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Dinosaurs come roaring back

This sequel to the successful Jurassic World refresh of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is probably the best since the original.

But that comes with a few caveats.

The direction from acclaimed helmer JA Bayona (A Monster Calls and The Impossible) may be more refined, the story thought-provokingly deep, and production values of the highest quality – but it probably isn’t as fun and lacks the light-heartedness of the last outing.

There’s so much to enjoy here – from the thrilling opening scene to the ending sequences which deliciously sets up the third instalment in the ‘World’ Trilogy – but it can’t help but be tainted with ultimately being more of the same.

After the demise of the Jurassic World theme park on Isla Nublar – where the dinosaurs have roamed freely on the island for three years – an impending volcanic eruption threatens their very existence.

So Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) creates a dinosaur rescue organisation – with the aid of John Hammond’s former partner Benjamin Lockwood (LA Confidential’s James Cromwell) and his right hand man Eli Mills (Brit actor Rafe Spall) – to try and bring the creatures to a sanctuary in America with the aid of her on-off boyfriend Owen (Chris Pratt), who is enticed into the mission to save Blue, the last of the velociraptors he trained.

But alas, as soon as the duo arrive – with Claire’s two colleagues Zia (Daniella Pineda) and (quite annoying) Franklin (Justice Smith) – it soon becomes clear that everything is not what it seems, uncovering a conspiracy that could disrupt the natural order of the planet.

Which basically means that eleven species of dinosaurs are potentially being auctioned off to the highest bidder Stateside – via Ted Levine’s ruthless mercenary Ken Wheatley and his cronies who are attempting to get them off the island before volcano erupts.

This ultimately leads to some on-shore prehistoric shenanigans at Lockwood’s plush estate – with a dangerous hybrid monster called the Indoraptor having been secretly developed by BD Wong’s franchise regular Dr Henry Wu – that inadvertently involves Lockwood’s grand-daughter Maisie (played by impressive non-annoying youngster Isabella Sermon).

And even Jeff Goldblum’s Dr Ian Malcolm pops in for a cameo to say: ‘Life has found a way’ for continuity purposes and all that – as this comes together to be a thoroughly watchable actioner with some impressive bite, and surprising depth.

Fallen Kingdom is undoubtedly a better all-round blockbuster than the first, but sadly some of the cast – like Pratt and Dallas Howard – seem to be going through the motions as this does rehash plenty of sequences we’ve seen before. Just in a different playground.

But it is still a damn sight better sequel than The Lost World was – and sets it up very nicely for the final instalment.

Rating: 3.5/5 Gavin Miller

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