We’ve FINALLY reached the end of this Jurassic journey. And if the next series of films carries that name, you’re all witnesses in the lawsuit I will bring up against Amblin Entertainment, Universal, and whatever other company is involved with the franchise going forward.
I never had a chance to see this film in theaters, continuing my streak of never once going to a theater to see one of these movies. It seems that timing has always been an issue and I’m not interested enough to find a workaround. Although considering how much I paid for VOD, I think I would have preferred the cost of a theater. But it doesn’t matter now.
Jurassic World Dominion follows the newest Hollywood trend of bringing back original actors and pairing them with the new cast of characters. And to be honest, those moments were the biggest highlight of this film to me. Too bad it happened in the last 45 minutes. Beyond that novelty, this was a nothing movie to me. None of the stakes that are spoken about as a global catastrophe feel like they are as big as they want us to believe it is. Now, extinct dinosaurs roam the Earth and are disrupting the current ecosystem, which could lead to many more problems. I feel like I mentioned that possibility last time. The idea of humans having to co-exist with dinosaurs while trying to figure out a long-term game plan SOUNDS like an interesting movie. More interesting than this. Hell, that short film Battle at Big Rock, had more potential than this.
Instead, we are presented with more corporate stupidity fueled by greed. You know, the same plot we’ve seen time and again. This time, InGen is no longer the problem but rival company Biosyn, who I was hoping would pop up at some point. On the surface, they claim to be doing groundbreaking research in their fancy dinosaur preserve. But we all know better. At least this time they were smart about the location, choosing the Dolomite Mountains, the tough, black mountain range that won’t cop out when there’s heat all about.
But in the face of a massive ecological disaster, what does Biosyn do? Creates another ecological disaster. This comes in the form of once extinct giant locusts that were brought back to life to destroy crops that aren’t made from Biosyn seeds, thereby creating a way of controlling the world’s food supply. On one hand, this sounds like an incredibly idiotic idea, especially one to use as a plot device. On the other hand, I believe that this would 100% happen in reality, so perhaps that was their logic behind it. Henry Wu, back once again, is also responsible for this but for some reason, locusts were a bridge too far and regrets everything. You have to admit he has one hell of an unimportant story arc.
And while we’re talking about idiotic ideas, other humans follow suit and create fighting areas, black markets and so on for dinosaurs because why wouldn’t you? I think that’s what aggravates me so much about the film is they hit SO many familiar beats. Yeah ok sure this is probably what WOULD happen. But why do we have to go that route with the narrative? Colin Trevorrow returns to the director’s chair and is once again one of the writers. You are god of the story! And this is where you go? I’m honestly not impressed with this director. His name holds ZERO weight to me.
Then we have the sub-plot revolving around Maisie, the cloned daughter of Benjamin Lockwood, where we learn that Maisie ISN’T a clone at all but was conceived asexually BY Charlotte Lockwood. And because of this, she and Blue’s asexually conceived spawn Beta (which is a very unoriginal name BTW) are the keys to stopping this locust crisis or whatever. I felt they were trying to retcon Fallen Kingdom but just makes everything more convoluted. Sounds like Trevorrow would have been perfect for Rise of Skywalker…
Speaking of which, why does Maisie have a British accent? Last I checked, accents aren’t a genetic trait. Take the same person and put them in two different parts of the world during their formative years, and it’s an absolute fact they will have integrated with the local accents. Yet this child, never once having been raised by someone WITH a British accent, has one that’s deeply ingrained into who she is. I’m well aware that the actress is from London, but she’s not the actress. She’s this character who HAPPENED to have a British mother for some reason and honestly never really knew. But also had an American sounding father who clearly raised her… I’m overthinking this. More than the writers ever did.
