Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
Jurassic World Dominion (2022)

Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure Running Time: 2 hrs. 26 min.

Release Date: June 10th, 2022 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Colin Trevorrow Actors: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, BD Wong, Omar Sy

 


 

T

hree decades have passed since John Hammond’s original vision for a dinosaur-themed amusement park ended in disaster. Now, through further recklessness, corruption, and even experimentation, wild dinosaurs have spread across the globe. While most were moved to national and private parks, including multi-billion dollar genetics company Biosyn’s Italian sanctuary, some remain in illegal underground dinosaur markets. When a large, aggressive new species of locust begins devastating crops across the United States, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) join forces with chaotician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to investigate the source of the mysterious scourge. Meanwhile, former Jurassic World employees-turned-activists Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) scramble to Malta to attempt to rescue their adoptive daughter Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) after she is kidnapped by dinosaur poachers.

The series now exists in an eerie, passably postapocalyptic world – like that of zombie flicks – in which dinosaurs roam among mankind, providing means of death and destruction, but also opportunities for entertainment, exploitation, and illegal trade. There’s no going back; some primordial creatures make for cute pets, while others are a threat to ecosystems. With this premise, it no longer feels at all like the world originally visualized by Steven Spielberg.

And although the sound effects are mostly the same (from blaring sirens to velociraptor cawing), the thunderous theme music (created by John Williams) is used so sparingly that it might as well have been replaced altogether. At least there’s mild amusement, in the form of a few seconds, from reuniting key players like Dern and Neill, adorned in garb reminiscent of their 1993 outing. Goldblum is back as well, but, like BD Wong, his appearance in recent chapters makes his turn here, though significantly larger, much less of a special affair. Gathering the casts of both the original pictures and the reboots (like what was done with the Star Trek, X-Men, and Ghostbusters franchises) is momentarily engaging, but it ultimately just results in too many lead roles, none of which ever feel as if in genuine danger, considering that they must be impervious to harm to keep the property going.

What worked so well in the first movie was the isolation; it may be a mix of science-fiction and fantasy, but something moderately believable existed in the notion of a dinosaur-filled park on a secluded, paradisiacal island. Once those larger-than-life monsters occupy human habitats (a major problem for “Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem”), any sense of realism is utterly lost; it’s almost like a space opera at that point, relegated to pure prehistoric phantasma (fortunately, the second half of the movie takes place in yet another iteration of Jurassic Park). Infusing the concept of a human clone (spoken about as if freakishly inhuman, rather than merely twin-like) is additionally extraneous, while specially trained assassin-raptors (traded in black-market dino bazaars) are silly at best.

Too many subplots spill over from the previous episode, bogging down the pacing and taking away screentime from the dinosaurs themselves. No less than five separate introductions are required to remind viewers as to who the leads are and what they’re up to, recapping their careers and goals now that evil scientists are continuing to do evil scientist stuff with altered dino DNA. All originality has apparently evaporated; it’s not even much of an excuse for dinosaur carnage and adventure anymore, since major action sequences resemble James Bond missions (with “Uncharted” levels of impossible stunts), and virtually nothing changes concerning the ravenous giants during the course of the film. “The sum of our human indifference has led to our annihilation.”

Perhaps most disappointing of all is that the few moments that do involve dinosaur and human interactions are either homages to previous clashes, mirroring the choreography of signature evasions, or repetitive chases that do little but reaffirm the invincibility of headliners and the utter impotence of what are supposed to be ultimate killing machines. Countless chase scenes arise, demonstrating the superior speed and agility that humans have over dinosaurs, rather than the other way around. Outrunning a velociraptor seems to be an everyday occurrence.

It also doesn’t help that extreme coincidences dictate the inevitable reunions of separated parties, and that the geography makes no sense; people use a hyperloop system to speed across the preservation via underground tunnels, yet manage to walk back and forth between labs and lobbies as if connected by a mere hallway, not only bumping into each other at opportune times, but also arriving at exactly the right minute for a rescue or escape. Almost comically, a line of dialogue references how the computer systems in Italy are identical to the ones in Jurassic World, allowing for instant knowledge on how to accomplish very specific technical tasks. By the end, the plot is so familiar, the action so routine, the revelations so unmemorable, and the personas so numerous and unstimulating that the entire production feels as if a greatest hits compilation instead of a brand new, big-budget dinosaur extravaganza.

– The Massie Twins

  • 3/10