TL;DR – A disappointing dilemma for this dinosaur dynasty, a dismal and dreary debacle.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film
Jurassic World Dominion Review –
I go into this film with a conflicting stand with the Jurassic Park/World franchise. When it is good, it is so good, and without a doubt, the first Jurassic Park still sits in my top 10 Films of All Time. However, at this point, there may have more misses than hits in the franchise, and there comes a point that even the draw of dinosaurs can not fix that. Well, I am always an optimist, and well, I might be the only one who like Jurassic Park III, so can I say that I went into this film hopeful but still warry. I should have been a touch more warry.
So to set the scene, at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the team had a choice to kill all the dinosaurs off or release them into the North American continent, and they chose the latter. We saved them from a second extension, but maybe at the cost of our own lives. As the Battle at Big Rock showed, there may be awe but also sharp teeth. As the world starts to work out how this new existence will play out, Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and Maisie (Isabella Sermon) live a quiet life out of the way, right up until Blue’s child is kidnapped and Owen swears to her that he will get that baby back.
Okay, oomph, look, I am not going to be very optimistic about this film. That is not to say there are no features that worked. While I will get to the representation of the dinosaurs in this film, I will say that the artistry behind their creation was still a delight. A lot of care has gone into the artistry of their composition, and I deeply respect that. Most of it was fine on the acting front, and a lot of the awkwardness is likely due to the COVID restrictions when filming. Of the new characters, Dichen Lachman makes an instant impression, and I am honestly shocked that they did not have her more in the film. Also, on this front, DeWanda Wise improved every scene she was in.
However, from here, I just struggled to find anything to hold on to as the film slept walked through its central narrative. To begin with, the last movie, filled with its issues that it was, went out of its way to shove dinosaurs into the real world and get away from the isolated island feel, and we saw that it could be excellent in Battle at Big Rock. But bar a brief sojourn in Malta, that all is lost to the dreary narrative, which is even more frustrating considering they just end up at another Jurassic World-like place but in the mountains rather than an island. I am sure people would be shocked to discover that the biotech company getting all those government grants is evil. At least to the film’s credit, they never pretend this is not going to be the only outcome.
This brings us to the dinosaurs, the thing that should be at the core of what Jurassic Word is doing. To be clear, there are some exciting moments with dinosaurs. Unfortunately, they were pretty much all revealed in the trailers bar one cleaver sail bait and switch in the third act. But more than any of this, instead of being the stars of the show, it instead felt for most of the film like they were at best window dressing and at worst a neutered mess. The biggest casualty of this is Giganotosaurus, who is presented with the same grandeur as the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III but with none of the latter’s presence. It becomes apparent that this film will not have the strength to kill off any of its cast, so there is no threat. So you get a parade of putting one person into ‘danger’, and then they escape, insert the next person, and repeat. Like a dull narrative yoyo that you must repeat over and over again.
Part of the issue is that the film is more interested in these weird locusts tied to the biotech company than the dinosaurs themselves. These locusts are the McGuffin for the film and feel like a Star Trek answer for a Star Wars question and completely miss the film’s tone. Thinking back to the film, I think there was but one moment when they captured the majesty of dinosaurs and humans interacting in the world, as Apatosaurus walked through a lumber yard, but that was it. Even the few times they do want to kill a random character off, it is underwhelming or so predictable you can see it coming from a mile away.
In the end, do we recommend Jurassic World Dominion? Unfortunately, not. There are some moments in this film that stand out. But the lack of a strong protagonist, the lack of willingness of the film to commit to putting their cast in danger, and the moments just feel like they were ripped from better movies make it difficult to watch at times. If you liked Jurassic World Dominion, we would recommend to you Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Jurassic World Dominion
Directed by – Colin Trevorrow
Story by – Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow
Screenplay by – Emily Carmichael & Colin Trevorrow
Based on – Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Music by – Michael Giacchino
Cinematography by – John Schwartzman
Edited by – Mark Sanger
Production/Distribution Companies – Amblin Entertainment, Perfect World Pictures & Universal Pictures
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
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: M; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13