Watching two of my favourite actors in an enormous blockbuster packed with incredible practical and digital effects, with a tight script brought to life under the skilful command of a great director has got to be about the most enjoyable two hours in a packed cinema I can remember.
I wasn’t blown away by 2015’s Jurassic World, so I approached this sequel with caution. 5 films in and you’d think the fresh ideas about dinosaurs roaming the earth might have dried up.
The film-makers have envisioned a rather spectacular fresh in that they have elected to actually blow up the island that has been home to the movie star dinosaurs of the four previous films.
And given the movie is shot on the island of Hawaii, this eerie synchronicity offers an uncanny slice of art imitating life with a stunningly realistic erupting volcano threatening to make dinosaurs extinct for a second time in history.
Naturally society is split down the middle in regard to advocating for a rescue effort or to let nature run her course, and the nays win, determining that as the island was a private affair, it is not the role of government to interfere.
Claire and Owen are reunited as a clandestine mission gets underway thanks to a wealthy benefactor who wants to preserve the dinosaurs on a sanctuary that won’t become a theme park.
At least that’s the promise, but something far more sinister is afoot with affluent collectors lining up for a dinosaur auction where you can pretty much guarantee things will get messy.
Spanish Director J.A. Bayona cut his teeth on horror film The Orphanage before directing tsunami thriller The Impossible. Most recently he directed A Monster Calls, and he definitely throws together elements from these three films because at its heart, JWFK as it is a horror movie with monsters who face off against the terrifying force of Mother Nature.
Bayona delivers plenty of jumps to make the ride an thrilling one, and there is ample humour to calm the nerves before the frights kick in again.
The supporting cast are excellent, including Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, a former IT technician for Jurassic World who is now the Dinosaur Protection Group’s systems analyst and hacker, and Daniella Pineda (above) as Dr. Zia Rodriguez, a former Marine who is now the Dinosaur Protection Group’s paleoveterinarian, with Webb well outside his element forced to venture into the field, while Rodriguez is right at home tending to wounded creatures and feistily pust the usual collection of paramilitary types in their places.
I haven’t been this glued to the screen for a long time and the action hardly lets up.
Another excellent performance comes from newcomer Isabella Sermon, who plays Maisie, a young girl who proves to be a fundamental piece of the story.
I would expect this film to be too frightening for kids who scare easily, including my own 10 year old daughter, but I’m fortunate that my brain understands these creatures are either puppets of pixels, so I don’t get as uncomfortable as when I have to watch a film with menacing aliens, zombies or psychopaths, because of course all of those are real….
4 Stars – Masterful Storytelling on an Epic Scale.