Leapin' Lizards! The Dinos Are Loose Again In 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom'

Jun 22, 2018
Originally published on June 22, 2018 5:39 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Steven Spielberg's pets are off the leash again.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM")

CORNISH: It's been 25 years and four movies since T. rexes, velociraptors and their variously lethal cousins stomped on screen in "Jurassic Park." They're still stomping in their fifth movie, "Jurassic World:" Fallen Kingdom, and the reverberations are particularly pronounced this time.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM")

CORNISH: The film opened in many countries around the world two weeks ago and opened very strongly in China last week. Before it played in a single U.S. theater, the film had already collected more than $450 million worldwide. That brings the total for the "Jurassic Park" franchise to more than $4 billion - small wonder the dinosaurs are still stomping, though critic Bob Mondello says in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," they are once again threatened with extinction.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Jeff Goldblum's Dr. Malcolm has been warning about genetic engineering since the first "Jurassic Park" movie. And as a volcano threatens to wipe out Isla Nublar and its dino inhabitants, he still is.

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JEFF GOLDBLUM: (As Ian Malcolm) Life cannot be contained.

MONDELLO: We cloned them. We brought them back. And if the volcano doesn't do its work...

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GOLDBLUM: (As Ian Malcolm) Life finds a way.

MONDELLO: Kind of like this series, which seemed headed for extinction after that terrible third installment, then bounced back when Chris Pratt did "Jurassic Parks And Recreation" or whatever that last one was called. Pratt's back, as is Bryce Dallas Howard, though in more sensible heels now that filmmakers have been warned about putting damsels in distress. These days, she's punching the villains and calming down a nerdy guy.

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JUSTICE SMITH: (As Franklin) Claire, it's the T. rex. It's the T. rex.

BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD: (As Claire Dearing) Will you stop? It's not the T. rex.

MONDELLO: He's on hand to do whatever screaming is necessary.

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SMITH: (As Franklin, screaming).

HOWARD: (As Claire Dearing) See - not a T. rex.

SMITH: (As Franklin) How is this better?

MONDELLO: That's a question you may find yourself asking as they reintroduce the raptors and velociraptors and a new breed called indoraptors, which mostly made me wonder if there are outdoor raptors. The indoraptors does seem comfortable chomping on people indoors and is, says an auctioneer...

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TOBY JONES: (As Mr. Eversol) This is the most dangerous creature that ever walked the Earth.

MONDELLO: So of course its cage has a latch without a lock. Spanish director J.A. Bayona has made two differently terrific movies before this, one about a tsunami and the other about a haunted house. In the first half of "Fallen Kingdom," he flexes his tidal wave muscles with whale-sized dino fish. And he gets to the haunted house part later, complete with monsters on the roof, escapes by a dumbwaiter and much trying to be very quiet in a reptile-infested library.

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MONDELLO: He keeps the close escapes close, the scenery pretty, and he wrangles his digital dino menagerie a lot more persuasively than he does the script, which again pictures capitalism as the biggest threat to dinutopia (ph).

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RAFE SPALL: (As Eli Mills) You never thought how many millions a trained predator might be worth.

MONDELLO: Speaking of money, the last "Jurassic" film made more than a billion dollars worldwide, so even though "Fallen Kingdom" is kind of pre-Jurassic in terms of sophistication and only an OK time-waster...

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GOLDBLUM: (As Ian Malcolm) These creatures were here before us, and if we're not careful...

(SOUNDBITE OF DINOSAUR ROARING)

GOLDBLUM: (As Ian Malcolm) ...They're going to be here after.

MONDELLO: This is apparently part two of a trilogy. Where's that climate-changing meteor when you need it? I'm Bob Mondello. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.