Review: 'Jurassic World 2' leans on nostalgia, contrivances
Here's the good news: "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom " is more fun than "Jurassic World." It's not exactly a high bar, but still a welcome surprise. In the hands of a new director, J.A. Bayona, with Chris Pratt's high-wattage charisma on full blast and a fair amount of self-aware humor intact, there are certainly worse ways to spend a couple hours in the air-conditioned multiplex this summer.
Mind you, this movie is pretty ridiculous and the script (from Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly) is not very clever — I found myself rolling my eyes almost as frequently as I found myself smiling with genuine delight. "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" will not stand up to rigorous scrutiny, and yet, it's kind of an enjoyable, preposterous and thrilling ride that ticks through nostalgia beats like a shopping list.
It's a little sad how in this era of industrial franchise filmmaking a three year gap between films actually feels like quite a bit of time — or maybe it's just a testament to how grueling the past few years have been — but, hey, it did at least seem like the right time to check in with those dinosaurs again, although I worry that our emotional investment in Owen's connection with a velociraptor has been vastly overestimated.
After a very solid, and scary, beginning, with pouring rain and genuine suspense as some scientists venture back into the defunct Jurassic World to retrieve a dinosaur bone, a helpful newscaster orients the audience with a whole lot of exposition: It's been three years since Jurassic World closed; $800 million in damages have been paid out; and, most importantly, a dormant volcano has come back to life on the island and is about to cause an "extinction level event" that will wipe out all the remaining dinosaurs.
The question of whether or not to let the dinos go extinct again has become a national debate and Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire is leading the charge to try to save the anim