Simon Dillon reviews the latest in the franchise.

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

None of the Jurassic Park sequels have ever matched the singular power and thrills of the ground-breaking, lightning-in-a-bottle original. Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, the latest in the franchise, is a curious beast. With JA Bayona at the helm, the director of horror gem The Orphanage brings a fun gothic sensibility to many of the set pieces. However, the overcooked plot doesn't bear close examination, and too many intriguing threads are cynically left as sequel loose ends, including a potentially jaw-dropping twist in the final stretch which is then frustratingly ignored for the remainder of the running time.

An obviously up-to-no-good Rafe Spall hires Jurassic World alumni Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) to rescue the volcano threatened dinosaurs who are rampaging free on the island, following the disaster of the previous film. That this is a really bad idea is obvious to the entire audience, but the only person with a lick of sense in the film is Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who seriously ought to consider changing his name to Cassandra. Joined by a pair of irritating young activist types, Claire and Owen head off to the island, but. Well, obviously things go wrong, many of them spoiled by the trailer.

On the plus side, Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt are appealing leads, and their banter is amusing. This is also a scarier offering than the previous film, though nothing matches the nerve-shredding thrills of the T-rex attack or raptors in the kitchen from the original. There are nods to everything from King Kong to Nosferatu, and fun turns from the likes of James Cromwell, Toby Jones and a weirdly Danvers-esque Geraldine Chaplin give this one an edge over most of the previous sequels. It may be nonsense, but at least Fallen Kingdom looks and feels a little different, particularly in the claustrophobic gothic mansion during the latter stages. Needless to say, visual effects are terrific, and Michael Giacchino contributes another fine music score (occasionally quoting from John Williams's original themes).

All franchise cynicism aside, the true test of whether this film hits the target in a satisfying way is answered by observing one's children. My nine-year old absolutely loved it, so really that's recommendation enough to parents with monster obsessed children. The more seasoned cinemagoer is likely to be less impressed, but I recommend going with the flow whilst the film runs, as it is a lot of fun if you switch off your brain. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.