Twenty-five years ago, Steven Spielberg unleashed dinosaurs upon the world. It is a true testament to their power and appeals that even today in the midst of so many alternatives for spectacle, few sights on the big screen are as glorious as a roaring Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is a direct follow up to 2015’s blockbuster Jurassic World. That film smashed box office records and proved audiences still had an appetite for the beasts who walked the earth 65 million years ago. Fallen Kingdom can’t recapture the pure awe and delight of that film in seeing dinosaurs after 14 years for the first time in a fully functioning park. However, it does take the story in exciting new directions.

Without going into details, the plot starts out very promising, makes a surprising turn halfway through and gets bogged down in clichés, but ends on a note that leaves you excited for the third instalment. The film boasts plenty of stunning set pieces, some even the most ambitious we’ve ever seen in the franchise.  The action takes place in various locales, ranging from a spacious island to claustrophobic mansion. This allows director J.A Bayona to balance out the large and epic set pieces with more creepy and intimate ones. The dinosaurs themselves look better than ever and are in more varieties as well. Fallen Kingdom further establishes interaction between the humans and dinosaurs that goes beyond running and getting eaten by them. And yes, it all looks dazzling on a giant IMAX screen.

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High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Characters make dumb and questionable decisions throughout the film, but how else are they going to constantly be put in life-threatening situations? Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles and do perfectly fine. Both share light and breezy chemistry, their occasional banter is entertaining, and each has at least one shining moment. None of the new characters makes a mark and is just there to serve the plot. There’s a rather unique revelation regarding one of them, which is left to be explored in the next part. Human villains are among the films weakest point as they are lazily written with no depth or motivation beyond the obvious.

Five instalments into any franchise, the makers struggle with keeping things fresh and offering viewers something new enough to return. While Fallen Kingdom feels like a mix of a lot that has come before, it does add a few new elements. It also leaves you with the promise of Jurassic World 3 being the bravest instalment yet. This burdens Fallen Kingdom with having to settle for being a transitional chapter between the first and third rather than a wholesome story on its own. The film also introduces interesting moral dilemmas. Though it never makes the time to flesh them out and address them, they make for interesting “what would you do” conversation with your social groups after. There’s just the right amount of humour that offers up a few laughs but never at the expense of diffusing the tension.

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Jurassic Word: Fallen Kingdom is a definite step down from its predecessor and has its flaws. Nevertheless, it still delivers plenty of thrilling dinosaur action, a fun duo of protagonists and pushes the franchise forward into uncharted territory. It’s also consistently entertaining, visually stunning and crisply edited so two hours fly by. If you’ve enjoyed the previous instalments, make it a priority to watch this on the biggest screen you can.

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