By Subhash K Jha
Film: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”; Director: J.A. Bayona; Cast: Chris Patt, Bryce Dallas Howard; Rating: *** 1/2 (3 and a half stars)
First things first. The fifth Jurassic film is the finest yet. Insanely outrageously entertaining, relentlessly absorbing, constantly searching for that middle ground that connects Man and Beast, sometimes the Beast being so close to Man, they could be the one and the same.
The superbly-scripted, handsomely-shot film flogs the formula of Man & Beast in collaboration and combat, without any sign of fatigue. We have seen all of this before “the urge to preserve wildlife and its plunder by avaricious ruthless businessmen” umpteen times.
Director Juan Antonia Garcia Bayona tears through the tedium of the trite plot to pull out an elemental, heart-warming tale where the recognizable cliched tropes sing and dance in a merry mix of exotic locations and gripping action.
Straightaway, we can declare the action in “Jurassic World..” to be so tightly wound and so ceaselessly gripping that we are often reminded of what edge-of-the-seat entertainment once meant. The “..Fallen Kingdom” celebrates the lost pleasures of primeval entertainment where fear often combines with humour in an unexpected marriage of mirth and melancholy.
Often I felt I was going back into the world of Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” as those over-sized dinosaurs bit into human flesh gobbling up the entire frame without a burp. Gruesome but gloriously trippy, this is where gore never becomes a bore. The chase sequence where our core-heroes run to save the dinos from destruction while saving their own lives, are sheer heart-in-the-mouth stuff.
The writing is predictable, but legible and lucid. Every moment has a relevance to the plot. Nothing is random. The tensions are all pre-ordained and yet gripping. There is no beating around the bush the way the new Lara Croft film meandered through the lush greenery in search of a plot. “Jurassic World..” knows exactly what it is doing. There is no attempt to hide the entertainment value or garb the relentless thrills in high-falutin pseudo-philosophy as seen in “The Avengers” or “Blade Runner”, films which cloaked the primeval pleasure of taking the audience for a ride with self-important jargon.
This film saves not just a dying near-extinct species. It also saves the wildlife-preservation genre from complete collapse. Chris Patt is the kind of charismatic actor who can amuse us even when the script is not into laughter. Together Chris and Bryce Dallas Howard make a watchable couple who redeem not just their characters’ mutual affection but also the sheer pedestrianism of the goings-on by just being ahead of expectations.
Cleverly, the Spanish director (known for his dark deep horror films) plunges the plot into two different stratospheres. The first-quarter unfolds on a panoramic volcanic island which explodes into a thousand embers of extinct humanity. The sight is a spectacle of ruination.
The later portions set in a fairytale mansion replete with a dying millionaire (James Cromwell), his darling little grand-daughter (Isabella Sermon), her stern but caring nanny(Geraldine Chaplin) and a villainous trusted employee (Rafe Spall) who wants to regenerate the dinosaurs as global weaponry.
It is all done in a tone of incredulity inviting us into its fold with a ferocious flamboyance which is never guilty of taking itself too seriously. This is a hugely-entertaining franchise-mongering project where we are not allowed to lose interest even for a moment.