Review: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is big on dino power, short on substance

When a volcano endangers the dinosaurs once housed in Jurassic World, it’s up to the old park staff to save them. USA TODAY

One lesson that has always been hanging around the “Jurassic Park” movies gets hammered home but good in the massive franchise’s fifth installment: Dinosaurs rule, humans drool.

Directed by J.A. Bayona (“A Monster Calls“), “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (★★½ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters nationwide Thursday night) has all the requisite rampaging dinos, dizzying action scenes and, sure, a few flesh-and-blood heroes running around saving the day. But there’s just not enough underneath that well-trod surface — an intriguing ethical conundrum bears heady fruit at times, yet is just as quickly shelved in favor of roaring lava or unleashed reptiles.

More: Indoraptor kills it as the villainous new dinosaur of ‘Fallen Kingdom’

The disastrous events of “Jurassic World” — and the other movies, really — should have taught mankind to quit monkeying with dino DNA. Three years after the destruction of the Titanic of theme parks, a bunch of them are still on Isla Nublar, where a volcano is about to erupt and wipe them out again. Congressional hearings — featuring Jeff Goldblum’s returning Dr. Ian Malcolm from the original “Jurassic Park” flicks — determine that their fate is in God’s hands, not mankind’s. (Which is kind of not fair because man created them and all but whatever, guys.)

One person who does want to help is Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), the…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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