Jurassic World: Dominion brings the second dinosaur trilogy to a finale… until they bring them back yet again, for unfathomable real-world reasons.
After all, look at the Star Wars movies – three good films, then a hotch-potch of hits and misses, before going down the TV series route. I could keep up with individual movies, but I didn’t have the interest to get stuck into even more of that.
However, with the Jurassic Park series, for me, the first one was exceptional, The Lost World: Jurassic Park was terrible, Jurassic Park III was forgettable, Jurassic World was ‘meh’, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was slightly better, but let’s see how the finale can round things off.
As NowThis reporter Gemma Zhao (Jasmine Chiu) shows, given that dinosaurs have lived among us since 2018, it’s not easy to co-exist, although if this happened in reality, I’d be amazed if anyone of us were still here!
This time round, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is rescuing dinosaurs from captivity, as if she’s still a doe-eyed teenager with no responsibilities, while Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) returns as the Dino-Whisperer. The genetically-engineered girl from the last film, Maisie (Isabella Sermon), is living with them in a remote log cabin, hiding away from the world so no-one can find her. However, I figured it can’t be that remote, since Claire comes across as someone who looks like they need to live about ten minutes from a nail salon.
Since this is the dino-finale, they ‘get the band back together’ with the original team of Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Alan Grant (Sam Neill), with Jeff Goldblum also returning as chaos mathematician (or whatever he was) Ian Malcolm because everyone loves Jeff Goldblum. Ellie even comments how now she’s divorced and fancy-free, she’s “living the Alan Grant” life.
There’s a threadbare plot involving Spider-Man’s Dad in the Andrew Garfield era, Campbell Scott, as Lewis Dodgson, head of Biosyn, a company that claims to be doing good for the world’s food supply, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise his actions are going to have completely the opposite effect thanks to the creation of killer locusts.
But then Dodgson is portrayed as rather an oddball character, so you get he’s a baddie from the off. I wasn’t sure at first whether he was based on Steve Jobs – however, thanks to Ulises in a Facebook group, for confirming it’s Tim Cook, but then Mark Rylance’s boffin character in Don’t Look Up was a much better example of a megalomaniac, and it just highlights how bloody awful the writing is in this new movie, as well as the fact that any baddies are of cardboard cut-out quality.
This is particularly obvious with two other guys – including Rainn Delacourt (Scott Haze) – who are tasked with finding Maisie and bringing her in. Of course, despite Claire and Owen’s best efforts to shield her away from everyone, it takes these blokes about five minutes to achieve their aim.
Another is Dichen Lachman, who takes a role of forgettable female baddie Soyona Santos. I remember her best as another alliteratively-named character, Katya Kinski in Neighbours. They just finished filming on that soap forever. I haven’t watched it in years, but I’ll see how it ends when that comes around. I used to watch it all the time when I was a kid.
As for Maisie, herself, the character is 14 years old, and Isabella Sermon looks like she’d have made a far better Ellie for HBO’s The Last Of Us series, than Bella Ramsey. As for Pedro Pascal as Joel, I’m still waiting for that choice to be confirmed as a joke, but I digress…
As for the purpose of Maisie’s character, although it wasn’t spelled out in the film, I felt there was a definite link with the forthcoming zombie series, so in this spoiler header is a spoiler for the first game in that zombie series:
And now for some of the main problems with Jurassic World: Dominion, firstly, the majority of chase scenes are ruined by purposely making the camerawork all shaky for the sake of it. Good Lord… Spielberg’s meant to be on-set with this. Did they learn nothing from Jurassic Park when the T-Rex is chasing the jeep?! They copied other scenes such as a huge dinosaur’s teeth dropping down by the side of a car, then the creature kicking the vehicle to make it rotate, but they couldn’t come up with anything better for the chases?!
Also, I only spotted one scene where you see a person ‘grabbed’ by a dinosaur and thrown about, which is awful for a 12-certificate. Even in Spielberg’s PG films we got more than that! Everyone else in Jurassic World: Dominion is eaten just off-screen or you just have to imagine it as the first-person-view camera closes in on them.
In fact, I can’t see why this was a 12 at all!
