Released: 30th June
Seen: 1st August
It’s time for us to call it, Jurassic Park as a franchise is dead. Hell, let’s go one step further, the franchise probably should’ve stopped after the first movie and left when it was on top instead of just gradually getting serious diminishing returns every time they bring us back to the land of the dinosaurs. The new trilogy, headed by bad writer Colin Trevorrow, started out promising with Jurassic World which might not have been at the level of the original but at least it was watchable… and then Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom came out and it wasn’t great, kinda dull but it had some nice moments and an ending that suggested something interesting and new could happen with this franchise… but this film was written by the same guy who helped come up with the story for Rise of Skywalker, a story that can be summed up with the line “Somehow, Palpatine returned” so you can kind of guess that nothing new has been done with Jurassic World Dominion.
Jurassic World Dominion takes place about 4 years after the events of Fallen Kingdom where humans and dinosaurs have been forced to live together in something approaching harmony. Most of the dinosaurs stick to one small little area but occasionally they go to town and cause trouble. Also going into town and being trouble is Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the girl from the last movie who turned out to be a clone which therefore means she’s both confused about where she came from and also valuable to the evil Biosyn so for her safety Maisie, along with former Jurassic World workers Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), lives in a cabin in the middle of nowhere… until one day big bad men come to take Maisie and a Velocoraptor and Owen and Claire have to go find her.
In a completely different part of the country, a large swarm of what can only be described as prehistoric supersized locusts are tearing through farms left and right just destroying every drop of wheat or corn that Biosyn didn’t manufacture. Because this is suspicious as hell, it gets the attention of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) who realises that in order to figure out what’s going on she needs to get into Biosyn and see if they have any super locusts and, if so, check their DNA to make sure they’re the same ones that are destroying the country so she can expose them… not “Stop the locusts”, that’s not in the plan. No, the plan is to expose the evil company which will do something important. Anyway, she gets Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to help her get into Biosyn, though technically he’s just kinda there because we need the Sam Neill credit on the poster and most of the actual help comes from Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and eventually this plotline will slam headfirst into the other one but at the end of the day, it doesn’t fucking matter.
Jurassic World Dominion really doesn’t seem to have anything new to offer this franchise, indeed we’ve gone backwards. The finale of the last film implied that we were finally going to properly put the dinosaurs into the real world, live up to the title of Jurassic World and actually see what might happen when the dinosaurs come back… and this film goes “Fuck that, everyone back to a tiny little park so we can play the hits again”. If there’s a moment you ever liked in the franchise then by god, get ready to see the discount non-union equivalent right in Jurassic World Dominion. Did you enjoy the scene where Chris Pratt makes a velociraptor behave by putting his hand out to show some form of dominance? Well I hope you did because you’re going to see it 20 fucking times. Did you well up a little seeing the brontosaurus shadow slowly crumble against the flickering flames of a volcano eruption, showing the slow and emotional death of some beautiful creatures? Well good news, we’re going to recreate that same shot with a few tiny fires and none of the emotional resonance. Did you feel your pulse racing as the main characters tried to escape in a jeep, only to come in contact with a T-Rex that could eat them at any second? Well what if we removed all the tension and just did that again with a cast you know we won’t even scratch because they’re too fucking marketable? Everything is redone cheaper and in a less interesting way and it’s boring.
When Jurassic World Dominion isn’t being annoying, it’s being stupid with how it’s arranged its plots. If you read through the synopsis you might notice that the two plots really don’t have anything to do with each other… that’s because they don’t, the only connection is that EVENTUALLY they say that the DNA from the clone girl might be able to stop the locusts but that little twist feels tacked on basically to explain why these stories link… it also just makes no sense, you need the DNA from a clone to somehow create a pathogen that will kill all the locusts that you created? Even for a film about resurrected dinosaurs, that’s one of the least scientific things I’ve ever heard and it’s so dumb that it just doesn’t work in this context. The audience can only suspend their disbelief so much and Jurassic World Dominion kind of abuses that suspension in order to cover for their own inability to find a reason to get the old and new cast together.
But then again if Jurassic World Dominion were able to figure out that story problem, it also would have a genuinely horrendous editing problem weighing it down. Sitting at a stupefying two and a half hours, Jurassic World Dominion has absolutely nothing resembling tension or good pacing and that’s just down to the edit. There’s no pulse to anything, the rhythms are all off and the actual shot-to-shot editing can be amazingly confusing. Characters just teleport around as needed, making it impossible to know where everyone is in a scene, which in turn removes tension. It’s kind of hard to go “Oh, will they get away from this T-rex that’s chasing them” when I’ve literally seen this cast just jumpcut across the room on a whim like it’s nothing.
Speaking of nothing, really hope you didn’t actually like any of these characters because they have been boiled down to maybe one character trait at the most. Owen has his weird hand thing that helps him stop dinosaurs, Claire is a silent worrier, Ian Malcolm spouts pseudo babble and does nothing, Ellie is just barely holding everything together and Alan Grant is technically on camera at certain points delivering words that form sentences… these aren’t characters, these are the ideas of characters that just happen to be played by absolutely brilliant actors who have nothing to work with. You only care about some of these people because of who plays them, but not cos of the characters that we’ve grown to love over several films. It’s just bland, everyone is bland and phoning it in, which I shouldn’t be able to say about a cast that involved Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern.
Jurassic World Dominion is a master of nothing. Its plot is dull and repetitive, its attempts at callbacks fall flat, the tension and excitement have long since gone and no one matters because no one cares. Once again, we are met with a dull film in this Jurassic World franchise – only Jurassic World Dominion might be worse than Fallen Kingdom because this one had a setup that should’ve provided wall-to-wall spectacle. We should’ve been seeing what happens when dinosaurs roam through the planet again but instead, we just find an excuse to be forced back into a park to do bad cover versions of classic moments for a butt-numbing two and a half hours. For the love of god, let this franchise die with something resembling dignity!