Fallen Kingdom is, by some distance, the silliest Jurassic Park movie. The power struggle between nature and science, a key strand of the 1993 original’s DNA (the other strand was the struggle between being dinner and not being dinner), is barely a passing thought now. Any philosophical stuff is there to fill the gaps between dinosaur attacks . It is quite frequently eye-rollingly dumb, but it’s dumb fun, which makes all the difference.
At the end of Jurassic World, the park was abandoned to its sideshows. Yet again, human belief that dinosaurs could be controlled was proved bloodily wrong and the island was left to its own devices. Now, a couple of years after the last movie, the park is in danger of self-destructing, because it’s apparently built on a giant volcano. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), a former Jurassic World exec, and Owen (Chris Pratt), a dinosaur-trainer and Claire-flirter, lead a team back to the island to save a select few of the dinosaurs, rather than leave them all to a second extinction.
This absolute nonsense of a plot would be enough to sustain a cynical sequel, but writers Colin Trevorrow (who directed the last movie) and Derek Connolly, along with director Juan Antonio Bayona, have greater ambitions, at least in terms of plot ridiculousness. The erupting island is only the half of it. There’s a whole second plot about smugglers, a secret dinosaur eBay, a stately home so elaborately equipped it would shame every Bond villain, a very nosy girl and Toby Jones in a terrible wig. It’s not held together very elegantly, but Bayona puts can do a solid dinosaur sequence, and that’s most of the job.
There are underwater dinosaur attacks. There are dinosaur attacks amid spewing lava. There is a little dinosaur that careens through a packed room of baddies like an armour-plated goat. They’re all slick and tightly directed and a bit jumpy, if not even close to the tension of Jurassic Park’s kitchen scene or the second film’s dangling caravan sequence. Pratt and Howard use charisma to fill in underwritten characters.
The series all about evolution has devolved into something that’s significantly less smart and more savage than it once was. Fallen Kingdom is the chimp flinging its own poo compared to Jurassic Park’s advanced genius, but that crap-handed chimp is still entertaining, in its idiotic way. The end promises even dafter things to come. Call me a fool, but I’m all in.