Director: J.A. Bayona
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall
Release Date: September 18, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
It’s been three years since theme park and luxury resort, Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.
Three years after the chaotic events that shut down the Jurassic World park and resort for good, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ rejoins Claire (Howard) and Owen (Pratt) who having previously gone their separate ways are brought back together by fate in order to partake in a deadly mission back to the ruined park in order to try and save as many of the dinosaurs as possible before the island’s now active volcano eradicates them from the face of the earth yet again. But once the two accompanied by some helping hands arrive on site, things quickly go from bad to worse as events take some unexpected and deadly turns.
Directed this time around by the talented J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls, The Orphanage) from a screenplay penned by Derek Connolly and Colin Trevorrow who were also co-writers of ‘Jurassic World’ which was additionally directed by Trevorrow. Bayona does a more than sufficient job taking over the helm for ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and guiding along the tense and visually gorgeous excitement while embracing a notably bleaker tone. The latest entry in the popular franchise features a solid cast comprised of some returning stars and plenty of newcomers to the series and includes Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Bryce Dallas Howard (Pete’s Dragon), Rafe Spall (The Big Short), Toby Jones (Atomic Blonde), Ted Levine (Heat), BD Wong (TV’s Mr. Robot), James Cromwell (Marshall) and Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) along with more, the majority delivering highly capable performances in each of their respective roles; particularly Pratt and Howard whose on-screen chemistry is nothing short of magnificent and really helps to make the film as much fun as it is.
‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is an intense and notably dark follow-up that delivers plenty of thrills, chills and visually mesmerizing dinosaur action while wisely refusing to keep things overly familiar and simply deliver an uneventful and by the book sequel. One key factor that makes ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ so unique and enjoyable is in its willingness to step outside the box and do something largely original with the story. While I don’t want to give away too much, the trailers alone should provide some clue to that and we’ll just say that the activity occurring on the actual park is concluded less than halfway through the film. It does have the occasional hiccup such as some plot elements that many might find mildly dull, and it occasionally stumbles with finding its way but altogether ends up coming together into a tense, emotional and gorgeous sequel that dares to take some chances which for the most part pay off and help to provide an enjoyable and quite original new chapter in the franchise. It’s capably guided along by director J.A. Bayona and his work at the helm is tremendously complimented by stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard whose chemistry only continues to prove one the most enjoyable aspects of these recent movies, even amidst the consistently breathtaking and intricately detailed dinosaurs that only continue to look more impressive with each film and certainly never fail to amaze. I would definitely encourage fans of the series to try and make a point of checking out ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ when you get the chance if you haven’t already had the pleasure, chances are it should prove a moving and enjoyable ride at the very least for any fan.
Overall, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is a surprisingly fresh, darkly toned and generally well crafted sequel that serves up all of the visually spectacular action and spectacle that fans have come to expect, while also wisely opting for switching up many elements within and taking the story in an intriguing and somewhat unexpected direction. ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is definitely recommended to fellow fans of the long-running franchise. It’s a fresh, surprisingly dark and well done sequel that dares to take some chances and ends up delivering a moving and thoroughly entertaining film that’s more than worthy of joining the ‘Jurassic’ saga. It may not be the finest installment of the franchise but certainly makes for a solid addition that should prove worth your time and the cost of a rental if nothing else.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and richly detailed presentation from start to finish. It holds up impressively even during the many fast moving, heavily populated and darkly lit sequences throughout, never allowing anything on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Universal that looks consistently fantastic and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release features a DTS: X (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA presentation. This multichannel soundtrack provides a sharp, clean and wildly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send dinosaurs roaring past, along with plenty of lava and explosions, debris and a great deal more nearly always making its way throughout the various speakers in one manner or another, and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible the process. Overall, this is a spectacular DTS: X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack that delivers in every way and contributes tons of additional fun, excitement and tension to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ includes a rather decent collection of bonus content in the way of over an hour of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore various elements of the film and bringing them to life, and including interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus tons of behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘On Set with Chris and Bryce’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length), ‘The Kingdom Evolves’ (running approximately 5 minutes), ‘Return to Hawaii’ (approximately 3 minutes), ‘Island Action’ (6 minutes), ‘Aboard the Arcadia’ (6 minutes), ‘Birth of the Indoraptor’ (4 minutes), ‘Start the Bidding!’ (3 minutes), ‘Death by Dino’ (2 minutes), ‘Monster in a Mansion’ (3 minutes), ‘Rooftop Showdown’ (4 minutes), ‘Malcolm’s Return’ (3 minutes), ‘VFX Evolved’ (7 minutes), ‘Fallen Kingdom: The Conversation’ (10 minutes) and ‘A Song for the Kingdom‘ (1 minute). Also included are a collection of ‘Chris Pratt’s Jurassic Journals’ (approximately 12 minutes altogether) and ‘Jurassic Then and Now – Presented by Barbasol’ (3 minutes).