- Jared Huizenga
Jurassic World Dominion is Colin’s Smirking Revenge
I’m not sure what good movies did to Colin Treverrow, but somewhere along the line they hurt him. They hurt him bad. And now it appears he’s made it his life’s work to avenge that hurt by churning out some of the most embarrassingly mindless and, quite frankly, bad movies of the last decade.
Trevorrow’s latest outing, ‘Jurassic World Dominion,’ is the writer/director’s latest assault on the cinematic world. Destined to rake in piles of cash off the backs of its five predecessors, ‘Dominion’ serves as the presumed finale of a once great franchise that probably should’ve ended in 2001.
Chris Pratt as Owen Grady in ‘Jurassic World Dominion.’ (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures ©2022 Universal Pictures)
‘Dominion’ picks up where ‘Fallen Kingdom’ left off – with dinosaurs roaming the planet free from the constraints of fences or parks or islands.
Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) are living in relative seclusion, helping keep dinosaurs safe from poachers and raising orphaned clone Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) as their own. Unsurprisingly, the bad guys are after Maisie, along with Owen’s raptor bestie, Blue, so staying vigilant is a full-time job.
Meanwhile, global conglomerate BioSyn, led by idiosyncratic weirdo Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), has been awarded an exclusive government contract to run yet another remote sanctuary for the once extinct creatures roaming the globe. BioSyn appears to be on the up and up, and even employs our old friend Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Despite BioSyn’s outward appearance, some mysterious creatures have captured the attention of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), who recruits former flame/coworker, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), to investigate the company and its actions.
Seemingly unconnected events lead all of our leading characters to converge on BioSyn headquarters to battle evil manmade forces, while avoiding the hungry jaws of carnivorous predators.
Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing ‘Jurassic World Dominion.’ (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures ©2022 Universal Pictures)
I won’t speak much on the acting because strong performances have never been the bedrock of the ‘Jurassic’ series. Goldblum is funny, but underutilized, as is franchise newcomer DeWanda Wise as pilot Kayla Watts. Pratt is Pratt – somewhat likeable, but rarely believable. Howard and Sermon are kind of just there for the ride. And, while some will hail the performances of Dern and Neill as highlights, they’re certainly confusing nostalgia for quality. Yes, it was nice to include original characters/actors in the franchise finale, but it’s little more than window dressing.
There are also some really fun Easter eggs that connect ‘Dominion’ with the original film. These, in my opinion, are much more entertaining and impactful than melding old and new characters.
As always, the dinosaurs are the true star of ‘Dominion,’ although they really take a backseat to everything else. Rather than being the focal point of the action and danger the characters face, they’ve been relegated to a vehicle to propel over-the-top high-speed chases and plane crashes or used weapons of mass destruction so ridiculous that Dr. Evil would think they’re terrible ideas. Frankly, these dinos deserved a better sendoff.
Which brings me back to Trevorrow.
I cannot remember a time when a filmmaker has fallen so far, so fast. Bursting onto the scene as director of the wonderful indie ‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’ Trevorrow showed early promise. He followed that up by writing and directing the very OK ‘Jurassic World,’ which jumpstarted the long-dormant franchise. Even after directing the abysmal ‘The Book of Henry,’ I was pumped when he was tabbed to direct Episode IX of the ‘Star Wars’ series. Booted from that film, he next wrote (and executive produced) the ridiculous ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ before returning to the dual role of writer and director (and again executive producer) of ‘Dominion.’
Each time out his work gets more ridiculous and, despite having larger budgets at his disposal, feels more amateurish than his previous effort. There’s no rule that says big budget blockbusters can’t make both money and sense, but it seems Trevorrow and the people who keep handing him the keys to their movies don’t prescribe to that.
(Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures ©2022 Universal Pictures)
A friend asked me about the plot and all I could do is laugh. Sure, there are two distinct stories taking place in ‘Dominion,’ but neither is very good. They instead feel like little more than a bridge between ridiculous action sequences that may or may not have anything to do with the dinosaurs that have been at the center of this franchise for nearly 30 years.
In fact, there are times ‘Dominion’ feels more like a ‘Fast & Furious’ sequel than a ‘Jurassic Park’ sequel – ‘2 Fast 2 Raptory’ if you will.
‘Dominion’ is a mess from start to finish with two asinine stories that are equally incoherent, which are then combined into one T-Rex-sized tale of buffoonery for no reason other than to show some semblance of continuity between the main characters of the ‘Park’ and ‘World’ trilogies. Keep in mind, these stories are asinine when compared to previous movies about scientists bringing animals back to life 65 million years after their extinction.
The only thing I hate more than having wasted two-and-a-half hours of my life watching it is knowing that I’ll probably end up buying it on Blu-ray simply because I own the other five.
★ of ★★★★★