It has been almost thirty years since moviegoers first saw genetically engineered, prehistoric creatures on the big screen and seven years since Jurassic World brought dinosaurs to a whole new generation. Then, in 2018, the second film in the Jurassic World trilogy, Fallen Kingdom, saw the destruction of Isla Nublar and the escape of hundreds of dinosaurs that then scattered the world over. Now, four years later, we finally get to witness the conclusion of the second trilogy as Jurassic World Dominion opens worldwide this week. Looking back to the past, this film combines the old with the new in a melding of stories, science, and two generations of characters.
Owen (Chris Pratt; Guardians of the Galaxy) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard; The Help) live a quiet life in the mountains with Maisie (newcomer Isabella Sermon) as humans and dinosaurs try to co-exist. However, there are some who would rather see the dinosaurs in cages and who are searching for Maisie for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, a mutant swarm of two-foot-long locusts has decimated farms all over the country threatening grains used for animal feed and human consumption worldwide. Of course, behind it, all is an entrepreneur named Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott; House of Cards) who sees his work as humanitarian because scientists are able to separate mutated genes to cure disease.
Director Colin Trevorrow (The Book of Henry) is back for this final installment, after taking a hiatus from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and I wish I could say it is nice to see him back in charge. However, he is all over the place both scene and shot wise making Dominion chaotic and choppy. Additionally, credited as co-writer, he and his partner, Emily Carmichael (Pacific Rim: Uprising), dialed this script in without making it unique (I.e. when Claire is ejected from the plane and parachutes into the Italian mountains, she ends up hanging in a tree, naturally).
The cast is possibly the only saving grace, as the "World" characters merge with the "Park" ones in what amounts to a mutual "lovefest". "I admire your work so much", "I read your book", "You trained Dinosaurs" etc. Pratt and Howard are as good as they have been previously. Isabella Sermon is very good as well and we should continue to see solid work from her in the future. Of course, the biggest draw of Dominion is the return of Alan Grant (Sam Neill; In The Mouth of Madness), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern; Marriage Story), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum; Independence Day) and they don't disappoint. There are a few newcomers to this franchise and among them is standout DeWanda Wise (The Harder They Fall).
I'm not really sure how computer graphics have taken a step backwards but Trevorrow managed to do it. The dinosaurs look completely fake which is distracting and takes viewers out of the movie. The backgrounds also look fake sometimes such as when the airplane is flying over the mountains. The villain, played by Campbell Scott (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is stereotypical in everything he says and does and he has nothing really gritty to sink his teeth into.
To say Jurassic World Dominion is a disappointment is an understatement. While not as bad as Jurassic Park III or The Lost World: Jurassic Park, it is certainly not worthy of closing out this epic franchise. It subtly offers its political views on environmental issues and "playing God" by cloning DNA but Jurassic World Dominion seems to have taken a step backwards in every way. Poor CGI, lazy dialogue, recycled tropes, etc. makes this over two-hour movie seem even longer as pacing alternates between rushed and slower than dirt.
I know Jurassic World Dominion will be a box office success simply because it is part of a beloved franchise but had it been a stand-alone film, it very well might have been a flop.