This entry’s movie has huge dinosaurs like a Giganotosaurus and a Therizinosaurus, not that you’d really noticed in the film because they all look the same, and the dialogue is so mumbled, you can’t make out those long descriptors anyway.
Scriptwriters Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow (also director, returning after the 2015 movie) ensure the movie goes on way too long, it has a high number of diversity points, the plot is all over the place, and every 5 minutes, someone seems to be in peril from angry dinosaurs, before escaping from it soon after. Remember… less is more.
If you don’t mind a film that feels like it’s been made by committee, and ticks all the usual boxes you expect (eg. Owen says again that he always comes back, and he does the motorbike thing, and so on), then fine, but as a culmination to the Jurassic sextet, it’s a very poor do. It relies too much on nostalgia, by throwing in Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, and not really knowing what to do with them.
To think that Steven Spielberg didn’t make a second ET film, because as they sat down to consider a script, he felt it would just repeat what had gone before… and then he goes on to direct or help create all 6 Jurassic films(!)
And a spoiler about a particular character, so don’t read this until you’ve seen the film:
Now, a moan about the widescreen aspect ratio of this film, which is 2.00:1. I know 1.90:1 is the default for digital IMAX, but while 2.00:1 is – oddly – a ratio favoured by TV producers since Netflix started doing it with House of Cards (there may have been others, but that’s the first time I saw this happening), it really doesn’t suit films.
Non-IMAX movie screens are either 1.85:1 or 2.39:1. I went to see this film on the former, since I worked out which screening it would be for the 1.85:1 auditorium in my local Odeon, but while there’ll be slight black bars, it’s a damn sight better than seeing it on a 2.39:1 screen.
A few years ago, when I understood Tomorrowland to be 1.90:1 to be IMAX only, and 2.39:1 as the regular ratio (and a clip in the latter ratio on TV seemed to indicate that), I chose a 2.39:1 screen to watch it on, only to find that it was in 1.90:1. Sure, I was glad of the extra height, BUT, it meant it was shown within a 1.85:1 central area, and with black bars top and bottom, hence windowboxed, basically. So, it was also damn annoying at the same time, given the screen in which I was then sat.
Filmmakers – just stop trying to be fancy, pick one of the two main ratios (unless you’re going for IMAX) and stick with it.
And for my end-credit adventures, thankfully, no cleaners reared their heads before the credits finished, so I could watch them without the bright lights interrupting proceedings.
However, while at the time I went (11.30am), it was pretty quiet in the Trafford Centre, since the shops on a Sunday don’t open until midday, when I came out, the queues were heaving, and they still only have two queues when it’s busy. It’s a shame they appear to have mothballed the old kiosks which you still pass on the way to the main cinema entrance. There was very little queueing time with those.
Running time: 146 minutes
Release date: June 10th 2022
Studio: Universal Pictures
Format: 2.00:1 (DXL RAW (8K), Panavision Super 70, Super 35)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Producers: Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall
Screenplay: Emily Carmichael, Colin Trevorrow
Characters: Michael Crichton
Music: Michael Giacchino
Owen Grady: Chris Pratt
Claire Dearing: Bryce Dallas Howard
Ellie Sattler: Laura Dern
Alan Grant: Sam Neill
Ian Malcolm: Jeff Goldblum
Kayla Watts: DeWanda Wise
Ramsay Cole: Mamoudou Athie
Maisie Lockwood / Young Charlotte Lockwood: Isabella Sermon
Lewis Dodgson: Campbell Scott
Dr. Henry Wu: BD Wong
Barry Sembène: Omar Sy
Gemma Zhao: Jasmine Chiu
Franklin Webb: Justice Smith
Dr. Zia Rodriguez: Daniella Pineda
Rainn Delacourt: Scott Haze
Soyona Santos: Dichen Lachman
Wyatt Huntley: Kristoffer Polaha
Jeremy Bernier: Caleb Hearon
Denise Roberts: Freya Parker
Angus Hetbury: Alexander Owen
Sundar Kumar: Ahir Shah
Adult Charlotte Lockwood: Elva Trill
Farmer Peréz: Teresa Cendon-Garcia
Alicia Peréz: Manuela Mora
Ramon Peréz: Bastian Antonio Fuentes
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.