The most recent and seemingly final entry into the Jurassic World franchise proves why this series of movies was doomed from the start and why this IP needs to, once and for all, go extinct.
Dinosaurs & Humans – Good Idea, Right?
Set 4 years after the events of the previous film Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, Jurassic World Dominion finds us in a world in which humans and dinosaurs live – and hunt – alongside each other all across the globe. A pretty slick idea, right? Not one I’m opposed to at all. But this movie immediately finds itself relying on the classic “evil mega-corporation only cares about money and wants to play God” trope that so many of these, and other blockbuster-level movies, find themselves clinging to. Which is a big bummer. Especially in a created and curated world in which so many possibilities could turn into reality. But alas, I am already digressing into what I wanted this movie to be instead of what it was: a massive franchise failure.
Throughout the lengthy (and trust me, you feel it!) 2-hour and 26-minute runtime, we are introduced to several storylines: Taking down the mega-corporation BioSyn and their eerily on-the-nose Tim Cook lookalike leader, rescuing Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and protecting her from genetic testing, saving the planet from a complete food chain breakdown caused by BioSyn and their engineered locusts that are the size of footballs, and rescuing a baby Velociraptor to name a few. This doesn’t even encapsulate the introduction of new dinosaurs like the Giganotosaurus and Oviraptor, the crashing of a plane into an ice lake with a dinosaur that can both fly AND swim, and the prominent re-introduction of legacy characters such as Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you? There’s a lot going on. The whole time. And it’s not to its benefit.
Convoluted and confusing, this movie travels to what feels like 8 different locations in the first 8 minutes. The adventurous spirit is there, which is key to any dinosaur-focused film, but it ultimately feels like a lackluster execution of trying to make too much happen. While the movie has stars in both Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard at its center and newcomers like Dewanda Wise and Mamoudou Athie along its sides, it never lets them do very much. I wanted more out of their individual characters and how they were impacted by the events taking place in the newfound dinosaur-human world. And I know it sounds like I’ve said nothing beneficial about this bogged-down IP of a movie, so here are 2 specific things I did like.
The Almost Good
First off, dinosaurs. You knew this movie was about dinosaurs, right? And on an IMAX screen, those look pretty freaking cool, especially considering they made some smart choices in mixing it up between strictly CGI and practical dinosaurs. Something the original Jurassic Park does so incredibly well is creating continuous tension between monstrous dinosaurs and small humans. This movie doesn’t create dinosaur tension on that caliber, but it does have moments that I thought were done well and even looked pretty epic. One scene, in particular, involves Bryce Dallas Howard holding her breath underwater while a massive dinosaur breathes on the water’s surface just above her, creating both palpable tension and some exhilarating visuals. Secondly, Jeff Goldblum never ceases to entertain me, and this movie is no different. Once you accept the fact that this movie plays better as a pure popcorn play, you can laugh at nearly every single line of dialogue Goldblum delivers, much as I did. At least someone was having fun with it, right?
Extinction Is Upon Us
Disappointing at nearly every turn, this entry into the Jurassic World franchise is further proof that Hollywood is going to continue to Hollywood. Perhaps it’s time for this franchise to finally succumb to the same fiery extinction the dinosaurs faced. Or perhaps it’s time for it to lay dormant for a few years until a young, eager scientist (read filmmaker) wants to play God with one of the biggest Hollywood IPs once more.[letsreview]