Friday, June 10, 2022

Jurassic World: Dominion - Review

After digging up the Jurassic franchise with 2015’s Jurassic World, and following it with the mercifully different Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2018, the series has reached its supposedly epic conclusion with Jurassic World: Dominion. While hybrid dinosaurs have been centered as the big bad toothy horrors of the previous two entries, Dominion provides the most absurd amalgamation for last, bringing back the its classic stars and merging them with the new cast for a misfire that’s sure to finally shift this series into extinction. 

Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history's most fearsome creatures.

The sixth entry in this long running franchise becomes the fifth example of failing to capture what made the first film soar. While there are interesting ideas present in both Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, both bring puzzling decisions that linger into this installment as well. From the continued insistence on militarizing dinosaurs or confounding black market sales, Jurassic World: Dominion features more of the same preposterous story plotting that makes very little sense. 

And this is even more frustrating when the ending of Fallen Kingdom tees up a new premise with heaps of potential that Dominion almost immediately squanders. Outside of a few establishing exposition or “cool” shots, the idea of these prehistoric creatures roaming the earth is barely explored. Instead, the story returns to the status quo, sending the characters to an isolated sanctuary in the mountains of Italy where they’re once again forced to survive the dinosaur’s territory. 

There are characters, though your level of interest in them is inevitably going to vary. The insertion of the original trio feels entirely forced, but as a nostalgic look back its fun at the very least to see Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum back together. And say what you will, they’re still more interesting than the new duo of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. The addition of DeWanda Wise is a welcome one, but her character doesn’t get much to do outside of aiding the main ones in their quest. 

When all is said and done, the one thing that is easy to credit to director Colin Trevorrow is his ability to stage an effective action scene or concoct some evocative imagery. But visuals and callbacks to better films can only get you so far, and it quickly becomes clear that no one here has anything resembling a new idea. If anyone behind this newest trilogy had any sense, they’d bury this franchise deep and wait until someone with an original idea came along to brush it off once more. 

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