Almost thirty years after the release of Jurassic Park (1993), and arriving a year later than planned thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, action blockbuster Jurassic World: Dominion finally makes its way onto the big screen. The much-anticipated movie roars into UK and US cinemas today, to become the third and final entry in the Jurassic World trilogy, as well as the sixth (and also final) entry in the ‘Jurassic’ saga.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World: Dominion stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, BD Wong, DeWanda Wise, and Isabella Sermon. The movie picks up four years after the events of 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and focuses on an extinction level threat which stretches far beyond the usual dino fun.
In the movie, dinosaurs roam freely on Earth, with the human race doing its best to co-exist with these previously extinct creatures. For the most part, the dinosaurs run wild and humanity has to cope with this, but a large number of them are housed in a mountain compound owned by Biosyn Genetics.
To the public, Biosyn are a scientific corporation, looking to improve the world through the close study of these captive dinosaurs. However, behind the scenes, Biosyn’s CEO Lewis Dodgson, is using the dinosaurs for his own nefarious schemes.
Utilising dino DNA, Dodgson – with the aid of geneticist Dr. Henry Wu – has bred a race of genetically modified prehistoric locusts. His plan is to use the locusts to devastate the world’s supply of grain, thus placing the planet into food poverty in the process.
Of course, this is unless the planet starts investing in Biosyn grain. Dodgson has grown his own crop, which the locusts are genetically programmed to ignore, meaning he can control the food chain moving forward.
Although Dodgson believes his scheme is coming together as planned, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler has become wise to the situation. With the aid of her old friends, Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ian Malcolm, Ellie embarks on an investigation which she hopes will expose his plan.
Meanwhile, while everyone is getting caught up in a James Bond-style plot involving grain and mutant locusts (no, seriously), Owen Grady and Claire Dearing are trying to live peacefully in a cabin in the woods. Here they are doing their best to raise Maisie Lockwood – the mysterious clone girl introduced in the previous film – but things aren’t going so well.
And soon things sour further when Maisie is kidnapped, forcing Owen and Claire to set out on a rescue mission. This mission leads the pair toward Biosyn, where they meet up with Ellie, Alan, and Ian.
Can the combined forces of all these people rescue Maisie and foil Dodgson’s plan? Or will the world face grave peril as the locusts eat all the grain?
More importantly, are you still following this plot summary? I really hope so, because I’ve tried to make it as coherent as possible.
For the record, I’m not making any of the above up, the plot of Jurassic World: Dominion really does involve locusts. And you really need to like locusts, because they feature very heavily in this movie.
*Takes a very, very, very deep breath*
As highlighted above, Jurassic World: Dominion is both the concluding chapter to the three Jurassic World films, and the supposed end point to the overall six-part ‘Jurassic’ series. As such, the film not only has to tie-up story threads and character arcs from 2015 onward, it also has to provide a fitting climax to a decades-long story that has captivated fans since 1993.
However way you cut it, there is a great deal of weight resting on this film’s shoulders. Jurassic World: Dominion has to please lots of different people, and has to wrap-up various different plot points, all while remaining entertaining in its own right – and this is a big ask.
Regardless of what I am about to discuss, it is only fair to say that many films would struggle with such challenges. Take Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for example, which faced similar issues as the ninth and final entry in the Skywalker saga back in 2019, and you can see how the pressure can become a bit too much.
So, going into Jurassic World: Dominion I was aware this film was going to start off from somewhat of a disadvantage. It needed to tick various boxes before it could do anything else, and this made me a little concerned.
And I was right to be concerned. While Jurassic World: Dominion tries very hard to please, and certainly has a few good moments, this is largely a very bad movie.
Over-stuffed, too distracted with a nonsensical plot, and for the most part incredibly dull, Jurassic World: Dominion is without doubt the worst entry in the ‘Jurassic’ franchise. It is far worse than Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and is likely to bore audiences into a stupor, as well as frustrate them too.
It certainly bored me. At least one-third of this film, possibly even two-thirds, are mind-numbingly slow.
Things do get going toward the end, when the plotlines and characters converge ahead of the climax, but it takes way too long to get to this point. In the meantime, the movie tries to coast along on bland set-pieces, and some truly abysmal scenes featuring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
I feel that it is important for me to say that I have watched many movies featuring Christ Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard and have always found these actors to be enjoyable in their respective roles. So, I can’t quite fathom what went wrong with Jurassic World: Dominion, because these actors are beyond awful in this film.
Every time these guys are on screen, it is as if they have sucked the essence out of the air. They become complete charisma vacuums at every opportunity, removing all of the life and goodwill out of every frame, and it is so difficult to watch.
