DIRECTOR: Colin Trevorrow

CAST: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Mamoudou Athie, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, Daniella Pineda, Campbell Scott, Isabella Sermon, Justice Smith, Omar Sy, DeWanda Wise, BD Wong, Elva Trill, Dimitri Thivaios, Varada Sethu

RUNNING TIME: 146 mins

CERTIFICATE: 12A

BASICALLY…: With dinosaurs unleashed upon the world, a mission will determine humanity’s future…

NOW FOR THE REVIEW…

If the Jurassic World movies have taught us anything – other than never to mess with the genetics of an extinct species – it’s that even the idea of dinosaurs living among us has its sell-by date. While it’s true that none of the follow-ups to Steven Spielberg’s original blockbuster Jurassic Park even came close to recapturing that original magic, there is something about the Jurassic World entries which have felt purely corporate as opposed to genuinely entertaining: lacking in any real sense of heart, soul, effects, and especially memorable or likeable characters, they seem to exist only to keep the franchise alive as well as profit off of audiences’ nostalgia for that first film. Say what you will about The Lost World: Jurassic Park or even Jurassic Park III, but they at least felt like they were driven by some kind of passion; none of the Jurassic World films, up to and including Jurassic World: Dominion, have mustered up any legitimate reason for existing beyond cold-hearted studio cynicism.

The third, and supposedly final (please, let it be final), entry in this particular trilogy is a fine example of how passionless franchise filmmaking can lead to utterly empty results, as it delivers everything you’d expect from a Jurassic movie or just a big summer blockbuster in general, except for that one crucial element: a soul.

Taking place four years after the events of the last film, dinosaurs now roam freely across the planet alongside humans and other lifeforms, which should be everything one needs to declare a global catastrophe – instead, though, humanity seems to have decided to just live with it, which is apparently going rather well since we’re told early on that there have only been 37 dinosaur-related deaths worldwide (which, needless to say, is pretty hard to believe). The plot only gets more convoluted and confusing from there, as on one end you have former raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, doing his best Mark Wahlberg impression throughout) and dinosaur activist Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) trying to hide young teen Maisie (Isabelle Sermon) from the world, on account of her being a genetic human clone and all, while on the other end there’s OG Jurassic Park trio Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) investigating the sudden appearance of giant locusts (just go with it) that are leading the world toward famine. Both plots tie in to an evil genetics company – clue to its evilness? The name of the company is BioSyn – with an evil, oddly Tim Cook lookalike scientist who is such a blatant bad guy that he even has his own Bond villain lair somewhere in the Dolomite Mountains, and has some kind of plan to make crops obsolete or something, it’s honestly hard to keep track at this point.

Oh, and every once in a while, some dinosaurs will chase our heroes in every direction.

That’s how much the dinosaurs are an afterthought in this weirdly overcrowded movie, which simply does not stop to give the audience any clarification as to who everyone is, where they’re all at in terms of the story, or why some of them apparently have the worst judgement calls when making one stupid decision after another. Even if you did rewatch all the Jurassic movies before this (both Park and World), Dominion has such little focus on consistent character and coherent plotting, in favour of just bombarding the viewer with one big action scene after another, that after a point it simply doesn’t matter who anyone is or why they are important. The movie numbs the mind with so much exposition and barely comprehensible action that it expects the audience to just shut up and enjoy the ride; unfortunately, the movie is neither fun nor entertaining enough to distract from all the inconsistencies one can dig up from this plot (to list all the things that don’t make sense would take up at least three-quarters of this review), and it very quickly becomes a tiresome and repetitive retread that will leave you more annoyed than anything.

Worse still, Jurassic World: Dominion ropes in some of its legacy figures to carry the movie on their frail shoulders. While it’s cool to see Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum reprise these characters, and to the actors’ credit they look like they’re the only ones having fun in this movie, the script – co-written by director and trilogy “champion” Colin Trevorrow – barely gives them much to do that is worthy of their important in the overall franchise. They are mainly just there because they were in the original, and nostalgia is fashionable in the blockbuster market right now, so they will conveniently show up in the right places at the right time in a lazy attempt to connect both trilogies. Not only that, but their presence only serves as a greater reminder of how much the main Jurassic World characters really suck by comparison; neither Chris Pratt nor Bryce Dallas Howard have any romantic chemistry, while young Isabelle Sermon is reduced to such a moody and unjustifiably mean teen stereotype that you’re almost rooting for the dinosaurs to gobble her up. Not even the trilogy’s most likeable character, the raptor named Blue, can save this movie because the dinosaur is barely in it; she bookends the movie with a couple of the film’s only charming scenes, and then just lets the less interesting humans completely take over.

That just about sums up Jurassic World: Dominion nicely: for a film where dinosaurs are meant to be the main attraction, they barely factor into the movie aside from being background fodder while leaving most of the action to humans you’ve long since stopped caring about. Not even the effects, both CGI and animatronic, look as smooth as they were in 1993, feeling much more robotic and lifeless in ways where you start to question if the filmmakers were even trying with this one. For something that is meant to cap off not one but two trilogies all at once, it drops the ball with dinosaur-on-dinosaur action so hard that the mere sight of a T-Rex fighting a Giganotosaurus generates almost zero excitement anymore. Instead, you’ll be checking your watch more often than you’ll be on the edge of your seat waiting for those giant reptiles to show back up, which if said nearly thirty years ago would have been unthinkable. That’s how low the series has gone now, going from pure blockbuster excitement to boring, stock and purely cynical product that can’t even compete with what came before.

Sadly, the time has now come to let this franchise go the way of the dinosaurs, and hope that years from now nobody decides to dig it back up and replicate its DNA.

SO, TO SUM UP…

Jurassic World: Dominion is a dull, convoluted and cynical trilogy concluder that lacks comprehensible action, sensical plotting and interesting characters (aside from the legacy characters brought back here), with not even enough dinosaur action to justify its wholly commercial existence.

Jurassic World: Dominion is now showing in cinemas nationwide – click here to find a screening near you!

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