Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
There are few franchises that I can claim to having seen every instalment at the cinema, but I’m glad to say this is one.
Some movies are MADE to be seen on the big screen, and few more than the “Jurassic” movies.
Last week I went to see the so-called “final” movie in the series:
Jurassic World Dominion (2022)
If you haven’t seen it, it’s co-written and directed by Colin Trevorrow (co-writer of the previous two instalments and director of Jurassic World), and stars Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village), Isabella Sermon (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), DeWanda Wise (Fatherhood), Mamoudou Athie (Underwater) and Campbell Scott (The Amazing Spider-Man) among many others.
This one also sees the return of the three main cast members of the original movie, Sam Neill (Dead Calm), Laura Dern (Little Women) and Jeff Goldblum (Thor: Ragnarok). BD Wong who’s starred in the previous two instalments as well as the original classic also reprises his role as Dr. Henry Wu.
This is what it’s about according to the internet:
“Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history's most fearsome creatures.”
I’d heard a lot of mixed reviews about this film before watching it. Based on everything I’d read or heard the general consensus seemed to be that the movie was average at best and lacked the Jurassic Park magic (I’ve felt like that about the previous two instalments to be fair).
I don’t know if it was due to my low expectations but I really enjoyed it.
Before I go any further I will just say this, people are never happy. I’ve said before that with remakes in particular, if too much is changed we moan that it’s nothing like the original, and if not enough is changed we complain that it’s basically exactly the same so what was the point in remaking it?
One of the most common criticisms I hear about the movies in this franchise is how they all have the same format: Dinosaurs get loose, chase people, people have to escape etc etc. This entry actually dares to do something a bit different and STILL people are complaining about it.
Let’s not forget that the first Jurassic Park film is a fantastic movie and also a totally original idea. It’s also one of those great 90’s movies (from a time when things just seemed so much simpler) so understandably it holds a great deal of nostalgia for a lot of us. No sequel was ever going to be able to live up it.
With all that said, I’ll get into the nitty gritty.
I thought with this one it would make things easier to split everything into “Good” and “Bad” headings so here goes:
The obvious draw with this film is the fact that the original three cast members are back in their respective roles. So often when this happens the actors are only brought back for cameos or for a mere few minutes of screen time (Jeff Goldblum in Fallen Kingdom, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson in Ghostbusters: Afterlife and so on). What’s great about this film is that Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum not only have major roles but their characters aren’t just shoehorned into the movie. They’re an integral part of the story which itself is very well sewn together.
As you’d expect, the return of Dr. Alan Grant, Dr. Ellie Sattler and Dr. Ian Malcolm brings back some of the magic to this series. It really is great to see them all on screen together again and their chemistry is one of the best things about the film. I have to say though, Jeff Goldblum steals the show once again and provides some of the more humorous moments in the film.
I wondered after Fallen Kingdom whether they’d pursue the whole human cloning storyline or if they’d quietly sweep it under the carpet and pretend it never happened. I was never a big fan of the idea to be honest, but it’s actually a big part of this new story and it ties everything together nicely.
What I liked about the story is that there are actually several different storylines going on all at once with one in particular bringing everyone and everything together. It’s really well thought out and nothing feels like it was forced in for the sake of it.
There’s lots of action, thrills, new dinosaurs, people in peril (as we’ve come to expect from a Jurassic Park/World movie) and the film has a good pace with lots of different locations changing things up so often that it really doesn’t feel like a 2 and a half hour movie (I always know I’m enjoying a film when I don’t check the time to see how long is left).
Something that annoys me in sequels like this is the amount of fan service they throw in.
So many films these days seem to rely on the nostalgia of the previous films and as a result, think it’s ok to give us a weak story. “Who cares if the story’s any good when there are so many nods to the original to keep the audience happy?”
Jurassic World Dominion gets it right with just enough nods to the previous movies to thrill us without it all feeling like a desperate attempt to win us over. On top of that, it backs it up with a decent story which is something few sequels do these days.
The main thing I didn’t like about this film is how many near miss scenarios there are in it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bit of suspense where you wonder if the character in question is going to survive, but there are so many of those in this film that it starts to feel a bit formulaic after a while.
Of course I don’t want any of the main characters to die, but when there’s no real danger because you know that they’ll be saved at the very last second it’s hard to invest, or at least fear for their safety (I ditched the series Supernatural after the Winchester brothers died a number of times but were somehow brought back).
There are also a lot of “convenient” scenarios and no real consequences for any of the things that happen. I’ve noticed that happening more and more in films over recent years.
One thing’s for sure though, if you’re a good guy you can rest assured you’ll survive, but if you’re a bad guy you’re pretty much f#cked!
Having said all that, I reminded myself that I was watching a Jurassic World movie, and just like when I’m watching a Mission Impossible film I let a few things slide, I decided to do the same for this.
Other than the hard to believe love connection between Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing (which has been the case since Jurassic World) there wasn’t a lot I didn’t like about this film - although I did think it was unnecessary for DeWanda Wise’s character to imply she was gay. If it had served some purpose in the story I’d get it, but it had no bearing on anything other than to tick a box and I hate when they do that.
All in all I really enjoyed this movie. I don’t know if I’ll feel differently about it after a second watch. I actually enjoyed Fallen Kingdom the first time around and now it’s my least favourite of the lot. It’s the only one I won’t watch if I see it showing on TV.
Is Dominion better than any of the other sequels? Certainly Fallen Kingdom, but for me nothing will top the original three.
As for the missing magic, I just wonder if much like the visitors to Jurassic World, we as viewers have become accustomed to seeing Dinosaurs now, and as a result are less and less impressed with each movie.
No matter how big they make them or how many teeth they give them, nothing will ever match the “ripples in the cup of water” scene in Jurassic Park where we’re introduced to the T-Rex for the first time. Maybe that’s what it all comes down to….
Either way, this is a decent entry to the franchise and I thought it wrapped things up nicely.
Still here? Thanks for sticking with it.
Don’t be put off by negative reviews, give this film a watch and make your own mind up.
Seen it? Let me know what you think.👇