Directed by: J. A. Bayona
Written by: Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow
Based on Characters Created by: Michael Crichton
Produced by: Frank Marshall, p.g.a., Patrick Crowley, Belén Atienza, p.g.a.
Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow
Director of Photography: Oscar Faura
Production Designer: Andy Nicholson
Editor: Bernat Vilaplana
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Visual Effects Supervisors: David Vickery, Alex Wuttke
VFX Producer: Dan Barrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, Jeff Goldblum, BD Wong, Geraldine Chaplin, Isabella Sermon, Robert Emms, Peter Jason.
After the dinosaurs escaped Jurassic World, it seemed nothing could stop them from taking over the island of Isla Nublar. But every so often, nature reminds us of true power.
Following on from Jurassic World (2015), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens on a familiar face, the eccentric expert on chaos theory, Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) addressing a Senate committee about the fate of the remaining dinosaurs as the island they inhabit is about to be destroyed by an erupting volcano: Should the dinosaurs be saved? Or should we let nature take its course and allow the dinosaurs to become extinct, again?
The world off-balance, we have a natural disaster movie with exploding fire rocks and clouds of ash and molten lava melting the island as dinosaurs run for their lives picking off humans eaten like meat off popsicle sticks.
It’s a favourite theme of Michael Crichton, the franchise based on his science fiction novel, Jurassic Park (1990), where he explores the morality of scientific advancement.
Here, instead of re-creating the dinosaurs, there is the question of allowing nature to correct the biological disaster begun by John Hammond, or to work against nature to save these magnificent creatures.
In this next chapter of the Jurassic trilogy, director Juan Antonio “J.A.” Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage and A Monster Calls) has been brought on board to collaborate with writers Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow, and with him we get more than an action/sci-fi, this new instalment has suspense, humour, moving moments as the innocence of animals are fought over by the evil of humans and those trying to do the right thing, and the evolution of explosive effects we’ve come to expect from the franchise.
And the characters have developed with the return of Claire Dearing and former raptor trainer Owen Grady – both suffering after the loss of Jurassic Park: Claire creating the Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG), whose mission is to save the dinosaurs remaining on Isla Nublar; the capable and loveable Owen destined to save Blue, the Velociraptor.
There’s more than one part to Fallen Kingdom, with the story becoming much more than a disaster movie, with subterfuge from Elie Mills (Rafe Spall), controller of the Lockwood Estate owned by Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the wealthy ex-business partner of John Hammond, moving forward, at any cost.
To the humour that just keeps on coming with DPG computer tech Franklin (Justice Smith) nervous and awkward and genuinely terrified much to our amusement; tragedy when former Marine and paleoveterinarian Dr. Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) is tasked with operating on the injured and fearsome dinosaurs, and suspense and twists with Maisie (Isabella Sermon), the adorable young granddaughter of the billionaire, Sir Benjamin Lockwood, forced to run for her life as an Indoraptor, newly genetically engineered (yes, Dr. Wu (BD Wong) is back) monster, chases her through the expansive rooms of Lockwood Estate.
And the effects are amazing.
There are five animatronic dinosaurs, so the actors could interact with tangible creatures. For Blue, they had up to twelve puppeteers or performers to make the movement as realistic as possible.
But it’s the combination of the digital and the practical that make the film.
Visual effects supervisor David Vickery and his team worked closely with creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan. “There are quite a number of animatronic dinosaurs in this film, and there has been a direct and strong collaboration between VFX and CFX.”
My head hurts thinking about how much work has been put into the detail of this film. The visuals are seamless – the dinosaurs realistic and oh so believable.
The writers have brought back old favourites like Blue and the terrifying T. rex but have also added a Baryonyx and a Carnotaurus and a particularly hilarious head-butting colourful critter, Stygimoloch.
Honestly, I haven’t been blown away by the previous Jurassic instalments… But Kingdom has everything, ramping up the effects and scare-factor, the insidious nature of man messing with genetics and the outcome, the innocence and violence of nature all rolled up into a realistic explosive package.
And how can you not love Chris Pratt returning as Owen Grady?!
More than just an entertaining block buster, Jurassic World: Final Kingdom gets an enthusiastic thumbs-up – straight back at ya Owen!