June 8th, 2022
MOVIE: JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION
STARRING: CHRIS PRATT, BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD, LAURA DERN, SAM NEILL, JEFF GOLDBLUM, DEWANDA WISE
DIRECTED BY: COLIN TREVORROW
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 1 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
If I close my eyes, I can see and hear everything from Jurassic Park, because it’s a film that has left an imprint on me. The quotes- “shoot herrr”, or “Raptors? You’ve bred raptors?”, or how about, “Hold onto your butts”- that all comes up from memory. Or the gorgeous musical score of John Williams, the characters that became household names, or just the image of a t-rex’s eyeball glaring into the side window of a car. Like a hot poker on cattle hide, it is seared into my brain, a stamp that will never leave. That’s what Steven Spielberg did nearly 30-years ago, but that was then, and we can’t get it back. They’ve been trying to recapture the magic, with The Lost World, Jurassic Park 3, Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and now this- Jurassic World: Dominion. It brings me no pleasure to say that this is the worst yet. The magic is gone and what this feels like is an attempt for director Colin Trevorrow to put a broken egg back together. His hope is that we won’t notice the awfulness with notes of nostalgia and bigger dinosaur fights, but instead it’s just window dressing, in a movie that should be extinct. Jurassic World: Dominion is a colossal mess.
The events of Fallen Kingdom led to dinosaurs being released into the world and now dinosaurs and man must coexist. We see triceratops grazing in the Montana meadows, a brachiosaurus at a construction site, or a pterodactyl nesting on top of the World Trade tower. We then catch up with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), living in a cabin in the woods, staying hidden from evil corporations looking for the cloned girl we met from the last installment- Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). The evil genetics company is Biosyn, working under the guise of rescuing the dinosaurs to put them in an isolated valley, run by Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott doing his best Tim Cook impersonation as the villainous CEO), clearly doing more evil than good, along with the help of Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong returns). When the genetic splicing starts to mutate insects, this calls for the return of original cast members Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum and then when mercenaries kidnap Maisie, it leads to Owen and Claire determined to rescue her. It’s a whole lot going on, all while dinosaurs try to chew on some humans, and none of it works together.
Deciding what the biggest problem of Dominion is will be futile for viewers and is difficult for me. It’s ultimately all bad and becomes worse the more I think about it. The length is an exhausting two-hours and twenty-six minutes, where the moments of dinosaurs hunting the heroes breaks up the monotony. The screenplay is co-written by Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael, and they are still trying to wrangle all of the problems from the previous Jurassic World movies; Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are playing characters with zero personalities and have zero chemistry. The legacy cast members return and provide the only refreshing moments, but even their dialogue is stiff, forced to exist strictly for audiences to remember. On top of those bigger problems, there are characters that appear and disappear, too much focus on the raptor Blue, and a plot that falls off the rails midway through. It’s not that you expect much from the director of The Book of Henry, yet, it still left me wishing for so much more.
The positives I have for Dominion is a terrifying scene where mutated locusts attack two children on a farm. I certainly enjoyed seeing Dern, Neil, and Goldblum, but they retroactively weaken their characters. On top of that, Dominion sets up an original premise questioning how humans live with dinosaurs in their backyard, only to fall back on the same plot of every other movie. The sanctuary becomes Jurassic Park Version 6.0, with dinosaurs breaking out of their caged areas, and humans must run to survive. There’s also a bundle of small things that gnawed on my head like a t-rex on a goat. Every character holds their hands up to any dinosaur attacking them, like an Owen Grady jedi-mind-trick. Newcomers DeWanda Wise and Mamoudou Athie are given little to do other than be a pilot and Biosyn’s inside man, forcing them to be equally bland characters. And by the end, when we piece these three Jurassic World movies, there’s still a myriad of untied plot points.
It all goes back to what I said in my opening paragraph- I love Jurassic Park. It’s a movie that changed the way I see cinema, presenting something that I never would imagine could be real. I take zero joy in hating Jurassic World: Dominion but I left struggling to appreciate anything about it. There’s a non-existent musical score- an absolute travesty in this series, the dinosaurs fail to strike any terror, and the entire plot is a jumbled mess. Jurassic World: Dominion is terrible and they spared no expense.
JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION IS PLAYING IN THEATERS FRIDAY JUNE 10TH, 2022
1 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady