JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION Review – Too Much Chomp & Circumstance

A sadness fell over me while sitting through the new JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION. Earlier this year I commented on the movie RRR ruining me for all mainstream American movies as a prime example of what to do in a big screen entertainment to push the moviegoing experience forward. Just recently, TOP GUN MAVERICK held up this example with its real pyrotechnics and careful storytelling that not only has entertained myself but millions of people in its very successful release. The sixth movie in an already tired series, JURASSIC PARK DOMINION, pulls everything back into exactly what is wrong with the current mainstream franchise movies, forcing nostalgia but not earning it. 

DOMINION, which was heavily delayed due to the pandemic, is a loud, visual effects driven movie with thankless exposition that I don’t care about and another attempt to bring an older part of the franchise and mesh it with the new one to disappointing results. The whole movie is either too little or too late in this massively complicated storyline with so many characters to keep control of that my attention eventually wandered more to my bag of popcorn. 

The Dinos have made their way into society at this point (the action appears to be a couple of years after 2018’s also disappointing FALLEN KINGDOM) and Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) are living in a remote cabin protecting a young girl named Maisie (Isabella Sermon) who is a clone made from Dr. Hammond from the first movie and her DNA is in high demand. There’s also Blue, the velociraptor that was Horse-Whisperered by Owen a couple of movies ago, also living nearby. One big happy extended family! When they are both eventually captured by an evil corporation named Biosyn there’s a lot of wackiness that ensues with far too many characters to keep track of.

When the action revs up after this abduction I simply didn’t care, nor where any of this was headed in the direction of Biosyn (a rival to InGen from the first movie) led by Campbell Scott as a character hell bent on getting more human and Dino DNA. Many of the JURASSIC WORLD characters have switched to action heroes, and even the inclusion of “legacy” characters isn’t very involving here at all when Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Ellie Satler (Laura Dern) also get involved. A lot of the movie is lazy dialogue explaining a lot of things repeatedly, as well the type of character exposition where one character will be looking for another but constantly show that character’s picture to someone else to look for them.

At this point in the cinematic world, all of the dinosaurs have assimilated themselves into society, and you’d think people would be a bit more terrified of this or there would be a much bigger issue with the planet and especially the environment. There’s a bizarre sequence in Malta featuring velociraptors and bike chase that feature innocent bystanders not even reacting to massive dinosaurs right next to them when a lot of noise is in all directions. I’m sorry, but even if I knew dinosaurs would be in society like this, I’d stay home, thank you. There’s always a moment where something that is tamed could slip up. Be a bit more scared, bystanders, is all I’m asking!

DOMINION is helmed by returning filmmaker Colin Trevorrow, who burst onto the scene a decade ago with SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED then suddenly broke through to the 2015 “reboot” JURASSIC WORLD, a movie in the franchise I gave a mild recommendation to for having a bit of spirit of the original 1993 blockbuster, and is returning here after not making the 2018 FALLEN KINGDOM (that one went to the very visual auteur J.A. Bayona). 

Here he brings some of the bizarre acting/reacting type performances as he did in the somewhat of a now-cult picture THE BOOK OF HENRY. While I admire the talents of Neill, Dern and Goldblum all being back and they do what they can, the “modern” cast of the likes of Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt fare much worse making it very hard for me to believe the situation that they’re in. And I hate to be hard on younger actors, but even the through-line character, Maisie, is played pretty weakly by Isabella Sermon who seems to have a grumpy face and attitude throughout. I didn’t even really care what happened to her and even though I understand all of the stress being put on her character, she’s still very unpleasant. 

So there you have it. DOMINION claims to be the end of the JURASSIC franchise but this will still likely be a hit at the box office and another picture may come down the pipeline. You may be entertained by the conclusion to this series that has progressively slid downhill ever (for me, anyway) since the Spielberg directed THE LOST WORLD 25 years ago, but to me DOMINION is an overplotted wall of noise that is a big reason why a lot of franchise pictures should go extinct.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION is now playing in theatres. 

Boring Tech Notes: I saw this movie in the IMAX format where the image nearly filled the entire screen but was INCREDIBLY loud in its audio presentation, even for me. You should be fine in a regular theatre in the 2D format. It is also being offered in 3D for the very few people who still enjoy the format.