I guess we should talk about the cast. Chris Pratt is back. Bryce Dallas Howard is also back. What are they doing outside of being parents to the clone girl? Similar things like they were doing in other movies, meaning nothing of any real substance that pays off in any way. Sam Neill and Laura Dern are also back as those characters they played in the first and third movies. They too are doing those things we saw them doing in previous movies because that’s what we, as an audience, want to see: the same old thing. I was a bit surprised how much they actually had to do here. They were surprisingly integral to the mess of a story. Goldblum is back. Albeit less than everyone else, honestly but he shines as always.
Biggest surprise return is our old pal, Lewis Dodgson, whom we last saw in the original film. Some might say, “wow, the last thirty years took a toll on that guy. I didn’t even recognize him.” Well that’s because this is a different actor. While I’m sure under different circumstances, the filmmakers would have extended an offer to original actor Cameron Thor to reprise his role. However, 14 counts of third-degree rape, 13 counts of sexual assault on a child, and six years in prison for said crimes may have played a role in that decision. Seriously, fuck that guy.
In any case, Campbell Scott takes over the role, and he’s a capable actor with a name that feels like an accident happened at the hospital. You’ve seen him in stuff before like Family Ties, Damages, and even the Secret Lives of Dentists. Despite his capability, Dodgson is more or less Eli Mills from Fallen Kingdom. Nothing about him makes him feel nuanced or unique. Just another greedy suit. But hey, we get to see the Barbasol can again! I’m glad to see they somehow found it at some point and did something with it. Dodgson even dies the same way as Nedry which I found… derivative. It’s like the filmmakers were going, “you see what we did? Huh? You see it?” Yeah.. we got it…
I also feel there were some scenes left on the cutting room floor between Dodgson and Ramsey because when Dodgson found out that Ramsey exposed what they were doing, Dodgson came off like he’d been betrayed by someone who was more than a work colleague. I know there was a line early on where Dodgson presented Ramsey as just like him, but that’s a minor line for such a major reaction. But at almost two and a half hours, who gives a damn?
More things that annoyed me: Grady needed a motorcycle to outrun these special attack raptors, yet somehow Claire outran one on foot no problem. That feels inconsistent. The T-Rex that shows up is apparently Rexy, the same T-Rex from before. Because there are no other T-Rexs ever created. The shot of Rexy walking by that Biosyn structure to create the illusion of the logo made me roll my eyes because there is NO telling how long they’ve wanted to do that. The fact that NO ONE had acknowledged that dinosaurs are imaginary. “ALL AN ILLUSION,” as Ellie once put it. It’s mind-boggling and frankly insulting.
Positives… hmm… it was nice to see NEW dinosaurs for a change. You know, ones that were some genetic aberration. The Therizinosaurus was pretty cool as was the Giganotosaurus, even though it was nothing more than a spikier T-Rex. The fight at the end was kinda cool. We got to see some dimetrodons which I don’t EVER remember seeing in one of these films. I’ve always been fascinated by their design. This film seemingly acknowledged part 3 by referring to Ellie’s husband Mark. But now that they are divorced, that allows Alan and Ellie to get a happy ending together, which is nice I guess. Michael Giachinno returns to score the film and does fine. Nothing stands out in the score. He reuses some of John Williams’ composition as he did before while adding his own themes but nothing astounding. It just is.
I know I’ve given hell to others for overthinking certain movies, but certain movies KNOW exactly what they are. This franchise has been all over the map in trying to find its identity. And it feels like it only knows from the start and gets lost along the way. Much like Jurassic Park, Jurassic World is the superior film in the trilogy. As the stories progress, they don’t know what to do and the plot becomes so convoluted that the thrill of it all is gone. I think I would have preferred another 90 minute roller coaster versus a 150 minute slog. If you’re going to take that much of my time, you better entertain the hell out of me.
In closing, I think I realized I’m not much of a fan of this franchise. And if this is the end of it, then I’d be perfectly fine with that. But like all the jerk-asses in these movies, Hollywood sees the money in dinosaurs. And it’s only a matter of time before the franchise is revived by advanced cloning techniques only to be renamed Billy and the Cloneasaurus.