Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom: Release date, cast, plot, rumors

Who you calling extinct? The fifth film in the classic dinosaur series should produce another dino-mite blockbuster. Here's what we know about it.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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Gael Cooper
7 min read

Open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur


The series of dinosaur movies that began with the 1993 hit movie Jurassic Park is still stomping around, re-energized by 2015's Jurassic World. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is the fifth film in the series. It picks up three years after the new dinosaur theme park ended in tourist-chomping disaster on Isla Nublar, the island that was also home to the original park.

A sequel was a natural after Jurassic World became the first movie ever to gross over $500 million worldwide. The film eventually became the fifth-highest-grossing film of all time, and the biggest earner in the Jurassic franchise. These dinos are far from extinct.

As of June 21, the day before the movie's official US opening, reviews were middling. Metacritic, CNET's sister site, has Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom rated at 52 out of 100 by critics, considered mixed or average reviews. It's earned a 55 percent freshness rating at Rotten Tomatoes. But reviews aren't everything: 98 percent of those on Rotten Tomatoes voting on movies they want to see have expressed interest in this one, and it's sure to rake in Jurassic-sized dollars.

The first Jurassic World film asked viewers to suspend their disbelief in many ways. 

Viewers have to accept that a new theme park could be allowed to operate even after the original park concept ended in the dinosaurs eating the staff. That Chris Pratt's Owen Grady could have established a fatherly link with Blue, one of the raptors he helped raise, as if he were training a German Shepherd. That Bryce Dallas Howard's character, park operations manager Claire Dearing, would run for her life from dinosaurs yet never take off her painfully high heels. And that because there were two smart-for-their-age kids related to a park staffer in the first film, there should be two new ones in this movie. 

Or viewers could just ignore all that and wait for the excellent realistic dinosaurs to a) fight each other again or b) snack on some more humans. Really, the plot doesn't matter in the Jurassic movies as much as the stomping and the teeth-gnashing. Bring on more prehistoric predators!

Release date, production info

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will open on June 6 in the UK, June 21 in Australia and June 22 in the US. It reportedly runs 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Much of the sequel was filmed on soundstages in England, with Hawaii standing in for the supposed Central American Isla Nublar. Some filming was reportedly done in Wales, specifically in the Brecon Beacons National Park

Like the original Jurassic Park films, there are three films planned in the Jurassic World series, with No. 3, untitled at press time, scheduled to open June 11, 2021.

Cast: Who's who?

Returning characters

  • Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, dinosaur whisperer, er, trainer
  • Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing, former operations manager at Jurassic World, now a dinosaur rights activist
  • B. D. Wong as Dr. Henry Wu, former head geneticist at Jurassic World and the original Jurassic Park
  • Jeff Goldblum in a cameo as Dr. Ian Malcolm, chaos-theory expert who consulted for the original Jurassic Park

New faces

Plot news, rumors and theories

Rescuing the dinosaurs: The trailers make the basic plot outline pretty clear. It's three years after Jurassic World ended in disaster, and the surviving dinosaurs have been left to freely roam Isla Nublar. 

Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire is now a dinosaur rights activist, and she and Chris Pratt's Owen are heading back to the island to save the dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption. (Her Dinosaur Protection Group even has a website.) Claire has teamed up with Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), the partner of original park founder John Hammond (Richard Attenborough, RIP), and plans to take the rescued dinosaurs to a sanctuary. Owen doesn't want to go, but Claire convinces him it's worth it to save Blue, the raptor he raised and trained. But it turns out others want to get their hands on the dinosaurs for nefarious reasons.

Bluer than Blue: Owen's pet raptor Blue is the only surviving raptor, and there are hints she'll play a major part in the plot. "Blue's DNA will form the architecture of a completely new creature," a voice says in one of the trailers. It seems as if the secret recipe for creating dinosaurs is no longer a secret, with some characters intending to make and use them as weapons. A source told the Daily Mail that Blue's DNA will be combined with the fearsome Indominus Rex, the hybrid dino that died in the last film.

Character building: There'll be a third Jurassic World film in 2021 and Colin Trevorrow, who directed the first of the trilogy and co-wrote and produced this second one, will direct. He told Entertainment Weekly that Claire and Owen will be back for No. 3. (It's not like we really expected either of the stars to die in this film.) And some of the characters introduced in Fallen Kingdom will play big roles in the final film. Read our interview with Trevorrow here

Watch in horror: Get ready to be scared. Trevorrow also told EW that "if I could contextualize each film, I would say Jurassic World was an action adventure, Fallen Kingdom is kind of a horror suspense film, and Jurassic World 3 will be a science thriller in the same way that Jurassic Park was."

Splish-splash: There's reportedly an underwater scene where Owen has to rescue Claire and IT technician Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) from a sinking gyrosphere. It sounds like a lot of bodily fluids were, uh, released in the pool where that scene was filmed.

Heel! Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire was laughed at for running away from dinosaurs in high heels. She reportedly splits the difference in this film. While she's seen in heels at her office job, when it comes to fleeing the dinosaurs, Claire packs sensible boots.

Welcome back: As fans already know, Jeff Goldblum is reprising his role as Dr. Ian Malcolm. Malcolm is the chaos-theory specialist who warned John Hammond about the consequences of trying to control nature in the original Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World. Malcolm seems to be called to testify at some sort of hearing involving the dinosaurs' fates. "These creatures were here before us," Malcolm says in a trailer. "If we're not careful, they're going to be here after."

Critical response

Reviews have started to come out, and here's a spoiler-free peek at what the reviewers are saying.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom boldly sinks teeth into gothic horror
The second half of the movie is like nothing you've seen in a Jurassic Park film -- and very little like any summer blockbuster. ... Far from being a self-contained story, the plot changes the world of the series as it lives up to its title. Unlike many sequels, The Lost World included, Fallen Kingdom leaves the franchise in a very different place than before it began, setting up a third movie that could be the most intriguing, and insane, movie in the whole franchise."  --Richard Trenholm, CNET

A thrill ride that finally escapes the theme park    
"(Director J.A.) Bayona not only nods to the histories of classic monster movies and the legacy of original Jurassic helmer Steven Spielberg; he brings his own experience to bear, treating monsters like actual characters and trapping us in a vast mansion that's as full of secrets as the site of his breakthrough 2007 film The Orphanage. Audiences put off by some dumb characterizations in the last film have much less to complain about here, while those requiring only some spectacular predators and exciting chase scenes should greet this outing as warmly as its predecessor."  --Jon DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Dinos Return in a Sequel Drained of Suspense
"The major problem with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom — the fifth installment in this dinosaur series, and the second of a prospective trilogy — is that the makers treat the action and suspense sequences in the way most of us go to the dentist. Director J. A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) goes through the motions of these scenes, even staging a "hiding from dinosaurs" set piece that was the most memorable section of Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park movie from 1993. But what was exciting and scary then feels expected and very hackneyed now."  --Dan Callahan, The Wrap

Life Finds a Way, But Sometimes It Shouldn't
"In the wake of the box-office lunacy that drove Jurassic World to become the fifth-highest grossing movie of all time, Fallen Kingdom is a frustrating display of overconfidence. It's occasionally elevated by director J.A. Bayona's penchant for taut human-versus-dino showdowns, but fleeting moments of inspired filmmaking can't overshadow the broader tendency of this material to sag into stupidity."  --Eric Kohn, IndieWire

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