MOVIES & BOOZE: Planning a cinema trip this weekend?

Esther McCarthy reviews Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Book Club

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (12A) ***

 

LIVELY ACTION sequences and an impending sense of doom help peel over the many cracks of the latest movie in the Jurassic series. But it really needs to evolve if it’s to avoid extinction. 

 

Following the energetic and fun 2015 movie, which succeeded in breathing new life into the series for a new family audience, film fans responded by making it a bona fide smash. It broke opening-weekend records and went on to become the fifth highest-grossing film worldwide of all time. It took a massive $1,67 billion at the box office, cementing our ongoing fascination with all things dinosaur. 

 

Perhaps that very success is why JA Bayona’s film plays it so frustratingly safe. Getting the Spanish director of acclaimed horror The Orphanage on board looked like an inspired choice  -  and he certainly brings elements of the supernatural and eerie to the mix. But ultimately this is a conventional summer blockbuster which is too similar to the last film, and not as much fun. 

 

Set three years after the events of the last film, when the fancy Jurassic World resort descended into chaos when the dinosaurs escaped from containment, the iconic creatures face a new threat. 

 

Isla Nublar, the once family friendly island resort where they have been left to roam freely, comes under threat when the area’s massive volcano, long dormant, starts roaring back into life and threatening to wipe out the entire dinosaur population. 

 

Book Club (12A) *

 

THE MAKERS OF Book Club take a stellar cast and utterly squander them in this meandering movie which lacks humour and focus. 

 

The likes of Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda and Richard Dreyfuss deserve better, but you’d have to wonder what in the script possessed them to sign up in the first place.

 

Keaton is Diana, a woman struggling to get life back on track after being widowed, and trying to keep peace with her well-meaning but domineering daughters. 

 

She has a monthly book club with lifelong friends Sharon (Bergen), who is still dealing with a decades-old divorce, Carol, whose once-sexy marriage is going through a bit of a slump, and Vivian (Fonda) for who age is just a number. 

 

When Fifty Shades of Grey becomes their latest read, the women are inspired to spice up their love lives, getting jiggy with their partners or trying online dating for the first time. 

 

At least, that’s the initial premise  -  the Fifty Shades element is abandoned for much of the film, as it struggles to keep up with what is a daft premise. What emerges is a half-baked episode of Older Desperate Housewives that makes little sense, while the male characters are given little to do at all. 

 

Movies featuring older characters and targeted towards older audiences deserve to be better than this.