Jurassic World Dominion movie review: A stodgy, too-constructed affair that makes your teeth ache

Jurassic World Dominion movie cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, B D Wong, Isabella Sermon
Jurassic World Dominion movie director: Colin Trevorrow
Jurassic World Dominion movie rating: 2 stars

So, after nearly thirty years, here comes the last instalment of a world we had never seen before. In 1993, Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jurassic Park’ introduced us to the different sizes and shapes of the dinosaurs we would become familiar with. It was a film perfectly tailored for wide-eyed wonderment. It staggered our imagination. The adventures that followed, with their increasing levels of sophisticated computer graphics, never really matched up to that shock and awe we felt when we first set eyes on those unbelievably gigantic creatures which once roamed the earth.

In the new film, which will wrap one of the most lucrative franchises Hollywood has fashioned, dinosaurs are no longer confined to an island. They live alongside humans. But not everything, as they say, is hunky dory. Just like not all humans are alike, dinosaurs also come with built-in characteristics. Cruel carnivores, gentle long-necked herbivores, chirpy infants, and, the Dominion specials, the ones built as targeted missiles: once they lock on to you, you are as good as dead.

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No effort has been spared in making this one’s canvas bigger, but that doesn’t make the film necessarily better. We are reunited with the OG trio, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, all looking remarkably in good nick, and even more capable of managing stuff when the s**t hits the fan. The bright-eyed Dern talks the amiable Neill into joining her search of a new kind of predatory locust which destroys everything except crops grown by an evil corporation. On a secret plant in which nestles the corporation’s headquarters, far far away from prying eyes, is the very sleek Goldblum: is he enemy or ally?

Watch Jurassic World Dominion trailer:

There’s also ‘Jurassic World’ couple Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as guardians of a very special little girl (Isabella Sermon), The bad guys want her, as well as a young dinosaur, who lives with its watchful mother in the forest nearby. Will this bunch, which includes a feisty pilot (DeWanda Wise) be able to save the girl and the young creature, and in so doing, the planet? Of course, silly: of what use is a story spilling over with the fearsome Giganotosaurus if it’s not about humanity itself?

Sadly, except for the occasional flash, Dominion is a stodgy, too-constructed affair. And it is not even madly original. Some parts remind you of Spielberg’s ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’. A sequence in which dinosaurs are being auctioned to the highest bidder feels like a ‘Star Wars’ film clone, with all kinds of squiggly-squaggly critters and humans scattered about. There’s also a very Bond/ Bourne vibe when Pratt goes careering through the lanes of a warm-toned Mediterranean town, with killer dinosaurs on his trail. These dinos are new, or at least that murderous trait of theirs is, but the chase is so generic it makes your teeth ache.

The raptors try and make up for it. A climactic dino-on-dino fight, featuring the ‘two largest predators in existence’, has some moments, especially when the humans on the run are frozen with fear as the rapacious snout-and-teeth hover inches off their faces. We stop breathing too. But how long can the braying beasts hold our attention? Even when it comes to facing down the blank-faced villain (Campbell Scott), busy inserting his fingers into precious animal and human genomes for pelf and profit, it feels like we’ve seen similar stuff before.

The film leaves us with the same message as in its 2018 edition, that the only way out of our troubles is to co-exist. Which is all well and good. Seeing a little girl pet a baby dino in a pastoral, urban. sanitised park-type setting, you can’t help wondering: once this dino grows up, will he devour humans? You can’t change the nature of the beast, can you? And if you do, aren’t you interfering with the natural order of things? If ‘Dominion’ had been less scattershot, it may have seen this final messaging as a contradiction. And what would Michael Crichton, the author of the futuristic thrillers on which the franchise is based, think about this enterprise? Like us, not very much, I’d wager.


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