Granger on Film / “Jurassic World” is a suspenseful, yet somewhat stale
Serendipitously timed to coincide with real-life Kilauea eruptions on Hawaii, an active volcano on the (fictional) island of Isla Nublar, near Costa Rica, is exploding, spewing gaseous lava, threatening the dinosaurs that were cloned for that ill-fated, prehistoric theme park.
Testifying before a Congressional committee, erudite mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) asserts that, ethically, there should be no rescue effort. He believes nature should take its course, noting: “These creatures were here before us - and if we’re not careful, they’re going to be here after.”
Ailing, elderly Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the billionaire who financed scientist John Hammond’s resurrection research, disagrees - and he’s willing to bankroll transporting surviving key specimens to another isolated sanctuary.
So he enlists former park operations manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) who, in turn, recruits ‘raptor wrangler’ Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Along with two assistants - paleo-veterinarian Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda) and tech wizard Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) - they helicopter to Isla Nublar, where a full-scale evacuation is underway.
Meanwhile, back at the Lockwood mansion in Northern California’s woods, Benjamin’s inquisitive young granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon) is protected by housekeeper Iris (Geraldine Chaplin) from terrorization by despicable Eli Mills (Rafe Spall), the estate’s financial controller.
Working with an auctioneer (Toby Jones), Eli’s planning to hold a secret dinosaur sale, introducing a newly cloned, hybrid Indoraptor, which infuses a vicious Velociraptor with the strength of a T-Rex.
When the original “Jurassic Park” opened in 1993, audiences were filled with wonder and awe at the then-astonishing CG visual effects. We’re more jaded now, so this fifth installment relies almost completely on chase-and-scare tactics.
Drawing on Michael Crichton’s legendary best-seller, Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly concoct a nonsensical, superficial screenplay, as Spanish director J.A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls”) keeps the momentum rolling. And, yes, this time Claire eschews her stilettos for sensible running shoes.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is a suspenseful, yet somewhat stale 6, opening a window for future franchise installments.