New Written Review from Mike Crowley on You’ll Probably Agree: Jurassic World Dumbinion

Life needs to stop finding a way. Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park works as one movie. Not two, and certainly not six. Collin Trevorrow is no Steven Spielberg, as much as he or J.J. Abrams tries to be. Jurassic Park has gone through a similar sequel cycle Jaws did. Only this one spanned across generations and gained a newer young fan base; nonetheless, Trevarrow’s reboot of Jurassic ParkJurassic World, didn’t win me over. If Trevarrow found life in Jurassic World, then Dominion is the limping zombie of a long-dead franchise.

Any sign of an original idea is replaced with endless callbacks to feed audiences a grand dose of memberberries. Every element of the film must remind us of the original’s existence, down to having a young Wayne Knight lookalike make wisecracks at one of the movie’s heroes. And you can bet your bottom dollar there’s a can of barbasol thick and rich shaving cream in the film.  

To make matters worse, the plot of Jurassic World: Dominion is convoluted as hell. I’ve seen all the Jurassic films, but I couldn’t understand what Doctors Grant (Sam Niel) and Sattler (Laura Dern) were chasing after or why. In a nutshell, Jurassic World: Dominion is about rescuing a child. One whose genetic sequence, as revealed in Fallen Kingdom, is the next step in evolution; creating human life without the need for insemination. Thus little Massie Lockwood’s (Isabella Sermon) blood holds the key to solving the world of its dino problem. 

Since Fallen Kingdom’s ending events, dinosaurs openly roam the earth, causing humans to fear their extinction. To keep the peaceful dinos safe from danger by the world’s authoritarians, the former Mr. and Mrs. Grant share a common cause: to save the dinosaurs! I think? The circumstances of relinking old cast members with one another don’t seem to matter to the producers in charge. As long as the audience claps when they see Jeff Goldblum on screen, the honchos at Universal are happy. If the paycheck is big enough, actors, uh, find a way. 

If the old gang’s return doesn’t win over the parents, maybe the new ones will satisfy their kids. Just what I wanted to see. The same characters I was bored with in the first place, adding nothing new to their persona. What do we know about Chris Pratt’s Owen other than he’s good at taming wild raptors? A trick involving holding your hand out and saying, “whoa, easy, fella.” Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire is a character whose arc closed in Jurassic World. The once businesswoman turned philanthropist is in Dominion only to protect young Massie from abductors. A job she doesn’t even attempt to put any effort in.

At one point, Massie gets on her bike to leave the cottage Owen and Clair have her confined in for safety. When Clair asks Massie where she’s going, Massie angrily spouts something along the lines of “you’re not my real mother; you can’t control me.” Feeling hurt, Clair lets Massie, a highly valued government target, go. Moments later, Owen returns to the cottage to inform Cassie that Massie’s gone missing. So Clair panics. Did the screenwriters look this over? Or did anyone on the set object to the stupidity in Clair’s character choice? Why would Clair be surprised by Massie’s abduction when she willingly let her leave? 

Small details like common sense or subtext slip by Trevarrow’s Jurassic team. Although Fallen Kingdom ended on a massive cliffhanger with Dinos populating the planet, there’s no real sense of danger. The T-rex’s San Fransisco rampage in The Lost World presented a more explicit threat than the dinosaurs roaming the planet in Dominion. All the bad guys like the T-rex, raptors, and venom spitting dilophosaurus appear to be off the grid of human civilization. So, where’s the risk of extinction? Everything seems to be going fine other than a pterodactyl attacking civilians from time to time. 

There’s a reason men like Steven Spielberg is a legend. The man directed Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List within the same year. He made aliens friendly and reimagined how war movies are shot indefinitely. Steven learned his mistake in making unnecessary sequels with The Lost World. But the big franchise machine wanted more, so Steve gave the project off to someone else. If they do well, great; if they screw it up, he’s not responsible. It’s a win, win situation. George Lucas took a while, but he used the same playbook when selling Star Wars to Disney. 

Being the fall guy for Spielberg, Collin Trevorrow can’t replicate that experience of seeing the first Jurassic Park because it’s not meant to be mimicked or repeated. Before 1993 audiences never saw a realistic live-action representation of dinosaurs. The closest thing they had were cheap puppets. Witnessing the T-rex for the first time was bone-chilling. I strongly recall hearing the rumble in the theater across from me playing Jurassic Park. Those vibrations came from the footprints of its T-rex. When gathering the courage to see the movie with my family, the howl of the Tyrannosaurus Rex could have broken the windows of the cineplex while sending a shiver down my spine. 

There was nothing like it at the time. When Laura Dern removes her sunglasses to view the brontosaurus, we felt what she felt. “He (Steven Spielberg) did it. The crazy S.O.B. did it.” He brought dinosaurs to life. And to this day, those dinos look best in the first film—a good lesson in learning that less is more. 

After spending two trilogies in what’s the equivalent of a reunion show, Jurassic World: Dominion reminds audiences of how great Spielberg’s 93 classic was while inadvertently distancing itself from any form of identity. The charm the ensemble cast brought to the first film is something only Speilberg can do. J.P. didn’t just work because of the effects, but its characters. 

Dr. Grant extensively learns to become a father when protecting Jurassic Park founder John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) children. Dr. Malcolm’s skepticism in the park proves correct, and Dr. Hammond understands why life shouldn’t be tampered with after uncontrollable dinos overrun the park. Furthermore, J.P.‘s action works because other than the kids, we don’t know if the main characters will make it home. In Jaws, Spielberg gave his characters the same amount of care, even killing Quint unexpectedly

Jurassic World: Dominion and all the Jurassic sequels don’t have the heart or brains that Steven brought to his pictures. With the magic gone for decades, I can’t understand how so many people love these films. Watching the identical chase sequences complete with the same last-minute saves on a 2.5-hour loop doesn’t entertain me. Nor does the sloppy editing, bloated laughable plotline, and shallow characters. Please listen to Dr. Hammond when he tells you to stop toying with evolution. This franchise needs to go extinct. 

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