The closest I ever got to being in the world of Jurassic Park was when I was ten years old, and I went to Universal Orlando and to the Jurassic Park Discovery Centre. I remember it being my favourite part of my whole holiday, I watched as the dinosaur egg I had examined travelled to a different part of the centre and saw a baby Velociraptor pop out. I also was able to pet and stroke an animatronic baby Triceratops that tried to bite me after I stroked it too long. This is the feeling that I look for with every Jurassic Park/World film and I have never been able to feel it again since seeing Spielberg’s ground-breaking original of 1993. I said in my review of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that it was the most embarrassing Jurassic Park film I had seen, so could Dominion change my view by ending the Jurassic World trilogy with a bang? Short answer, no.
I guess it’s only fair to at least let Jurassic World: Dominion have some sort of defence, so how about the biggest shield it has from criticism? Dr.Grant, Sattler and Malcolm are back. (Though Dr. Malcolm was back already). They are, of course, the film’s biggest selling and marketing point. I guess there is a sense of bonding whenever a film brings back classic characters, it gives adults with young children a chance to both enjoy and be thankful for what came before. Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum all play their part well, although I will say the comparisons between Dr. Grant and Indiana Jones are a bit too on the nose in this one.
Something I’ve respected that the Jurassic World series did more than Jurassic Park is the amazing variety of dinosaurs. When you think about it, the first Jurassic Park didn’t exactly have a huge collection of different dinosaurs. Jurassic World films on the other hand have plenty of types of dinosaurs to fill your prehistoric encyclopaedia. To be honest, the Jurassic World films have always appealed to people who want to see an action film with dinosaurs (provided the film can make up its mind on what type of action it wants to be) and switch their brains off for two hours, so the chances are if you enjoyed the previous two films for just the dinosaurs, chances are you’ll enjoy Dominion too.
For those of you however who just want the film to capture the lighting in a bottle feeling of the first Jurassic Park film will not just be disappointed by Dominion, but infuriated like I was. Jurassic World: Dominion is only a Jurassic Park film by name alone, everything else about feels completely foreign to Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg’s original vision. Let’s start with groundbreakingly inferior effect for one. It’s no secret that the CGI dinosaurs are not as impressive as we know they could be. Although the filmmakers say they used more animatronics than CGI, the CGI will stick out more because of how inferior they look to something actually being there. Jurassic Park is supposed to make you believe in a world where dinosaurs are still alive and using animatronic dinosaurs was vital to that belief. From what I could see, Jurassic World: Dominion has animatronics, but it felt as though they prioritised them to smaller rather than larger dinosaurs. It makes you miss the days of having a life-size T-Rex.
I’m sorry to say though, that dinosaurs aren’t that important nowadays in a Jurassic World film. Dinosaurs aren’t even the big threat of the film. no,no,no, that title in Jurassic World: Dominion goes to… wait for it… locusts. Giant locusts. Possibly the most underwhelming thing in a big franchise since midi-chlorians. There are a lot of things I tolerate bad films doing, but lying to your audiences is one where I have to speak up. How many of you saw the trailer of Jurassic World: Dominion and thought you would see a film about dinosaurs on the loose in our world? Me to, but we barely see dinosaurs in our world aside from a motorbike chase scene. In essence, the trailer shows you pretty much a fraction of every scene involving dinosaurs in the film.
Instead of being centred around dinosaurs, the film centres around the human characters. Characters that we are already tired of. I’m sure Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as Owen and Claire are trying to make the material work, but there is no improvement of their characters to make them less generic, especially when they have to act side by side with the original Jurassic Park cast. Speaking of which, Dr. Grant, Sattler and Malcolm aren’t the only returning characters. Dodgson, Dodgson, we’ve got Dodgson here! See, nobody cares. This time he is played by Campbell Scott, who appears to be trying to do his best CEO of Apple, Tim Cook impression. Like the many human villains in Jurassic Park films he has an over-the-top personality trait which is his social awkwardness, but also like the human villains, he is written to be too cartoonish.
I don’t want to give up hope that a good Jurassic Park sequel or reboot might just be around the corner, but I could truly feel my faith being tested with Jurassic World: Dominion. I can only summarise the Jurassic World series as a plethora of tiny highs surrounded by gigantic lows. I will admit that this series has given us some of the coolest scenes involving dinosaurs, but with each instalment, they’ve been losing the magic we know Jurassic Park can deliver. Dominion pretty much confirmed that it wanted to be an action film involving dinosaurs, not a dinosaur film involving action. There’s absolutely no wonder to be had, not even the T-Rex can draw gasps from the audience anymore, that surely should be the moment the filmmakers realised what they’re doing wasn’t working. I just hope that the next filmmaker who comes along and thinks they can rectify Jurassic Park understands that they need to get back to basics, only there can we at least believe in a good Jurassic Park film is out there.
Final Result: 3/10 – Poor
Have you seen Jurassic World: Dominion? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
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