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Jurassic World Dominion (A Movie Review)

Jurassic World Dominion


Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, Justice Smith, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, Daniella Pineda, Kristoffer Polaha, Elva Trill, Dimitri Thivaios, Varada Sethu, Caleb Hearon, Freya Parker, Ahir Shah and Alexander Owen.

Screenplay by Emily Carmichael & Colin Trevorrow.

Directed by Colin Trevorrow.

Distributed by Universal Pictures. 146 minutes. Rated R.

Dinosaurs are perfect proof that eventually many things must face extinction. And even if this weren’t already planned to be the finale to the six film Jurassic series, Jurassic World Dominion shows that it is time… probably past time… for this series to go the way of the dinosaur.

Jurassic World Dominion is not just trying way, way too hard, but it’s pretty much everything that is wrong with big-budget action filmmaking today. It’s big, dumb, loud, and nearly wall-to-wall jump scares. The characters – even though they are (or were) brilliant scientists – do the absolutely dumbest things at the absolute worst times and run and scream like little girls.

There are so many dinosaur fights and chases that it makes your head hurt – and worse yet, eventually it gets kind of boring. I’m surprised they didn’t hire Vin Diesel and the Rock to come on board, because this is the Fast and Furious of the dinosaur set.

The big selling point of Jurassic World Dominion is that it brings back all three of the stars of the original Jurassic Park – and it’s great to see Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, even if they aren’t given all that much interesting to do. It also shows off that as actors and characters they are so much more intriguing than Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard from the second trilogy.

The problem is that bringing back the backbone of the original 1993 film, it shows how much more Stephen Spielberg was able to accomplish with so much less. Less killing, less action, less cutting-edge special effects, and yet Jurassic Park is so much better than Jurassic World Dominion that it is hard to believe that they come from the same bloodline.

Dominion continues on the concept from the ending of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, in which the island the dinosaurs lived on is destroyed by a heretofore unmentioned volcano, and the dinosaurs escape to the mainland. A few years later, dinosaurs have spread across the Earth, living in an uncomfortable truce with the humans and other animals of the world.

Strangely, for all the dino-fights in Dominion, the prehistoric beasties aren’t even really the focal point of either of the two major plot threads here – one with the old cast, one with the new.

At first the characters are spread all around the world. Dr. Ellie Sadler (Dern) is looking to irradicate this new species of giant super locusts which she believes are mutations being created by the conglomerate BioSyn, and which could potentially destroy the world’s food supply. Therefore she tracks down her ex, Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) to try to help her get proof. (Grant is still working uncovering dinosaur bones, which seems like a bit of a Quixotic pursuit when the dinos are living all around them.)

They get access to BioSyn’s remote Italian compound – which was created to house dinosaurs – through Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who has been hired as BioSyn’s resident ethics expert. (No, I don’t know why an evil corporation would need an ethics expert, nor why they would hire an expert in chaos theory for the role.)

In the meantime, Owen Grady (Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Howard) are living off the grid in a tiny shack in the middle of the woods, protecting Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) the human clone they saved in Fallen Kingdom, as well as Owen’s old raptor buddy Blue. When poachers steal Blue’s baby and Maisie – because, evil, I guess – they unsurprisingly end up at the same BioSyn compound, where the evil owner (Campbell Scott) is sure all of these things will make him even more wealthy.

What could possibly go wrong?

Jurassic World Dominion runs way too long (almost two and a half hours, a good 20 minutes longer than even the longest of the previous films. Even the simple science aspects of this film are fuzzy and off – one of the main predators in this film (a Therizinosaurus) may be scary looking and have long, razor-sharp claws, but the species were herbivores, so she should probably not be involved in all the killing.

And then, the film closes out on a heavy-handed ecological message which really has little to do with anything that has preceded it in the film.

Unlike the dinosaurs, the Jurassic series is going out with a whimper. Hopefully, no mad scientist will see dollar signs and try to revive the franchise somewhere down the line. It has earned its extinction.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2022 All rights reserved. Posted: June 10, 2022.

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