Jurassic World Dominion Review
Is this a good franchise? Or two good movies?
Quick Thoughts - Jurassic World Dominion confirms something that many Jurassic fans have known for years, these movies don’t work as continuous stories. They should have always been one-off films, not trilogies. Jurassic Park was fantastic and Jurassic World was pretty good, but after those, both trilogies went off the rails. This film is no exception and probably the best example on why sequels are nothing but fluff in a universe where dinosaurs roam the earth.
The Bad - My main problem is the lack of character development throughout the film. As the bow on not only this trilogy, but the whole franchise, more should have been delivered. Most of the talk coming out of the film was the choice to bring back the original cast. What most people don’t realize though is that they had to do that because they were out of story to tell with Owen and Claire. Their arcs were wrapped well before this film and it showed - the only purpose they served in this movie was trying to search for Maisy. Heck, a Velociraptor had a better arc in this film than either of the two main characters did. I get that every character doesn’t have to have a full and complete arc throughout a trilogy or in every single film, but the main characters should. There is no excuse for the main characters serving no purpose in this movie. You literally could have replaced Pratt and Howards characters with two random people we had never met before in this universe and it would have been the exact same movie.
Unfortunately the flaws with this film don’t stop there. The script was clumsy and at times just appalling (see scene with Dern and Howard alone). The first half of the film does a very poor job tying together multiple story lines, it feels clunky and tough to follow at times. Then the second half of the film is capped off with a really awkward and embarrassing three way dinosaur fight that serves no purpose other than to conveniently help the main characters escape.
Finally, the movie was about 50 minutes too long. Anyone who has seen it knows that is a pretty obvious observation, but it is still worth mentioning. Often when you walk out of a movie and say it was too long, you start to think through how it could have been trimmed and realize it was as long as it was for a reason. That isn’t the case with Jurassic World Dominion. You could cut almost half the movie and still get the gist of what the filmmakers were trying to convey. Anytime that is the case, it probably isn’t a great film.
The Good - The best thing this film had going for it was bringing back the original cast. Jeff Goldblum was the shining star, but the whole trio made the movie bearable. While that was a strong positive for the film, it also a negative because it made the audience acutely aware of how disinteresting the storyline involving Pratt and Howard was.
Not every good thing about the film has a negative twist though, there is one scene that was lots of fun. The 15 minute scene takes place towards the beginning of the film and features Pratt and Howard fighting off raptors and concludes with a bike chase through a crowded city. The bike chase in particular had some really unique edits and tight cuts as it attempts to put you in Pratt’s shows as makes sharp turns and rounds tight corners. This scene in particular is a great reminder of what this franchise is at its best, a blast.
Finally, as you would except, there are plenty of dinosaur moments and close calls. The best one comes in the middle of the movie when Bryce Dallas Howard goes underwater to evade a dinosaur hunting her down. After 5 films, you would think they would run out of cool dinosaur close calls (and this film later shows that they kind of have), but for that particular scene they pulled off something special. Rating - 40/100
Best Performance - Jeff Goldblum
Honorable Mention - Sam Neil
Will I watch again - No
Would I recommend - No, I promise there are much better ways to spend 2 1/2 hours
Final Takeaways - This movie is going to inevitably make loads of money at the box office, which I hope doesn’t make the studio executives change their mind on this being the last installment. I genuinely hope that this disaster of a film helps them realize that this IP has been milked for everything it is worth. However, I am sure that three or four years down the road we will hear that it is being rebooted again or we are getting a spin off show.