Jurassic World Dominion (2022) – Review


“JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION”

Jurassic World Dominion sees Colin Trevorrow return to direct the final instalment of the Jurassic World Saga (this being the sixth in the series) and attempts to unite the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World cast into one film.

My personal opinion of the Jurassic World film is well recorded since I’ve reviewed both the first and Fallen Kingdom when they came out, and I still stand by that Fallen Kingdom is the worst of these films. Say what you like about the other sequels, but they didn’t screw up the other sequels like that one did.

Dominion is set up directly following the events of the last movie, and I was rather surprised by some of the directions that this film went in.

Spoilers ahead for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

At the end of Fallen Kingdom, Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) let the dinosaurs that were about to die in an enclosure, out into mainland USA- the same kind of thing that happened in the theme park but now they wanted to do it on a larger scale.

I went into Dominion expecting that the results of that were going to be the bulk of the film; the aspect of humans and nature trying to coexist with the dinosaurs and humanity failing, as the first film establishes that they can’t possibly coexist because they are so different. But to my surprise, that’s only really a small portion of the film! Trevorrow drops that idea so fast. It’s not as if the dinosaurs go back into their enclosures again, they’ve still gone global (don’t ask me how, there’s some lines about an underground trade in dinosaurs, some parts of the film even take place in a dinosaur black market in Malta) But other than that, you don’t really see the effects of dinosaurs interacting with modern nature. The only result of this is that the world would be way worse off considering that these animals will have upset the ecosystems in several locations and may be dying off in certain areas because they can’t survive in certain conditions. There’s a reason why John Hammond and his scientists chose Costa Rica as a location for the theme park. But nope, none of that! The dinosaurs can exist anywhere and everyone around them just seems to be minorly inconvenienced.

This film keeps up the tradition of making anyone with basic biology knowledge cry.

The main plot centres around Maisie now living with Owen and Claire being taken by another genetics company that has been handled by Lewis Dodgson (played by Campbell Scott). Maisie has now been kidnapped because she is of course the first human clone. Along with Beta, the child of velociraptor Blue, they have been taken to a dinosaur sanctuary in the Italian mountains. Meanwhile, Ellie Sattler investigates some giant locusts that are wandering around and eating most of the food supply of the world (I wish I was making that up) and reunites with Doctor Grant to gain a DNA sample from Dodgson’s lab with the help of Ian Malcolm. These two plots are going on almost simultaneously.

Halfway through the last film I realised why I didn’t like these new additions to the franchise- they’re too complicated! There’s so much happening in all of these films and they’re trying too hard to make these some sort of epic thrillers, and it’s just not really what a good Jurassic Park film should be. The original ones were really simple when you got down to it and I think it was suited. There’s all sorts in these about the politics of cloning and an underground dinosaur market and locusts which are meant to be an on the nose allegory for climate change. And Doctor Wu is still in this movie and even by the end of this I still have no idea what his point was. In fact, he’s probably more incidental in this film than the previous ones, they’re kind of setting him up to be this guy playing 4D chess with everyone around him..

They did try to fix a few of the plot holes from the last film but in doing so they manage to create new ones. It’s not a good idea when you’ve answered a question, I’ve asked to then make me ask yet another question.

What’s more, out of the original cast I think that Jeff Goldblum was the only one who was allowed to bring much of his personality into it. Sam Neill gives a good performance by Trevorrow doesn’t really allow him to bring out much personality. It’s a shame, I remember in the first Jurassic World film that he was quite passive and I thought it was odd as Grant is known to be quite a vocal advocate against bringing dinosaurs back to life along with Malcolm. Who thankfully, in this film, gets given way more to do.

I’ll say some positives, Jeff Goldblum is still the best part of these films and some of the sequences are pretty good, even if most of the time you know that most of the characters aren’t in any danger because they still have a character arc to fulfil (this isn’t Game of Thrones, so they’re less likely to be killed instantly) But even by Jurassic Park standards, this film has quite a low death count! It really surprised me how few deaths there were during the film especially considering how many characters there were.

I really hated Dodgson as a villain, he really has no personality whatsoever. They tried to make him into a sort of Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk type of figure, but there’s nothing much to him, really. He also has the dumbest villain plan in possibly any of these films. So, you’re a genetics company working with genetically modified creatures, you happen to build a dinosaur sanctuary and you’re growing genetically modified crops. Most of the world’s crops are now being eaten by giant locusts (which are a really weird addition to these films), meaning that the world has no choice but to buy from you, and you expect us to say that you have nothing to do with it.

I haven’t even started talking about dinosaurs. To give them some credit, the dinosaurs look the best that they have in any of these films so far, due to the practical effects mixed with CGI. The dinosaurs, though, feel very secondary in this film. The locusts take up quite a bit early on in this film, and we don’t see many of them in the mainland. The main one that the filmmakers want you to talk about is the Giganotosaurus, which is meant to be the dinosaur bigger than a T-rex. Pretty much what they did with the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park 3. Unlike the Spinosaurus, the Giganotosaurus doesn’t really do much in this film! It doesn’t really have many identifiable features either, I mistook it for the big dinosaur in the first film at first.

This film does bring back the dilophosauruses at last, which is great considering how iconic they work in the original film. Their absence in these films have felt really missed.

The biggest thing about all of this is that this film just feels like they made it for the film’s sake. It doesn’t feel as though it was the epic finish to a saga that had been well planned out, it feels like they said ‘well, we need a third film so let’s just get it done’. It feels very much like a passionless movie.

Jurassic World Dominion is better than Fallen Kingdom but only because it’s not as dumb as that one, but it’s not good either. I would say that it’s the worst film I’ve seen so far this year because it truly felt like no one cared about making it. The effects are a bit better and some of the performances stand out well, but this is a film that you can only enjoy if you really don’t care about anything that’s happening. It feels like a faint whimper for these films to go out on.
 
Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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