I went opening weekend to see Jurassic World: Dominion. I’m such a massive fan of the franchise. I’ve read the books several times. I’ve seen all the other films in theatres. I remember wearing out several VHS Tapes. I’ve even seen firsthand where they filmed the original in Hawaii & visited the replica of Jurassic Park in Orlando, Florida. I also enjoy Camp Cretaceous on Netflix. I’ve been fascinated by dinosaurs since I was young because these movies perfectly captured my childhood dream come true. That being said, this was my most anticipated film this year. This is my SPOILER FREE REVIEW…for now. Did life find a way to successfully conclude the franchise or is this a Jurassic disaster?
Colin Trevorrow returns to the director chair. The screenplay is by Emily Carmichael and Trevorrow too. First of all, the story isn’t compelling. It’s more confusing than anything else because the script is mind-numbingly dumb. It’s nice to have the original cast back but they’re sorely underused. So many missed opportunities could have made for a more interesting film. Why not have Owen and Alan working together to find Beta? That dichotomy of old vs new would be both funny and fascinating.
As far as story structure goes it clumsily jumps around including too many plot points that don’t end up mattering or have confusing conclusions without consequences. It has countless plot holes leaving too many unanswered questions. More about that later. It does have subtle references to Spielberg’s other films, which is fun to see. The one time they don’t need an excuse to go to an island and they wasted it. The first precursor to a “Jurassic World” was in Part 2, Lost World, when a T-Rex is brought back to San Diego, California. This film lacks fun moments like people looking out the window to see a dinosaur drinking from their pool or the bus chase scene.
The CGI looks bad. The 3D is more distracting than engaging. Most of it takes place at night so it’s hard to tell what happens. The suspense is cheapened by forced jokes. It doesn’t help either when characters survive improbable scenarios. There’s no reason to survive except they have to for the sake of the plot. Why didn’t the Therizinosaurus kill Claire in the water? There are that countless times when instances like this happen. That’s a pet peeve of mine. It completely diminishes the danger involved. There’s no reason to survive except they have to
Mamoudou Athie plays Ramsay Cole, the Head of Biosyn. He gives a great performance being the stand out of the film.
BD Wong returns as Dr. Henry Wu, a lead geneticist at Biosyn now…for some reason. His story arc doesn’t feel earned because it’s not fully explained how he came to his epiphany and his character doesn’t grow by learning from his mistakes.
Omar Sy returns as Barry Sembène. He was a raptor trainer who worked with Owen in the first Jurassic World. As nice as it is to have him back it’s unfortunate his role has dwindled to an extended cameo before his character inexplicably disappears for the finale.
Overall, they certainly pointed a camera at stuff and filmed it. You’d think this would be about the cohabitation of dinosaurs and people like what the last film set up right? Wrong. Unnecessary new plotlines are added in a ludicrous predictable sequel. I thought it couldn’t get worse than JP 3 or JWFK but at least those are enjoyable and have their moments. I enjoyed them way more. Those movies are enjoyable because they’re fun. What happened to the good old days when these movies were simply about dinosaurs? This takes everything we’ve seen before and warps it with so many unnecessary convoluted plotlines. Dumb characters running from dinosaurs can be fun but if they live for no other reason than when the plot demands it, that kills my suspension of disbelief. It doesn’t feel like a Jurassic Park film rather it’s derivative of Taken, Mission Impossible, Fast and Furious, and Bourne Identity mixed with Starship Troopers with dinosaurs being an afterthought. What an abysmal mess. Why not use all the material not touched on yet in the books? Michael Crichton must be spinning in his grave. This isn’t fun to watch. There’s no suspense, has too many contrivances, and not enough dinosaurs. It’s not as bad as Batman (2022) but it angers me like Rise of Skywalker. It’s disrespectful to the source material and ignores the prior two films in the sequel trilogy. I’d skip this one. I don’t mean wait to stream it, just skip it entirely. Go see Top Gun instead. What could have been a fun nostalgic adventure like Force Awakens or No Way Home is just another unintelligible clone of other superior films. This is a Jurassic disaster. And remember, Dr. Ian Malcolm accurately predicted the future of the franchise in the original during the Triceratops scene when standing by that big pile of dung.
Grade: Small Popcorn
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Here are just some of the many plot holes I have issues with.
Why include Biosyn so late in the game? In the books, Dodgson works for Ingen’s biggest rival, Biosyn. With no other mention of this in any other film, there is no context for people who only know the movies. It’s too little too late. Campbell Scott plays him. As a villain, his performance is comically bad. I laughed out loud several times when he threw his tantrums as did others.
Why do such injustice to the mighty frightening T-Rex and not make her the star of the show? The T-Rex doesn’t appear until two hours in. Then she runs away because the Giganotosaurus bites her nose? Really? Both are severely underwritten and used.
Why do the dinosaurs inexplicably act like horror villains walking slow behind people when they could just run and eat them? Furthermore Owen’s hand trick only works to a certain extent right? Would wild dinosaurs even understand what he’s doing? I don’t think that would have worked on every dinosaur he meets. That’s illogical.
Why are super-intelligent velociraptors acting like dumb cats? My cats chase lasers too and I didn’t even have to train them.
Why is the end in the trailers? It shows Beta reunited with Blue. Why doesn’t Blue have more of an active role?
Why is the score so bizarre and what’s with odd musical cues? That took me out of the experience too.
Why isn’t the Mosasaurus more involved? They start with an impressive boat capsizing scene that doesn’t have any to do with the plot. It’s never mentioned again afterwards either.
What’s with the giant bugs and human cloning plot? Wouldn’t it make more sense if the carnivores ate all the livestock or the herbivores ate all the crops instead? What if cows had gone extinct because of overconsumption? There’s a simple premise that I just came up with that makes more sense. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to see play out too?
Why is the character Kayla Wattsin this? Her presence feels so forced and unnecessary. Why wasn’t she written as Dr. Ian Malcolm’s daughter? This provides a more natural connection for being active in the story. They even make a joke about how many kids he has but none appear in this. Why not add that for continuity?
My biggest unresolved question is what ever happened to site B: Isla Sorna? Did everyone forget about the second island after Parts 2 and 3 took place there?
Grade: Small Popcorn