This week I took a trip to the cinema to see Jurassic World Dominion. The third and final entry in the Jurassic World franchise from writer/director Colin Trevorrow. Recently released, it’s fair to say the critical reviews have not been good, and I don’t think the box office has been much better. I can see why. So without spoiling it too much here are my thoughts on the film.
The story picks up 4 years after the events of the previous film, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which I have seen but was struggling to remember the plot of if I’m honest. As with most of the films in this franchise, the plots aren’t that complicated, so don’t worry if you can’t remember either. You’ll pick up the idea pretty quickly. Guess what? Dinosaurs are roaming around the earth causing trouble, that’s basically it. However, they are freely living amongst humans at this point.
Main characters from the last film Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) live in seclusion and are raising teenage Maisie Lockwood, the cloned version of Benjamin Lockwood’s granddaughter. No I don’t remember her either but this seems pretty key to the whole story. Locked in Maisie’s DNA is the secret to curing all kinds of genetic diseases which means there’s no shortage of people who would love to take her away to a lab for experiments. Not least the shadowy corporation Biosyn Genetics, who work on dinosaur gene research and even have a large collection of specimens roaming free in their Italian dinosaur reserve in the mountains. I hesitate to call it a dinosaur park but I think you can see where this is going.
Maisie is kidnapped by Biosyn and taken away to Italy. Prompting Claire and Owen to chase after her which is the main driving point of the story.
Running alongside this main plot is a kind of B story involving much loved characters from the original Jurassic Park. Doctors: Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) who are also interested in the nefarious work of Biosyn. This time in creating genetically modified locusts which are wiping out large fields of crops and threaten the world’s food supplies. They are also seeking proof that Biosyn made the beasts. As you may predict this takes them to Italy and Biosyn’s dinosaur reserve as well.
I think that’s enough of a plot explanation as you may wish to watch the film yourself and I don’t want to spoil it in that case.
Overall I found the plot thin and not very well thought out. It only seems to exist to drive the characters from one big action sequence to the next. There are lots of films like this and it’s certainly not alone. It could be argued you don’t go to see a film like this for the story, just the effects and action. Sadly though I found some of the CGI work unconvincing and the effects overall just not up to par. One scene in particular where a character is ejected from a plane and the green screen background looks ridiculous as she descends through the air. In a world where every film has jaw dropping effects these days perhaps we’ve become spoiled or desensitised but I felt the effects could have been a lot better.
It seems in this world that anyone can stop a dinosaur by just putting their hand up, be it a tiny baby raptor or a giant T-Rex. Pratt’s character does this a lot as we’ve seen in previous films but here everyone is at it. Chris Pratt has shown in films like Guardians Of The Galaxy that he can really exude charm and humour. Here though he is reduced to simply posing and looking concerned most of the time. That’s a shame.
The concept of an evil corporation messing with DNA splicing and exploiting dinosaurs feels like it’s been done to death. In almost every one of these films we see it. The arch villain Lewis Dodgson (played by Campbell Scott) is really disappointing. The film could have benefited from better casting or writing, or perhaps both, in this area.
Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum do a decent enough job and all look amazing for their age, but it didn’t spark any nostalgia in me as I think perhaps the filmmakers hoped. At times it was hard to see the characters motivations and it felt like a series of set piece action sequences poorly strung together. Having so many main characters and jumping around between them made it hard to build empathy for anyone. Plus there was no real sense of peril in any of the action pieces. They didn’t draw me in.
It felt as though the director was so keen to get a little bit of everything in, playing the hits from previous films, that it was hard to really develop any of the characters or story.
Overall Verdict: 2/5
Far from going out with a bang this feels like the weakest of the Jurassic World trilogy to me. It’s not without it’s merits but I can’t honestly recommend it in good conscience. Perhaps kids would enjoy it more but the predictable plot, at times shonky special effects and mediocre acting didn’t add up to a great experience for me. I would rate this as average at best.
Have you seen Jurassic World: Dominion? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.
I’m not sure which film I will be reviewing next week but I’m open to suggestions. You can Tweet, email or leave a comment to let me know.
Thanks for reading.
2.5? What does it take to get 1?
Thanks for confirming my decision not to see it. I don’t consider myself that selective when it comes to films, but I was disappointed with the previous two.
For a film worth seeing for the special effects alone, no matter what anyone thinks of the story, I recommend last year’s Dune. I didn’t expect special effects to wow me any more, but that film did.
@Mike I think to score a 1 it would have to be one of the worst things I’ve ever seen and this was far from that. It’s not great and I would say wait for it to come on streaming services or TV. Not worth spending money on. It’s not a complete howler though.
Dune is a great film, I really liked it. Well worth seeing in a cinema for the big screen and sound system. I’m pleased they’re going to make another because the story really was left halfway told.
So, if you don’t mind the question, can you list a few movies you would put as a 1 or 1.5?
@Mike No I don’t mind the question at all. I’m just trying to think of some examples. I think perhaps my brain has blacked out these things to protect me from the trauma 😀
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon would have to rate a 1 for me. A waste of over 2 hours of my life I’ll never get back!
The A-Team film with Liam Neeson as Hannibal. Awful, just awful. At one point they guide a free falling tank through the air by firing the cannon on it. That scene was so bad it sticks in my memory. As a childhood mega fan of the TV series I couldn’t forgive that.
Yeah, I put the A-Team remake out of my mind. I never even watched the original show, but the movie was terrible.
All the Transformers live action films are awful, but I’m not sure they’re much worse than the Jurassic World films.