Jurassic World Dominion movie review: A stodgy, too-constructed affair that makes your teeth ache

The cast of Jurassic World Dominion: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Dewanda Wise, Mamoudou Athey, P.D. Wong, Isabella Sermon
Director of Jurassic World Dominion: Colin Trevorrow
Jurassic World Dominion movie: 2 stars

So, after nearly thirty years, here comes the last bit of a world we’ve never seen before. In 1993, Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” gave us the different sizes and shapes of dinosaurs we might know. It was a movie perfectly designed to impress with wide eyes. It astounds our imaginations. The adventures that followed, with their ever-increasing levels of sophisticated computer graphics, never quite matched the shock and awe we felt when we first set our eyes on those incredibly gigantic creatures that once roamed the Earth.

In the new movie, which will conclude one of the highest-grossing franchises Hollywood has made, dinosaurs are no longer confined to an island. They live side by side with humans. But not everything, as they say, is so good. Just as not all humans are alike, dinosaurs also come with built-in characteristics. Cruel carnivores, cute long-necked herbivores, delicate babies, and Dominion specials, those built as target missiles: once they lock you up, you’ll be dead.

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No effort has been spared in making the canvas bigger, but that doesn’t necessarily make the movie better. We’re reunited with the trio of OG, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, they all look incredibly good, and even better able to manage things when s**t hits the fan. The bright-eyed Dern tells the friendly Neil to join her search for a new species of ravenous locust that is destroying everything but the crops grown by an evil company. In a secret factory where the company’s headquarters is located, far from prying eyes, there is a very elegant Goldblum: is he an enemy or an ally?

Watch the trailer for Jurassic World Dominion:

There’s also Jurassic World couple Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as guardians of a very special little girl (Isabella Sermon), wanted by bad guys, as well as a tiny dinosaur who lives with his vigilant mother in the nearby woods. Will this group, which includes the feisty pilot (Diwanda Wise), be able to save the girl, the young creature, and, in doing so, the planet? Of course, silly: What good is the story spreading with the fearsome Giganotosaurus if it isn’t about humanity itself?

Sadly, with the exception of the occasional flash, Dominion is a very full and built affair. And it’s not even insanely original. Some parts remind you of Spielberg’s ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’. The sequence in which dinosaurs are auctioned off to the highest bidder looks like a Star Wars version, with all kinds of limp creatures and humans swarming around. There’s also a very Bond/Bourne feeling when Pratt walks the lanes of a warm-colored Mediterranean town, with killer dinosaurs on his trail. These dinosaurs are new, or at least that killer trait of their venom, but the chase is so general that it makes your teeth hurt.

Birds of prey are trying to compensate. There are a few moments in the dino-on-dino fight, which shows the two largest predators in existence, especially when the fleeing humans freeze in fear while their greedy nose and snout teeth hover over their faces inches. We also stop breathing. But how long can monsters hold our attention? Even when it comes to taking on the blank-faced villain (Campbell Scott), who is preoccupied with inserting his fingers into the precious human and animal genomes for soul and profit, it feels like we’ve seen similar things before.

The film leaves us with the same message as its 2018 release, that the only way out of our troubles is to coexist. Which is all well and good. Seeing a little girl petting a baby dino in a pastoral and urban area. A sterile amusement park-type environment, you can’t help but wonder: Once this dinosaur grows up, will it swallow humans? You can’t change the nature of a monster, can you? And if you do, will you not interfere with the natural order of things? If the word “Dominion” was less of a distraction, you might have viewed this final message as an oxymoron. And what would Michael Crichton, author of the futuristic thriller novels on which the franchise is based, think of this project? Like us, not so much, I’d bet.

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