Pratt is arguably the worst of the two, giving a performance that feels stilted and forced. He grimaces his way through every moment, looking as if he doesn’t want to be in the movie at all, and I’ll be honest, I reached a point where I didn’t want him in the film anymore either.
I thought he was great in Jurassic World (mildly irritating in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), but here he’s just flat. There is no personality, no presence, no nothing, and because he has such a significant role in the film, it deeply impacts everything around him.
I’m not going to lay all of the faults of Jurassic World: Dominion squarely at Pratt’s feet, as there are multiple problems that have nothing to do with him. However, his performance is an issue, and it is a prominent one.
There is a scene in the movie in which his character throttles a dilophosaurus (yep, this is an actual scene), and for me, this whole sequence sums up my feelings about his involvement in the movie. Every time he is on screen, it feels as if he is throttling the life out of everything.
Pratt aside, the next big issue with this film is the plot about locusts and grain. It’s a pretty bad plot line, and it simply doesn’t make sense.
The locust plot is filled with holes, it takes up far too much screen time, and the resolution is beyond dumb. The whole thing also takes the focus away from the dinosaurs – the one element of a ‘Jurassic’ movie that audiences truly care about.
There are plenty of dinosaurs in the picture, so don’t worry about that, but because of the need to service the locusts, the dinos always feel as if they are background players in their own movie, rather than the star attraction. This is a huge mistake.
This film is the big finale to a dino-focused series, so the dinos should be the only thing this film is concerned about. Far too many creatures pop up in what feels like glorified cameos, and it’s simply not good enough.
I didn’t mention this in the plot summary above, but the story also includes a subplot about rescuing the offspring of Blue the velociraptor. This whole plot line is superfluous as the movie already includes a kidnapping plot, so it feels odd that it is here.
Why is it here? Presumably so that Blue can be included in the movie.
Blue is a fan-favourite character, so this is a way to ensure she is in the movie. But it’s a daft inclusion, which feels unnecessary, and is a fine example of the sheer excess on display in Jurassic World: Dominion.
I say excess because Jurassic World: Dominion is all about excess. It has too many characters, too many ideas, and too many plates spinning.
Oh, and did I mention the locusts? Well, it has too many of them too!
In fact, this film is so excessive that it struggles to contain all of its story beats and ideas, resulting in some truly awful corner cutting at the beginning and end of the film. This corner cutting involves a television reporter, who tops and tails the movie, to provide the film with some much-needed exposition.
She is wheeled out to explain to the audience what is going on. Her job is to try and make the plot of this film make sense, and while she does an admirable job, she simply shouldn’t be in this movie!
Remember the end of Spider-Man 3 (2007) when the news reporters were introduced into the climax of the film, to help explain what was going on, because the picture no longer made any sense? Well, this same sort of tactic is employed in Jurassic World: Dominion and it plays out just as badly.
Why did anyone think this was a good idea? Why does the movie have to rely on such heavy-handed storytelling?
Between the story and the screenplay, THREE people were involved in writing Jurassic World: Dominion, so why is this the best idea they could come up with? More importantly, did they ever discuss these ideas before they put pen to paper?
*Breathes a very heavy sigh*
*Takes a moment to reflect*
I think it’s fair to say that if you’ve read this far into my review, you’ll be wondering if I liked anything in this movie? Well, despite all of the bad stuff, the film does have some bright spots.
As noted previously, the final third of the film is pretty decent. Sure, it has some plot contrivances and some truly daft moments, but in essence this part of the movie is where the fun can be found.
The gags that should be present throughout the whole film can be located specifically in this section of the picture, and almost always in conjunction with Jeff Goldblum. Goldblum delivers all of the best jokes, the best lines in the film, and one of the best performances, and this is something worth highlighting.
But it’s not just Goldblum that shines – returning players, Laura Dern and Sam Neill are also fab in this film. In fact, the Goldblum-Dern-Neill trio are the best thing about this movie, hands down.
The film also benefits from a couple of scary(ish) moments and plenty of call-backs to Jurassic Park. But that’s about it.
This movie is bad. I’m sorry, but it is.
Going into Jurassic World: Dominion I really wanted to like this film. I love the ‘Jurassic’ films, and view Jurassic Park as one of my all-time favourite movies, so I hoped for the best; I really did.
But this is far from the best. Jurassic World: Dominion is clunky, it is awkward, but worst of all, it is boring.
Sure, parts of it are OK(ish) and long-time fans will find some enjoyment in the nods and references to the past, but this movie is a mess. It is not something I can see myself returning to any time soon (if at all), and that’s a big shame considering the legacy characters involved.
While I admit the film tries to make things work, trying does not cut the mustard. Jurassic World: Dominion sets off on the wrong foot, never really recovers, and feels very disappointing.
And of course, it has all those locusts. Those bloody awful locusts.