By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

After Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World received mixed to negative reviews from both critics and movie audiences, director J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, A Monster Calls) has been given the task of steering the popular franchise back on course.  Bayona’s installment does have some gripping and suspenseful moments, intense, harrowing action sequences and some entertaining humor, but the story and screenplay are both weak, silly, and very trite.  Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom may be good for some fun and laughs, but pretty much falls apart about midway.

After the fall of the Jurassic World theme park, things are only getting worse for Isla Nublar and the surviving dinosaurs. A volcano on the island activates and threatens to wipe out all life on the island.  Concerned with the implications of this catastrophic event, but also concerned with the dangers of relocating the dinosaurs, the governments of the world soon decide to do nothing.  A wealthy benefactor and one of the original creators of Jurrassic Park, Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), decides to fund a rescue mission and tasks both Claire Dearing (Bruce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) for heading this job.  After the mission gets underway, Claire and Owen discover that other nefarious interests are involved with some unethical plans for the dinosaurs.

Written by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connally, this newest Jurassic installment takes some strange, bewildering and quite frankly, laughably dumb, turns. Though Bayona and his crew have made some impressive thrilling action sequences, these fun moments surround a frustrating story and plot that almost copies that of another more intelligent movie franchise.  I won’t reveal which one, because to do so would give too much away, but fans of science fiction movies will recognize it when all is said and done.

The movie features a mix of comedic gags that both charm and grate.  The whole experience can be entertaining, but for all the shock, awe and laughs, the surprises often had me questioning the logic behind why the filmmakers thought this film was the way to go.  I left the theater feeling bewildered and a little cheated.

On the positive end, the cast mostly performs well in their roles. Chris Pratt’s winning personality is once again enjoyable in the role of dinosaur trainer Owen Grady.  Bryce Dallas Howard does offer a stronger performance than the previous film; however, her character’s development is a bit lacking.  Young actor Justice Smith portrays Jurassic World IT expert Franklin Webb, and his character serves as comic relief which does work at times. However, his schtick gets tiresome after awhile. The film features some solid work by James Cromwell, Daniela Pineda, B.D. Wong, Ted Levine, and Isabella Sermon.  I was not too inpressed with Rafe Spall who portrays Lockwood’s business assistant Eli Mills. He starts out fine in the beginning of the movie, but when things get more dramatic, he just doesn’t seem to have a handle on an already not-so-dimensional character.

And I was not very impressed with this movie as a whole, but that’s already obvious at this point.  Because I enjoyed and respected Bayona’s previous films, I was disappointed with the outcone of his latest.  Unfortunately, he had to work with a terrible script and bad story ideas.  Only time and money will tell if cinemas will get another installment.  I just hope they have a better script next time because if Bayona returns, he deserves better.  Movie audiences deserve better too.

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