Three full years have passed since Jurassic World opened to nostalgic audiences across the globe. Written and directed by Colin Trevorrow, the adventurous reboot earned $1.67 billion worldwide in the summer of 2015, and it currently sits at the number five spot on the list of top grossing movies of all time, behind Avatar (at the top), followed by Titanic, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War.  

The title Jurassic World refers to a resort-style dinosaur zoo on the fictitious Central American island of “Isla Nublar,” and it – of course – suffers the same fate as its infamous predecessor Jurassic Park did in 1993. The movie formula is “65 million years in the making”: dinosaurs are scientifically brought back to life via dino-DNA found in a prehistoric mosquito. The large animals, once fully grown and predatory, then escape from their exhibits in a series of critical events, reeking havoc on the very humans who gave them life.

Moviegoers were smitten with the frighteningly pleasing cinematic experience of the first Jurassic Park. It was unlike any other blockbuster in history, cultivating an extremely large fan base. From the plot to the animatronics and CGI, Steven Spielberg changed the sci-fi movie genre with this adaptation of Michael Crichton’s bestselling novel of the same name, and it’s global success spawned two sequels – Jurassic Park: The Lost World (another Crichton/Spielberg adaptation), and Jurassic Park 3, the final chapter of the trilogy starring returning favourite Sam Neill as Dr. Grant.

Recently, the fifth installment of this dino-sized Universal Studios franchise, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, stomped into the number one spot at the box office, and holding its ranking for two weeks in a row. Earning $932 million worldwide so far, there’s no doubt it will join the prestigious “Billion Dollar Club” by the end of this week.

The new lead characters from the first Jurassic World, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, Avengers: Infinity War) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help), head back to Isla Nublar in hopes of saving the abandoned species despite the island’s dormant volcano roaring to life and threatening a second extinction of the primal species. Of course, this doesn’t go according to plan, and the rest is a white-knuckled thrill ride in paradise. Humans just never learn, do they?

J.A Boyega is behind the camera now, credited as both a contributing writer and sole director. In the opening scene, Boyega takes the audience back into the most visceral and terrifying aspects of Steven Spielberg’s original and does so throughout the film’s 2h 8m. Fallen Kingdom is an ode to the dark and rainy settings, technological advancements, and likeable main characters of the original trilogy, and Boyega delivers on all accounts.

There are some interesting parallels in this film, as well. Fallen Kingdom sees a fictitious volcano erupting on Isla Nublar, and it was shot on location in Hawaii. It’s ironic because since filming wrapped, Hawaii’s very real Kilauea volcano has devastated part of the island, spewing “lava balls” and flowing molten rivers into the Pacific Ocean. Another perhaps intentional parallel lies between how these dinosaurs on the island and endangered species on our planet are treated. It’s not only convincing, it’s exemplary. There’s a scene in the first act of the movie involving a Brachiosaurus that will just melt your heart into magma. You’ll know it when you see it.

In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdomdinosaurs face extinction for the second time, and the film’s plot sparks a new conversation about their existence: if humans brought dinosaurs back to life in the 90’s with Jurassic Park, and they’ve now escaped a second time in Jurassic World, why should we save them? They already died once! The truly disappointing part of this storyline is how believable it is. There’s an underlying theme of political unrest in Fallen Kingdom, and it doesn’t just speak to Isla Nublar. It unexpectedly holds a mirror up to our societal norms as a whole, making us question who we truly are as humans. In so many ways, the human race is the cause and effect of our own failures – the wildlife on this planet are victims of our greed.

Overall, this Jurassic sequel hits every sci-fi blockbuster marker you could ask for. The ending, although a bit choppy and abrupt, finally moves the franchise forward in a new and exciting way. There’s even a short after-the-credits scene! Whatever the next chapter brings, Fallen Kingdom did a phenomenal job at setting it up. With a recipe of talented big name actors,  realistic CGI, impressive cinematography, the return of Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldbloom, Jurassic Park), more dinosaurs than any other Jurassic film, and a whole nest-full of dinosaur [Easter] eggs (everybody knows the T-Rex loves herself a fresh goat for supper), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has taken yet another toothy bite out of the movie industry.

“Life finds a way.”

TIP: Watch this movie in IMAX 3D, as the director and movie studio intended + stay after the credits for a short but enticing extra scene.

4 Popcorn Kernels / 5

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About the Author

Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.