The latest instalment in the Jurassic Park franchise has been given a thumbs-up from critics, who have praised the “thrilling” and “fun” dinosaur film for combining blockbuster moments with an eco-aware backdrop.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jeff Goldblum, follows on from the 2015 reboot of the series, Jurassic World.
Spanish film-maker JA Bayona, who was responsible for The Impossible and A Monster Calls, was its director.
The Hollywood Reporter’s John DeFore said: “Bayona not only nods to the history of classic monster movies and the legacy of original Jurassic helmer Steven Spielberg, he brings his own experience to bear, treating monsters like actual characters and trapping us in a vast mansion that’s as full of secrets as the site of his breakthrough 2007 film, The Orphanage.
“Audiences put off by some dumb characterisations in the last film have much less to complain about here, while those requiring only some spectacular predators and exciting chase scenes should greet this outing as warmly as its predecessor.”
Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson also appreciated Bayona’s return to his horror roots, writing: “While the first half of the film is a petty perfunctory rehash of 1997’s The Lost World, with poachers rounding up dinosaurs for profit and a little bit of sport, the second half of Fallen Kingdom does something nifty.
“Bayona revisits some aesthetics and moods from his lauded 2007 horror film The Orphanage by turning Fallen Kingdom into something of a spooky mansion movie, rainy and atmospheric and full of creeping shadows. It’s an unexpected reduction in scale and commitment to specificity, not what we often see in follows-up to smash hits.”
The Independent said the rip-roaring ride makes up for some gaps in the plotting.
The paper’s Geoffrey Macnab said: “Continuity and plausibility both occasionally wobble. We’ll see a character who seems to have a badly damaged leg one moment clambering onto a roof top in acrobatic fashion the next.
“For no particular reason, hydrogen cyanide will suddenly be released into the atmosphere or there will be power cuts and random explosions.
“None of this matters. The film has such momentum that we hardly notice the holes in the plotting.
“Bayona doesn’t just show us the dinosaurs full frontal. We spot their shadows or see heads of humans craning upward to look at them as they stealthily emerge from the undergrowth.”
However, The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw was less convinced, saying: “There are some reasonably entertaining scenes and set pieces, but the whole concept feels tired and contrived, and crucially the dinosaurs themselves are starting to look samey, without inspiring much of the awe or terror they used to.
“It could be that a meteor of tedium is heading towards these CGI creatures, despatching them to extinction.”
Variety’s Owen Gleiberman also said the franchise seemed tired, writing: “The film takes a long time to build up to its climactic battle with an Indoraptor, and it’s effectively done, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before — and when it arrives, you realise that this is what these films will always, at heart, be about: not “social responsibility” but monsters who want to eat us.
“The first Jurassic World was, quite simply, not a good ride. Fallen Kingdom is an improvement, but it’s the first Jurassic film to come close to pretending that it isn’t a ride at all, and as a result it ends up being just a so-so ride. I hope the next one is an all-out ride — but that for the first time since Spielberg’s 1993 original, it’s actually a great one.
“The audience for this series has proved that it will turn out in mega-droves. But it deserves more than a passable rerun taking itself too seriously.”
But Den Of Geek’s Matt Edwards said the new film “takes the franchise off in a slightly different direction”.
He wrote: “Jettisoning much of the iconography of the previous films, director Bayona creates a film that is, at times, strikingly beautiful.
“It’s not a film that’s able to conjure the sense of awe the original Jurassic Park did for its dinosaurs, but Bayona’s film is able to elicit at least a similar response from how he captures some of the landscapes in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. His style of shooting enhances those action sequences too, as he lays everything out with a visual clarity.
“There’s more to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom than just fun action sequences. It’s a film that’s full of ideas and thoughtful comment on the balance of nature, humanity and science. It’s also got a few spiky political references, too.
“There’s so much on the screen that’s interesting and unexpected, good and bad, that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a dizzying experience.
“Even on first watch, though, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom impresses as a brave, beautiful and fun summer popcorn flick.”