by Ian Morton
Jurassic World Dominion disappoints on almost all fronts; plotting, direction, score, tone, pacing, character development – it’s all not good and the result is a boring, unbalanced finish to the Jurassic World trilogy.
Taking place 4 years after the events of Fallen Kingdom, the dinosaurs are now out in the world and humans are having to learn to ‘live with them’. Essentially split in half, the film goes in two directions – one doubling down on the truly awful twist at the end of the previous entry and the other centred around the broader issues of reintroducing dinosaurs into the wild.
Writer/director Colin Trevorrow continues to prove that he shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a camera, or basic pen and paper for that fact. Following on from his ‘successes’ at the helm of the tragically bad Book of Henry and his time scribing the bitterly disappointing The Rise of Skywalker, Dominion is just a complete mess, stuffed to the rafters with exposition and over-bloated to the point of weariness. It’s here where the film starts to fall apart as it becomes clear rather quickly how directionless the film is, opting for larger than life action set pieces rather than the tense, slasher-like horror elements the franchise was built on. It’s completely hollow, lacking in the very thing that the franchise is best known for.
Narratively, Dominion has absolutely no idea what it wants to be and it’s born from the fact that it has no idea what a dinosaur-filled world would look like, and more importantly, how the world would now function with dinosaurs back in it. The villain is a truly forgettable mashup of previous antagonists, motiveless in as much as he’s just a proxy for yet another story warning of the dangers of ‘playing God for profit’, but carrying on completely unaware of the fact that most of the world would have been eaten by now. It’s not that the film doesn’t make known its current state of affairs, the opening literally tells the audience as much, but the problem is that it just never makes any sense, lacking any of the context to convince us otherwise and expecting audiences to just jump on board.
This issue permeates every moment of the dino-caper as we never really know what to make of any of it. Is it meant to be an all out action movie? Is it meant to be a horror movie? Was it all meant to be this terrible? Who knows, as tonally it never quite works the way it’s intended and leaves a huge distance between the audience and what’s happening on screen. At its worst, the film harkens back to Trevorrow’s previous directorial effort Book of Henry, another complete mess of a film, and ultimately leads us to question whether the director was the right man for the job.
What hurts the most in this instance however, isn’t just that the film is bad, it’s the fact that its intent on bringing everything that came before it down with it. The beautiful John Williams score is butchered here, being used only to play on franchise nostalgia or give sentiment to yet another stupefying moment where a raptor and human make eye contact. The same can be said for the use of franchise veterans, Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm, playing almost caricatures of their former selves to the point of parody. Thankfully Jeff Goldblum (Malcolm) is still absolutely on form, but neither Sam Neill (Grant), or Laura Dern (Sattler) are given anywhere near enough to work with. It’s a real shame as it feels like not just a nail in the coffin of the latest franchise but for the whole Jurassic saga entirely!
Jurassic World Dominion is out in cinemas now!
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