One of the best lines of 1993’s Jurassic Park is from Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm character who states “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – a great and timely line given the current state of the franchise today. 2015’s Jurassic World was a huge success and, in hindsight, not quite the legacy sequel that we’ve been accustomed to getting today with references and cameos being shoved down your throat. Jurassic World: Dominion, however, is a film that tries to conclude the six-film saga by bloating an incredibly thin narrative to nearly 150-minutes and shoving in every legacy character you could possibly imagine into what I can only describe as a disaster; an example of what the very worst of these nostalgia-filled legacy films can be when presented with zero artistry or meaning.
The film picks up four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, where dinosaurs now freely roam the Earth and co-exist with us humans. The idea of dinosaurs being free from the gates of Jurassic Park/World is an inherently fascinating idea full with loads of potential and thematic weight given the fears of it that were planted in the very first film from 1993. However, I can’t remember the last time I saw a blockbuster fumble such a great concept as largely as Jurassic World: Dominion does – it focuses on all the wrong things, and inherently misunderstands what makes the franchise work in the first place. It’s easily the worst film in the series.
Is it fun to see the legacy characters/actors (Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum) and interact with one another and the new cast (Chris Pratt and Bryce-Dallas Howard specifically) as well as all the new dinosaurs? Sure. In very small servings there are moments of fun set-pieces, character interactions, and surprisingly plentiful practical animatronic dinosaurs – but this is the same equivalent to finding one or two nutritious, tasty items at a buffet that is largely full of slop; you’ll have a few good bites but mostly walk away disappointed and never wanting to revisit.
The biggest issue here is the script.. on so many levels. The writing here is generally abhorrent; from the dialogue, to the nonsensical plot, to the absolutely nauseating reliance on nostalgia and tying generations together for literally no reason other than it selling nowadays.. it genuinely feels like this final film in the franchise has succumbed to what it was talking against in the very first film. Something completely artificial and made-up of nothing but corporate interests; void of genuine wonder and replaced with cheap thrills and hollow call-backs. It’s all so genuinely boring and played out, and maybe it’s for the best that this franchise sits on the bench for a while before a new filmmaker can take a crack at getting back to the magic roots of what made this franchise stand-out for fans. For full transparency – the original Jurassic Park is just about my favorite film of all-time, so maybe that’s why I’m being overtly harsh on this. But I also like to think that it’s also reason why it should’ve completely won me over.