This past weekend, the latest film from the Jurassic World franchise, Jurassic World: Dominion, debuted in theaters across America. The good news is that people are slowly but surely returning to the movie theaters as we all try to continue life amidst the COVID pandemic. Evidence of this is the fact that Dominion grossed over $140 million at the box office in its opening weekend. So what’s the bad news? All of that hard-earned money that people spent to see the film was wasted.
I don’t like to say this, because I know how much money, time and effort goes into making a movie – but Jurassic World: Dominion was trash. I left the theater feeling torn because I really used to enjoy the franchise, but if this was indeed the finale to it all, then part of me wishes the Jurassic World comeback never happened to begin with. On the other hand, I felt anger and the desire for yet another follow-up. It really can’t all end like that, can it? It deserves so much better. In fact, I’d even be in favor of a complete reboot in a few years – not because Jurassic Park wasn’t done right the first time, but simply to get the bad taste of my mouth from this one.
Dominion stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard once again as its centerpieces, Owen and Claire. The couple team up with stars of Jurassic Park past, Alan Grant (played by Sam Neill), Ellie Satler (played by Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum), for the purpose of figuring out a way to stop the giant, deadly beasts from dominating our ecosystem and taking over the Earth. Of course, bringing back the stars from the original Jurassic Park sounds fun and intriguing. However, it turned out to be neither of those things. Instead, we were given a bunch of clueless, cheesy dialogue (i.e. – five, yes, five different times a character yells “What?!” to something said to them throughout the movie) and predictable outcomes.
For example, there were a few classic lines that were recycled in this movie in an effort to bring back the nostalgic feels from previous films, but they didn’t quite hit their intended marks. Ironically, despite such efforts to ignite nostalgia within the sorry script, the legendary Jurassic Park theme by John Williams wasn’t used once throughout the whole film. WHAT?!
Sorry, but I have to continue my rant. Jurassic World: Dominion has an equal amount of plot holes as it does plots in general. With that being said and without giving spoilers, I felt like I watched two and a half hours of a film about a cloned girl and an outbreak of giant cockroaches instead of a movie about flesh-shredding dinosaurs. Speaking of said dinosaurs, for God’s sake, how many times can Chris Pratt standing still with his arms out to the man-eating raptors stop them from tearing him apart?! It was cool in Jurassic World when he initially did it because it showed how well he trained Blue, but now it’s kind of ridiculous and annoying.
Colin Trevorrow managed to write and direct a movie about dinosaurs where the dinosaurs themselves were simply part of the supporting cast at best. I don’t know what this guy did to have gotten this gig, but aside from Jurassic World itself in 2015, Trevorrow has ruined the franchise. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was not nearly as good as its predecessor, and now Dominion is even worse. In addition, I believe most Star Wars fans would agree he brought on the same negative trajectory to that franchise as well. With very little under his belt, Trevorrow somehow was given the keys to two of the biggest and best franchises in the history of cinema and set them both back big time.
I could go on, but I’ll mercifully stop there. The last thing I’ll say is this – Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and most importantly the fans of the Jurassic Park series, deserved so much better. I understand the money grab and they wanted to cash in on the opportunity, but as accomplished actors they had to have known this script was not even subpar. It was downright bad and extremely disappointing.
Jurassic World: Dominion is closer to earning a Razzie nomination than any Oscar. For that reason, I’ll stick with the classic, remember the good times, and re-watch the original Jurassic Park at some point soon this summer. Not just because I love the movie, but more importantly to serve as a mind eraser to help me forget Dominion ever was a thing.
MATTER RATING: 3/10
OSCAR SCALE: 1/10 (Visual Effects)
BY CHRIS GUEST