Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2018. Amblin Entertainment, Legendary Entertainment, Perfect World Pictures, Universal Pictures. Screenplay by Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow, based on characters created by Michael Crichton. Cinematography by Oscar Faura. Produced by Belen Atienza, Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall. Music by Michael Giacchino. Production Design by Andy Nicholson. Costume Design by Sammy Sheldon. Film Editing by Bernat Vilaplana.
With the amusement park that provided the setting of the previous film now in crumbles, the animals of Jurassic World live under the threat of being wiped out by the volcano that keeps threatening to erupt on their secluded island. Global controversy is stoked by the moral question of what to do about it, some suggesting that the animals be left to die while true-hearted animal rights activists believe they should be evacuated to safety. Bryce Dallas Howard runs a charity for the latter and agrees to play ball when a wealthy colleague (James Cromwell) of the late John Hammond asks her to head up the safe evacuation of a few specimens to a new park where they will roam free and live happily without anyone to bother them. She asks Chris Pratt to come back to the park and help round up the raptors that only he knows so well, but they’re only seconds from completing the mission when they discover that they have been double-crossed: the dinosaurs are actually being auctioned off to nefarious supervillains looking to use them as biological warfare and our heroes have to follow a trail to a giant mansion to figure out the strands of betrayal and set things right. J.A. Bayona takes over as director of this fifth in the long-running Universal franchise that broke box-office records when it premiered twenty-five years earlier, bringing his brand of gothic romance to a tale that is shockingly mundane considering all the firepower being put into its execution. Of course it looks and sounds great and the animals are all magnificent, but whose idea was it to take dinosaurs off an island and have them run around the basement of a country mansion? The action sequences are, for the most part, retreads of what has been done before, while Bayona regular Geraldine Chaplin is a welcome sight, but her weakly explained exit is a key example of the film’s poor construction. Then there’s the weird ending that baits sequel but also feels like liberal-bashing that comes out of nowhere: the argument between whether or not the dinosaurs are to be preserved or destroyed ends with a lesson to all us bleeding heart fools who must now pay the price for feeling instead of thinking. The upside is, there will be so much more fun carnage on the next round.