Jurassic World: Dominion Review

Colin Trevorrow returns to direct the final chapter in his legacy sequel trilogy. It took me 11 days to get to the theatre and watch this blockbuster, which is not typical for me. The main driver behind that is just I was not jazzed about seeing this movie in general. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is easily in my top 5 least favorite theatrical experiences of all time. I was bored to tears for the first 2/3 and then when they introduced human clones into the mix, I just became objectively angry at what I was witnessing.

To be fair, I wasn’t enthralled with the first entry of the new series either. Chris Pratt had just became a mega star after the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, and everything he did was just oozing with charm…..until the release of Jurassic World. I would describe Owen Brady, Pratt’s character in the franchise, as possibly the most dull and basic lead character I have ever seen in a tentpole franchise. He may be able to squeeze some respect out of the Velociraptors he trains, but he couldn’t squeeze an ounce of chemistry out of the relationship he has with Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard); and that has remained true throughout 3 highly successful films now.

So why would I choose to go see the caper on a trilogy I have never cared for? Because this time they’re bringing back the stars of Jurassic Park, a film I very much care about. So was it worth the trip? Did it savor the franchise for you despite it having a pretty terrible track record outside of the original?

Guess who’s back?

The biggest disappointment for me with the Jurassic World trilogy is that it never lived up to the promise. When the first film was announced, I thought it was going to be continuation of the franchise where dinosaurs were literally stampeding around the world in modern times. Instead, we got the legacy sequel trope of essentially making the exact same movie as the original, but with a new cast and updated technology. It was serviceable for what it was but I needed more. I already talked about how dreadful Fallen Kingdom was for me, but at the very least it ended with the promise of that vision I had for dinos roaming the planet.

I’m sorry to say the ending of that bore fest was not honored, as the whole concept is washed away in the first few minutes here. A Now This feature opens the film showing news footage of dinosaurs wreaking havoc on a global scale, only they have largely been captured at this point. The vast population of our prehistoric friends have all been collected and transferred to, you guessed it, a remote research facility! So with that concept stripped away, we’re going to get more of the same.

“Just look up and think about how much money we’re all making for this”

Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler & Ian Malcolm are all back in the fold for this assumed franchise closer. If you didn’t know those were the character names of the original Jurassic Park stars, you certainly will now as their first and last names are uttered ad nauseam throughout the film. They bring back these amazing actors only to constantly remind the audience verbally who they are. Goldbloom doesn’t even get any scene stealing one-liners and the filmmakers should be imprisoned for that crime alone. Speaking of crime….

So Malcom, Sattler, and Grant’s main story line is this film is to…..track down some abnormally large locusts? Continuing the tradition of brining in a new never-before-scene monster with each entry, this time we get foot long locusts that are tactically destroying the crops from farms around the globe. So our beloved legacy characters come back to literally spend the entire capper of a franchise about dinosaurs, which they started, chasing down some bugs to get DNA samples. The base to their needs is of course at the previously mentioned research facility.

Owen and Claire are back with the romantic chemistry comparable to that of a baby kitten and a basset hound. Claire was factually responsible for all the death and destruction in the Jurassic World park, something she has suffered zero consequences from throughout 3 films. That’s all behind them now though as they are co-parenting Maisie, their adopted clone/fugitive who we met in Fallen Kingdom. Maisie is more valuable to BioSyn than all the dinosaurs still roaming the earth; despite her new Mommy and Daddy’s best efforts, she won’t stay inside and that results in her capture.

This triggers our main plot line which is just a straight through rescue mission. Maisie and Baby Blue are shipped off to the illustrious research facility and our heroes must track them down and save the day, with the help of some new friends that have a penchant for tracking down locusts (and previously dinosaurs). So those are the A & B plots you get, but it’s all just the canvas to paint a ton of dino mayhem, which they deliver in droves. If you don’t mind a weak plot or wasteful/pointless returns for characters you love, there is plenty of great dino action in this film to entertain. It simply was not, and has not been, enough for me considering how high the bar was set for this franchise back in 1993 with Steven Speilberg and crew.

Life Finds A Way

Although it’s not a high bar to clear, I would say this entry in the Jurassic saga is better than some others, especially it’s direct predecessor. Dominion gives you more dinosaur action than we’ve ever seen in the previous films and there’s some real creativity that comes from the designs and action. The crazy part is at the same time, the dinosaurs have the least amount of importance and focus in the swan song to the most famous dinosaur franchise of all time (sorry Little Foot). If you liked the previous World movies, I’m sure you’ll dig this one too. If you’re a fan of the original film and are here to see what’s up with our favorite characters, you’ll sadly just be witnessing an easy cash grab at your nostalgia strings without any effort and love to go with it.

I give Jurassic World: Dominion 5 Chris Pratt slow hand raises, out of 10.

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