When Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World was launched in 2015, it brought this long-dormant dinosaur franchise roaring back to life. Grossing $1.6bn, it crushed all comers to become the top summer blockbuster, so it’s no surprise that a sequel – the fifth in the franchise – is now pounding into cinemas in June.
Set four years on from the last film, when the theme park, Jurassic World, was torn apart by dinosaurs on the rampage, these prehistoric wonders are now fending for themselves on the abandoned Isla Nebular. It’s at this point that (natural) disaster strikes, as the island’s volcano bursts back into life, threatening these genetically reborn creatures.
The catastrophe soon alerts Jurassic World’s two central characters, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), a dinosaur research specialist, and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the park’s former operations manager, who has since become an animal-rights activist, along with Franklin (Justice Smith) and Zia (Daniella Pineda), her trusty colleagues.
Together, they mount a rescue operation to find the remaining dinosaurs on the island. When they arrive, with the lava starting to erupt from the volcano, it’s as if they’re in the land that time forgot. With Owen desperate to find Blue, the lead female raptor that he hand-reared, it becomes a race against time – made all the more explosive when the expedition discovers a conspiracy that jeopardises mankind.
At the helm of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the Spanish director J. A. Bayona, who has a remarkable track record with both suspense thrillers (The Orphanage), and visual effects (The Impossible, which recreated the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and its after-effects with incredible realism). Here, he combines the two, bringing Jurassic Park fans exactly what they want: nerve-shredding tension as Mother Nature goes wild.
The script is co-written by Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, who together penned Jurassic World, and fans will also be heartened to know that Steven Spielberg, director of the original two films and all-round godfather to the franchise, remains on board as executive producer. In the cast, there’s even a British contingent, with the ever-excellent actors Toby Jones and Rafe Spall joining the dino-fun.
Also returning for this instalment is Jeff Goldblum, who plays chaos theory specialist Dr Ian Malcolm. In his first appearance in the franchise since the original two films by Spielberg, he ominously warns the world, “These creatures were here before us. If we’re not careful, they’ll be here after.” But really the stars are those dinosaurs, created with jaw-dropping skill by the visual-effects wizards at Industrial Light & Magic. Watching them tear up the screen just never gets old.