Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) Director: Colin Trevorrow
The painful (and hopefully final) installment in the Jurassic Park franchise has at last been pushed over the finish line by Universal Pictures. Raising no eyebrows, Jurassic World: Dominion plays out like the last gasp of a story that simply has nothing else to yield. It is just another action flick, rife with nostalgia-bait which checks the box and fills the financial quotas –albeit with about as much depth and creativity as a corporate board room. Additionally, a familiar group of cardboard characters return in this film led by Chris Pratt as Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing –however, many of the characters from the original film also reprise their roles: Laura Dern returns as Dr. Sattler, Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, and Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant. Sadly, none of these characters are expanded upon or explored in any memorable way. Everything about this movie just conveys a general sense of perfunctory malaise.
Dominion attempts to portray an epic, world-ending cataclysm –giant locusts which will apparently lead to a worldwide famine, however, none of it really feels very threatening. Even the dinosaurs feel muted and almost human –I rolled my eyes when Owen Grady rescues a baby raptor and returns it to his beloved “Blue” and she shares a touching moment of thanks with him. There are plenty of other similar situations. Like most modern franchise blockbusters, there is a great deal of absolutely incredible CGI special effects in this film, however the script and performances are simply atrocious.
Dominion takes place four years after the previous film (Fallen Kingdom). Dinosaurs now freely roam across the world and, as alluded to in the last film, a young girl has been cloned. Her name is Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and there are poachers hunting her down so she is hiding out at a remote mountain cabin. There is also a killer locust plague on the loose and an evil corporation named Biosyn is running a dark underground black market dinosaur trade –in other words, there are lots of sub-plots happening at once! The head of Biosyn –a clumsy man who bears striking resemblance to Tim Cook, current CEO of Apple—is an awkward, nervous, uncharismatic figure with no clear agenda. I guess he is just intended to be evil. The script dictates that he is actually intended to be Lous Dodgson (Campbell Scott), a character who bribed Wayne Knight in the first Jurassic Park film, however Wayne died before delivering the infamous canister… so how did Dodgson receive the delivery? At any rate, with so many characters and meandering side plots, everything barely has enough space for a surface-level glimpse before quickly shifting to another dinosaur chase scene. After the heroes save the day with relatively few obstacles in the way, the end of the film declares it’s now time for humans to live in harmony with dinosaurs, which strikes me as the opposite message of the first film. At any rate, with various narrative retcons, secret cloning facilities, and loads of unsatisfying nostalgia-bait, perhaps it’s time to finally close this chapter of the Jurassic Park saga. Still, if you’re looking for a vapid summer blockbuster with a dose of color-tinted cynicism and predictable action sequences, I guess you could still do worse than Jurassic Park: Dominion, but not by much. Broadly speaking, I’d say it is marginally better than its predecessor, Fallen Kingdom.
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I discontinued with the Jurassic Park sequels after III. I for one didn’t feel like there was anywhere they could interestingly go after that. Our endless fascinations with dinosaurs and T-Rexes may of course be a factor. But I agree that the Jurassic Park universe has done all that it can do.
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