The Verdict On “Jurassic World: Dominion:” Is It Worth Your Time And Money??

Recently, my friend looked at my movie collection and noticed I had not purchased sequels or follow-ups to several of the films I owned. For example, in the “Jurassic Park” series, out of the five films released on a disc, I had only acquired 2: Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. I used to feel as a movie goer I had to be a completionist and have every film for my set to be finished. However, after the disastrously disappointing “Fallen Kingdom,” I have been much, very hard pressed to want to own sequels I don’t feel are watching again. Therefore, I decided to only buy the entries in a franchise I wanted to keep and ignore the rest. Still, I had some hopes “Jurassic World: Dominion” would join the ranks of my two previous “Jurassic” films in my collection, and there was only one way to find out: watch and see.

Set 5 years after the last film’s events, dinosaurs have become a natural part of humanity’s ecosystem and are living among humans around the world. Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) have gone into hiding with Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), with her being a clone, and Blue the raptor, who has now spawned a child of her own. When both are kidnapped and taken to a facility run by Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) and Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), an investigation brings old friends Alan Grant (Same Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) back together to explore what Dodgson’s company is up to.

The only thing “Fallen Kingdom” did right was set up the most brilliant idea in the whole franchise: bring the dinosaurs into a heavily populated area. The ending teased great possibilities of chaotic dinosaur carnage we had only briefly glimpsed with the last half of “The Lost World.” Sadly, all of those promising story possibilities were wrapped up in one infuriatingly quick news recap story that reset everything back to square one and diverted focus to a much less interesting story no one cared about or asked for in a dinosaur movie: crops disappearing due to mutant locusts. “Dominion” honestly feels like it forgot it’s a movie about dinosaurs and decided to toss in every weird, nonsensical, unrelated idea they scraped the bottom of the barrel for and just threw some Jurassic Park characters in to make it look like a sequel…but isn’t one.

Nearly all of the dinosaurs or scenes involving dinosaurs rehash the same setups and creature features we’ve seen (and seen it done better) in the previous five films. Callbacks are used as actual plot points and relied on too heavily since the primary plot points are too disconnected or stupid to be of any interest to anyone. For instance, the character Dodgson (the contact Nedry briefly talked to in the first film) is the villain here and owns the company with the locusts and dinosaurs. His involvement here carries no weight or relevance and since he’s played like a Steve Jobs tyrant with truly baffling performance choices, having him behind this ludicrous locust scheme feels silly and disjointed.

The same can sadly be said for the original returning cast members, Neil, Dern, and Goldblum. Their involvement here feels forced, and while I love seeing Grant and Settler FINALLY making good on those relationship sparks they were making in the first film, them being here doesn’t provide much actual necessity and feels more like fan service. Even Pratt and Howard, who also are finally making some solid progress as an onscreen couple, don’t bring anything new to the table. The franchise’s worst character introduced, Maisie, gets center stage this time around, and she’s infinitely more annoying than she was the first time around. No one in this film appreciates or utilizes the situational storyline they are in. Everything and everyone keeps getting sidelines by silly subplots that end up making the dinosaurs feel like extras rather than the stars. They have one great chase sequence chasing Claire in Europe, though; there’s that.

Overall, “Jurassic World: Dominion” is better than “Fallen Kingdom” but only barely, and that’s not a difficult mark to achieve anyway. Classic and new stars are brought together under poorly written reasons and a weak story that sidelines the dinosaurs for bugs and politics that have no place in this franchise. It wastes every good opportunity it has to make something truly epic and final. “Dominion” is not a return to form for the Jurassic franchise; it’s the mountainous pile of dino crap Ellie shoved her arms into, already triggering our memories of a better time and a better movie than this one.

I give “Jurassic World: Dominion” 1 ½ stars out of 4 stars.

Editorial credit: chingyunsong /

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