The Peanut Gallery Reviews Jurassic World Dominion
PG Score: 5.75/10
Jurassic World Dominion was released in theaters on 6/10/22
After helping pen the Fallen Kingdom script, co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World and Safety Not Guaranteed) returns to tackle what is being billed as the conclusion of the series (don’t hold your breath). In Jurassic World Dominion, he exhibits adequate care for the source material in some areas and utter disregard for it in others. The film displays several exhilarating set pieces but is plagued by inane dialogue, pacing woes, sprawling subplots, and the shameless shoehorning in of Jurassic Park throwbacks.
The blockbuster is set four years after the events of its predecessor. Humans and dinosaurs now coexist in a much closer capacity than ever before. (Un)naturally, it is only a matter of time before this delicate relationship is pushed to the brink.
Jurassic Park OGs
This time around, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by the cast from the saga's genesis. Laura Dern and Sam Neill reprise their roles as Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant. Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong have previously been a part of the Jurassic World trilogy, and that pattern continues in Dominion. While it is initially a treat to see the key members from the original back on screen together, the elation quickly dissipates thanks to gimmicky callbacks and forced interactions with their younger counterparts. These cringeworthy moments are plentiful and a nuisance every time they occur. It is disappointing that such nostalgic potential is squandered by lazy writing and more specifically, empty conversations.
Runtime and Storyline Issues
Clocking in just shy of two and a half hours, this is the longest runtime of the saga. Even before the third act begins, it becomes evident that the extended length is unnecessary. Most of the human-only screen time consists of dull conversations and failed attempts to dig below the surface of the hollow characters. Because there are so many different events happening simultaneously and the protagonists are so spread out all over the map, the parallel storylines are scattered beyond belief. Anything remotely resembling an accessible narrative goes extinct upon arrival.
Sprinkling in the dumbfounded facial expressions of Howard’s Claire Dearing and lame one-liners from Pratt’s Owen Grady further sours a flawed recipe. The long-winded monologues from virtually every single scientist and/or villain to enter the frame add to the cliché concoction’s bad aftertaste. The dino-free scenes cause the momentum to grind to a screeching halt and are simply uninteresting. These shortcomings would not be as magnified if more of the time allotted to the one-dimensional Homo sapiens was absorbed by the Mesozoic marvels that are by far the real stars.
Jurassic World Dominion contains numerous breathtaking shots that highlight how far technology has come over the years. The CGI is spectacular and shines especially bright during the various sequences of destruction that take place across the globe. In one particularly frenetic chase, lightning-quick predators tear through a crowded marketplace as they bust through walls, decimate vendor stands, and leap from rooftops in pursuit of their target. Considering the focus on hand-to-hand combat and similar settings, certain moments do feel like a Bourne movie with dinosaurs. This is more of an amusing observation than a knock, though.
It is a huge plus to see a healthy balance of large-scale chaos and more contained, tense terror. Another welcome surprise is the sheer number of different creatures that make an appearance. This may be anyone’s last chance to put fans’ favorite species on the big screen, and Trevorrow’s efforts to include them all do not go unnoticed. Additionally, the fact that practical effects are even featured in this department is a triumph. The sound design captures the raw power each dino commands as their deafening battle cries and thunderous movements blast through the speakers.
Going Out Without a Bang
Colin Trevorrow’s DNA is inextricably linked to the Jurassic World trilogy for better and for worse. In his most recent outing, it is largely the latter apart from the dino-mite action. If this is really the end of an era, then it is hard not to view Dominion as somewhat of a missed opportunity.
PG Score: 5.75/10