cavill, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Rebecca Ferguson.

–– Skyscraper

As if Jumanji wasn’t enough excitement for 2018, amiable action-meister Dwayne Johnson plays a former FBI agent who has to save his family from a blazing fire in the world’s tallest building.

filmRobert Moyes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

James Summer, the City of Victoria’s new youth poet laureate. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Slam poetry expert introduced as Victoria’s new youth poet laureate

Vic High alum James Summer will serve in the role for 2021

There are many options for enjoying a meal out locally during Dine Around and Stay in Town, on now through Feb. 7. (10 Acres Commons)
Dine Around Stay in Town Victoria carries added importance during pandemic

Special menu items for eat in or takeout/delivery, staycation deals available through Feb. 7

Peter Crema and Harmony Gray (from left), past participants of the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s Code Switching teen art group, at work in ArtLab in 2019. The NAG will be expanding the space thanks to a $75,000 arts infrastructure program grant. (Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre receive new arts infrastructure funding

Province announces recipients of funding through B.C. Arts Council program

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Most Read