Jurassic World Dominion

When you have a franchise that started in the early 90s and is still going six films later, you’ll have to get creative with your story, especially if you want legacy characters and callbacks. With Dominion, the callbacks and characters are all there in spades, but because you have familiar faces does not mean your franchise is thriving. Director Colin Trevorrow has what are kernels of good ideas, but blasts them all through the nostalgia cannon that anything worth exploring is a misshapen bastardization of the magic we fell in love with.

Getting the gang back together is a series of continuously outrageous plot threads. Starting these threads is a giant prehistoric version of a locust that is devastating the ecosystem and leading to what could very well be a global famine, along with the locust is a kidnapped cloned human, and a kidnapped baby velociraptor if that’s not enough to get you into the theater, there are also tons of dinosaurs.

There is so much filler nonsense that trying to follow the logic is second fiddle to CGI and character moments. Bringing back Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum would be a great way to send off a franchise, but they shoehorn them into the plot with shaky motivations all for the sake of getting them all at the same place at the same time. They are all three reduced to just shadows of their legendary characters, with Dern and Neill falling onto each other like high-schoolers and Ian Malcolm being turned into some warped version of Jeff Goldblum, interested only in quips and having four buttons worth of chest showing. There is no meat on these bones, just a hollowed-out corpse being puppeteered by mindless memory bombs passing as nostalgia. Trevorrow brings the old guard and tries to pass the torch with a few scenes, but with this being the sixth film in the franchise, it feels odd and ill-timed.

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Isabella Sermon bring their storylines crashing into the proceedings as well, serving only to meet the original cast it seems. If there was a story here that made any kind of sense there would be a million fans that wouldn’t have to defend these films to their friends, but instead we are here with red string and a map talking the finer points of bioengineering and how this is the only direction a franchise like this could inevitably go. When you have a trailblazing blockbuster like the original Jurassic Park as the foundation of your franchise, and you stray off the path this much, the criticism and fan rejection are earned. I love dinosaurs and I really did enjoy seeing these characters, or what was left of them, running around a jungle and trying to escape. Much like the Death Star is to Star Wars, with it always present in nearly every film in one way or another, maybe it’s time to stop dinosaurs escaping from labs and parks and leave it all in the past. There is fresh ground to tread, but the current creatives at the helm are not the ones to take us there.

2 out of 5

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