Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, C
Rated PG-13, 130 minutes
The entertaining, unoriginal "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" is the latest installment in the "Jurassic Park" franchise that debuted 25 years ago (if you remember seeing the original in the theater like me, you may be prehistoric too). It's hardly new or revelatory: this is clearly designed around action set pieces and lots and lots of intense CGI that pushes the limits of its PG-13 rating, with those dinos chomping on people with ease, but what's left in between isn't much to speak of.
Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, as cheeky and charming as ever) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard, bland as ever) return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that's about to erupt. They soon encounter terrifying new breeds of gigantic dinosaurs, while uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire planet.
"Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" is a mildly enjoyable, mostly forgettable "Jurassic" entry and the weakest film in the franchise thus far. There's lots of CG dinos wreaking havoc and flashing their teeth, and admittedly it's the best part of the film. Outside of that there's little else to go on, but it may be fun enough even for those of us who can't tell the difference between a Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus Rex, both of whom get some hefty screen time, in addition to a newer, more vicious dino, the Indoraptor.
This time out, an ambitious executor of a wealthy estate (Rafe Spall) is out to auction all of the dinos out to the highest bidder, and as you might guess based on previous entries, it doesn't go all that well. This entry is directed by "A Monster Calls'" J.A. Bayona and co-written by "Jurassic World" scribes Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly amps up the action and special effects, leaving any room for substantive character or plot development, but when you have dinos like this, that quickly goes by the wayside.
"Jurassic Park" fans will likely have the most fun with it, and there's a blink-or-miss-it cameo from Jeff Goldblum, who clearly had enough of running by now. The weak climax and even weaker ending seem to indicate that this franchise is running low on fossil fuels. Even with that, "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" will still be a big hit (already making a splash overseas) and it's likely we'll see another return visit of the dinos.