As a big fan of the Jurassic Park/World franchise I was really looking forward to the latest instalment, Jurassic World: Dominion.
The two preceding movies had breathed life back into the Jurassic films, with Jurassic World showing us the grand spectacle of a modern dinosaur theme park before Fallen Kingdom took a more serious approach that almost dabbled in horror at times.
With the three leads from the original Jurassic Park back on board to wrap up the Jurassic World trilogy, I looked forward to it with great anticipation.
But by the time the credits rolled I had plummeted from excited and keen to underwhelmed and bored. Yes, unfortunately Dominion commits the biggest crime an action movie possibly can: it’s boring.
It all begins with a script that stretches to two-and-a-half hours but fails to flesh out characters or themes to give them any sort of meaning. In introduces previously never-before-seen dinosaurs without bothering to explain where they came from. It dips its toe in the water of various issues but never commits to any of them.
Allegedly the forthcoming Blu-Ray release of Dominion is going to contain an extended cut which might add some much needed substance to the various things the theatrical version brushes over or bypasses completely. How many viewers will even be willing to sit through a longer version of Dominion is another question entirely.
The Lewis Dodgson character from the original book and movie was a bit of a corporate cowboy who seemed more competitive and arrogant than anything else. In Dominion we see an older Dodgson who appears as a socially awkward version of Steve Jobs. It’s a welcome departure from the usual villain stereotypes but the character exudes such little menace that when he meets his inevitable demise I didn’t care one way or the other. I wasn’t convinced he deserved the (admittedly cleverly ironic) death by Dilophosaurus and I was neither glad or sorry to see him go.
The action sequences were nothing that hasn’t been seen before in a Jurassic movie and they lacked any real imagination. Some felt rushed while others seemed to allow the humans ridiculous amounts of time to escape, as if the pursuing dinosaur decided to stop chasing and just watch for a minute.
The final climatic battle follows the same formula as Jurassic World featuring the T-Rex being seemingly defeated before lunging back for a triumphant victory aided by another dinosaur. Unfortunately this time around the battle is rushed, poorly choreographed and ultimately anti-climatic, failing to create the same tension and excitement of its predecessor.
One of the biggest mistakes of Fallen Kingdom and Dominion is the insistence of bringing in a new dinosaur as the “villain”. The Indominous Rex worked in Jurassic World because it was symbolic of an ethical question at the core of the movie. The subsequent Indoraptor and the tongue-twisting Giganotosaurus are merely plot devices used to challenge the fan-favourite dinos of raptor Blue and big old Rexy for the sake of manufactured conflict.
It’s the same trick Jurassic Park III used with the Spinosaurus, bringing in a new super predator because apparently viewers need new dinosaurs in every movie in order to keep them interesting.
Which is of course not true, as evidenced by Dominion which introduces various species not seen before (hello, Dimetrodon and Therizinosaurus) but delivers them in a rambling mess of a movie.
The Rex vs Giganotosaurus scenes are just side salad to the movie, added in because someone felt obligated and the finale apparently must include a fight between large carnivores. They feel like an afterthought; a box that some almost forgot to tick.
The weight of expectation was always going to challenge the makers of Dominion and unfortunately they have failed colossally to deliver. What should have been a triumphant finale is just a messy disappointment.