Published On: Thu, Jun 9th, 2022

Jurassic World Dominion review: Universal finds a way to waste Jurassic Park heroes | Films | Entertainment

Jurassic World Dominion is the sixth film in the Jurassic Park franchise – and it really feels like it.

Dominion begins four years after the events of Fallen Kingdom, which ended with dinosaurs being let loose around the world. Now, they have been (somewhat) integrated into society. They’re kept as pets, used in hunting and gathering, while also generally acting as a looming threat throughout the movie.

Owen Grady returns, played by the absolutely gormless Chris Pratt, alongside Claire Dearing, who is given a better-than-she-deserves performance from Bryce Dallas Howard. Fallen Kingdom’s first human clone, Maisie Lockwood, is also back and is being hidden in a cabin in the woods for her “protection”. 

But the now-teenage Maisie isn’t happy with that idea. And before long, Biosyn – the (sort of) new evil corporation – finds her and wants to use her DNA for research purposes.

After Maisie is inevitably captured, Owen and Claire vow to get her back.

What follows is a mishmash of messy narrative threads that are strung together in the most nonsensical ways possible.

While Owen and Claire venture off to find Maisie, a plot point involving large bugs (no, really) ropes in classic Jurassic Park hero Dr Ellie Satler (Laura Dern) to the journey. She, in turn, recruits Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill) before rendezvousing with Dr Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).

Dominion has promoted the return of these characters just like Marvel touted the comeback of the original Spider-Men actors. And rightly so – it’s really exciting! But, ultimately, their return is squandered.

Satler, Grant and Malcolm do almost nothing in Jurassic World Dominion. They bumble through some evil corporate rooms and run from dinosaurs, sure. But, really, they offer nothing of value to the forever-expanding plot other than star power. And, to be honest, it’s really sad to watch.

Even when they ultimately meet up with Owen and Claire in the midst of a powerful scene, it felt as if the viewers should be roaring like a T-Rex with joy… but instead, nought but a whimper was heard. And what’s worse is that the reintroduction of these three icons actually bloats the film even more. The already tragic plot is spread very thin, like butter over too much bread. Because of this, nobody gets a real, powerful moment to shine. 

Grant does nothing but grunt. Satler tries her best, to no avail. Owen provides nothing more than a cardboard cut-out action hero, and Claire simply falls into the worst situations imaginable.

The only outlier in this is the wonderful presence of Goldblum.

Goldblum is magic on the big screen. His few scenes are absolutely hilarious, and his charm is palpable. His return – albeit brief – really felt like the Dr Ian Malcolm was back in full force.

Unfortunately, he felt underused in the overall plot, which was overall extremely confusing, frivolous, unengaging, and a complete puzzle.

With that said, a lot of the action scenes interspliced within the film itself were… unexpectedly fantastic to watch.

Jurassic World Dominion showed off a number of locations around the world covered in dinosaurs in a gorgeous and intelligent way.

Whether it was Owen riding a motorbike through Malta (a moment which felt like a Mission: Impossible movie, complete with daring stunts and thrilling near-misses), or a Texan farm with unexpected visitors – these were the moments that made Jurassic World feel like an actual _world_ inhabited by fantastical creatures. And the dinosaurs themselves were stunning to look at! The detailing, their movements… Universal has obviously paid close attention to how these creatures live and breathe, and it is kind of jaw-dropping.

But, before you know it, the focus has – again! – been shifted to a bland, chromium research facility in the middle of nowhere devoid of all personality and depth. It is lazy and bland.

It is clear the plot had nowhere to go. And this is proved in the film’s final moments which are wrapped up in a montage and a voiceover before abruptly cutting to black – no really.

Jurassic Park and Jurassic World fans will no doubt enjoy returning to this incredible franchise, and they’ll love seeing their favourite characters make a comeback after so many years, but I fear they may come away from cinema screens feeling hollowed by the experience.

Jurassic World Dominion hits cinemas on Friday.

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