“Jurassic World Dominion”: An Extinction Level Movie


Universal Pictures

Will Teare

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Niel, with Isabella Sermon and DeWanda Wise  

Release Date: June 10, 2022

Rating: 1/5 

More than a film critic, I’m first and foremost a movie lover. I’m constantly looking for a way to appreciate a movie because I love loving the art that artists create for us. I genuinely see the entertainment industry as a form of the service industry. Sometimes I even get a little jealous of people who like a movie I didn’t like because I love being able to celebrate exceptional artistry and craftsmanship. I want nothing more but to speak fondly about the people that put their heart and soul into their work just so we can have a good time. I mean, according to my Letterboxd, I statistically like most movies I see. That’s why I like to say, “If I think a movie is bad, that’s on them, because I was in its corner as long as I could.” I really do root for every single movie I see out of some sort of hope that there is a positive takeaway and maybe even a glimmer of a good time. That being said, I hated Jurassic World Dominion in its entirety.

Four years after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Owen Grady and Clarie Dearing live happily in a hybrid human-dinosaur world with their adopted daughter Maisie. When Maisie is kidnapped along with a baby velociraptor, Owen and Clarie set off on a globe-trotting rescue mission. There they’ll meet some old, friendly faces and travel to dangerous places to save Maisie, the baby raptor, and maybe even the entire world along the way. 

Briefly recapping thoughts on the previous films, every sequel after the first Jurassic Park is very plainly the dumbest filmmaking decisions you can have. Ok, sure, you’ll make money, but at what cost to your ability to actually make a good movie? Jurassic World was a corny, messy movie with echoes of good film that makes it a passable, if not a very troubled movie that I have no will to rewatch since seeing it back in 2015. Its sequel, which I watched a few days ago, is genuinely one of the most forgettable movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life. 

I wasn’t super excited for this one, but I thought at the very least I could get a laugh out of it. I mean, during the opening seconds of a newscast providing an exposition of the state of the world, I thought I would at least be able to do that! I mean, with a company literally called “BioSyn”? Surely, it must be an on-the-nose joke about them being the new evil corporation right? Like that’s intentional? Nope. It has as much subtlety as a Bond villain (looking at you “Lyutsifer Safin”) and not nearly enough humor about itself.

Speaking of Bond-type stuff, why do we need to go on a rinky-dink half-baked absolute garbage brain spy adventure? Dinosaur poachers? Underground dino fights? Laser-guided dinosaurs? Dinosaur black markets? What is happening? We keep flashing through different locations like a time traveler on speed.

I mean it’s not even about dinosaurs…it’s about LOCUSTS. Yes, LOCUSTS. They’re the crux of this entire movie. It’s literally called Jurassic World! Was Universal trying to hit the locust enthusiast demographic? Is there something I’m missing? I have to be. That can’t possibly be an actual decision by a real film studio that’s been around since the beginning of Hollywood. It’s so easy…just…put dinosaurs in it or put more time into characters we like. 

Speaking of characters we like, let’s talk about Owen Grady and Claire Dearing(I had to look up their names). Name one cool character trait. Go. I’ll wait. Oh, Owen is cool and Claire is nice to dinosaurs? Congratulations, that’s the bare minimum. 

Any charm and goofball charisma with some action star panache is completely devoid in Chris Pratt’s performance here. He’s a talented comedic actor but lately, all he does is play stoic action heroes with zero hints of Pratt’s inherent charm. Bryce Dallas Howard is…honestly I forget everything about Clarie. The rest of the new cast is just as forgettable. Is this due to the script/direction they were given? Most likely. But if I can barely remember anything about who our two protagonists are for three whole movies, we have a problem, to say the least.

I’m saddened to say that I sort of expected something along the lines of all that based on initial reactions from friends after I decided not to spend money on the opening weekend of Jurassic World Dominion. But my hope relied on three people that I have loved for years. Three titans of the silver screen that time after time again take my breath away with powerhouse performances and astonishing success post-original Jurassic Park. 

It didn’t help. Sam Niel has nothing to do except not do his native New Zealand accent which he struggled with throughout the duration of the whole movie. Not exactly a slight against Niel, but a testament to how little love was given to Dr. Alan Grant and little interest in the character by the actor because of that. My dear Laura Dern, known to my friends as an all-time favorite of mine, struggles to find any sort of direction with Dr. Ellie Satler. She’s not bad…just, aimless. Dern constantly seems confused as to who, what, and where to react to. One of my favorite humans in known existence, Jeff Goldblum, is equally as confused. Sure, he’ll Goldblum it up with the most pleasantly unexpected Goldblumian line delivery, but beyond that? Not much. 

I mean, we can probably blame it on the schlocky direction from Colin Trevorrow. I mean his favorite thing of mine he’s ever done is an unproduced screenplay for the final Star Wars that was really just ok. Despite that, Speilberg and Amblin seemed to like him enough to have him make both the first and third Jurassic World. Baffling.

Now I gave this movie one star instead of half a star, that being my lowest rating…why? Because at least there were some practical effects on some dinosaurs and I thought the Clarie underwater scene was tense and well-shot…even if it was only for like 20 seconds of a 2-hour and 20-minute movie. As you can see, not even my optimism and steadfast belief in the power of movies can be shattered by a film this bad.

Let’s wrap this up. What every single sequel of Jurassic Park has failed to understand about the majesty of the first is that it was never really just about the dinosaurs. We all love Jurassic Park because we actually love the story and humanity throughout. The original is about playing God and man’s place in nature. About restoring some people to a primal state of being prey while also having some heart, fun, and genuine moments of wonder. It’s about Ellie and Alan’s budding relationship and Ian being a goofball flirt. It’s about the little boy that looks up to Alan and in turn, teaches him about fatherhood. Hammond’s hubris at trying to play with things only nature can do(even the costume/casting is in the image of how we traditionally view God in the west). When we first see all the dinosaurs, it’s not the special effects that take us to that magical place of wonder only movies can, it’s that sweeping John Williams score and the way everyone reacts to the dinosaurs in character. We know these people, and how they react is both insightful on who they are, funny, and genuinely strikes that awe in the audience that everything we are seeing is really happening. It’s not the fact you have weaponized genetically engineered laser-guided raptors that get bigger and more dangerous every time, it’s that you have real characters we love and relate to that react to them. That is why we all love Jurassic Park and why Steven Spielberg is so good at taking a concept so easy to phone in to the next level and ascend to the stuff of cinema legend.

In any of the sequels, and especially here, there is absolutely none of that. I don’t know about you, but for the good of us cinephiles and casual viewers alike, the Jurassic Park/World franchise needs to make like the dinosaurs, and become extinct.