Why is it that every time a “Jurassic” sequel comes out it feels very similar to its predecessor (just with a larger carnivore to face than before)? Because people will pay literally billions of dollars to see dinosaurs eat people. “Jurassic World: Dominion” finally has the courage and bravery to try something new and…it doesn’t work out. What do I miss in this film? Dinosaurs eating people and being awesome. Instead, we get a film about an evil organization – Biosyn – creating genetically engineered locusts to destroy crops so they can be the primary food supply of the world.
The original “Jurassic Park” film is, of course, a timeless classic that, if you were to watch it today, would still hold up in terms of visuals, story, and simplistic development of dinosaurs and incredibly engaging characters: Dr. Alan Grant, Dr. Ellie Sattler, and Dr. Ian Malcom. Sequel after sequel, that Spielbergian aesthetic slowly decreases after each entry, and now we’re down to a generic sci-fi/action franchise featuring dinosaurs chasing and sometimes eating people.
Where we left off in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” dinosaurs were released out into the main lands to roam free. That promise was unfulfilled with a voice-over newscast telling how dinosaurs have come to adapt to live among people over the past four years, in addition to black-market underground trading and poaching. After that, we don’t see an integral dino scene until about forty-five minutes in with the modified raptors. The entire first act is an incredibly boring action film. I didn’t even know it was possible to make dinosaurs boring, but barely anyone dies in this movie.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard seem tired of these roles after three movies now (especially Pratt). Owen Grady doesn’t feel like the heroic raptor trainer anymore, he just feels there. Not that I was ever interested in watching these characters, but they’ve become like a wet blanket when on screen. I just don’t enjoy watching them in something that should be much more fun than it actually is. On top of that, in the four years, they’ve gotten back together. These two have never had any chemistry with one another and still don’t.
Quite a bit of character were in this movie, but I cared for very few of them. Campbell Scott is surprisingly good as the new corporate baddie who also shows up in a single scene in the original film – Lewis Dodgson. Nobody held a candle to how good DeWanda Wise is in this movie. Every studio should be trying to find her a place in their franchise because she ate up the scenery and held her own with Howard and Pratt who she shares most of her screen time with.
Like I said before, I came to this movie to see dinosaurs. I’ve given up hope after four previous sequels that we’ll get anything different than that, but when we get something different, it’s been changed far too much. The “Jurassic” films are not the exploration of prehistoric life, it is the recreation of dinosaurs and how you cannot control nature no matter how much it wants to bite you in the ass. If I were told that the major problem of this movie is that it’s not even about dinosaurs, but locusts and asexual reproduction in humans I wouldn’t believe you. Typically if a smaller plot point in a preceding film gets negative reception you don’t go on and make it the central plot point of the next. The cloning revelation in “Fallen Kingdom” felt so unlike this franchise (the same franchise that had a talking dinosaur show up in a dream sequence) that I have no idea why they went back to explore it this in-depth.
I’d imagine it’s not terribly easy to tie up any loose ends for such a beloved franchise, but if there were ever a true comparison to what just happened to the “Star Wars” sequels, this is the “Rise of Skywalker”: A trilogy that shows little connection between the three and not a clearly laid out plan concludes with a new villain arising and an issue that suddenly ensues last minute. We must bring back every familiar face to stop the villains on their home-turf secure location before they claim dominance. Only this time, I’m not confident this movie will hit $1 billion at the box office.
Nostalgia had to be a factor for the final film in this long-running franchise, but outside of the original three returning, there’s nothing else to draw you in (not saying that there needs to be referring to the nostalgia). I was most disappointed at the lack of the classic John Williams theme. I typically like Michael Giacchino, but there was never that awesome moment that prompted them to play Williams’ music, nor was it even played over the credits. On the other hand, I greatly appreciated the transition primarily back to practical dinosaurs because they look fantastic.
Let’s be honest, if Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum weren’t in this movie for as much as they were, it would be the worst in the franchise by far. These three have a significant appearance in the film and carry every second they’re on screen. It was so clear they didn’t care one bit about this movie, yet it was still wildly more entertaining seeing all three of them together again nearly thirty years later than anything else in this movie.
“Jurassic World: Dominion” was one of those movies I had very little faith in because of the track record of the other films, but I wanted to like it so much. What I wanted was dinosaurs eating people, and in between thrilling sequences we catch up with the characters we haven’t seen in decades. What we got was a movie about abnormally large and indestructible insects and cloning human beings. Overlapping that we get a “wash, rinse, repeat” cycle of intense dinosaur moments, followed by an action sequence, followed by everyone being okay. I was hoping for this franchise to go out with the roar we started with, but now all I want is for the park to stay closed for good.
Final Grade: C