2015 brought the Jurassic Franchise back to life with a brand new park and a whole lot of new dino action. That film set off a new trilogy of dino-centric films centering on superstar Christ Pratt's Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard's Claire Dearing. This year saw the release of the final film in the trilogy (and the supposed final film of the Jurassic Saga... we doubt that) Jurassic World: Dominion! So, what did we think of the new film here at The Holy Goof? Read on and find out!
I am a huge Jurassic Park fan and I grew up on the original trilogy, so to say the Jurassic World trilogy was a letdown is an understatement. The first Jurassic World was pretty good, but the sequels had to stretch their limits to avoid being repetitive, creating a narrative about a human clone. The human clone aspect attempts to overshadow the very reason I go to these films, the dinosaurs.
While Jurassic World: Dominion is filled with many great action scenes and fan service that make it rewatchable, this storyline felt unnecessary and outlandish. There are so many subplots it is hard to keep up with the big picture and they struggled to make sure EVERY past cast member could return. I was happy to see that the characters from the original trilogy were not just cameos but deeply involved in the plot of the movie.
Seeing Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler finally get a long-awaited kiss was well worth the wait. Justice Smith, who normally is great in movies, gave the worst performance of his career and managed to deliver every line as if he is reading the script for the first time aloud.
The locust, while creepy, were also completely unnecessary and another distraction from the dinosaurs. I know it’s a movie about dinosaurs in the 20th century but a little realisticness would've been nice. Random coincidences, one after another, are what drove the story (into the ground). I did appreciate the homage to the more historically accurate, bird-like, dinosaurs that BioSyn had created. I was terrified of the Therizinosaurus (the feathered, long-clawed, apex-predator). I could see it being the monster in its own horror movie. The epic battle between Therizinosaurus, Giganotosaurus, and Rexy (the three apex predators on the island) was exactly what I came to see.
Overall the film is not great but it is rewatchable, if only for a few good scenes. This is rarely said by me about a film but a shorter run time and a little less plot would've served them well.
When Jurassic World first came out, I liked it. It certainly had it's flaws, but overall I thought it was a very good return to the franchise. However, it didn't exactly feel original. Then the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom came out, and to my chagrin, that was even LESS original (featuring a plot nearly identical to The Lost World: Jurassic Park).
But to my surprise, I was very pleased by the original story being told here. This film is a rollocking, world-sprawling adventure; featuring nefarious companies, black market dinosaur sales, and a new genetic creation that could cause a genuine threat to the planet (unlike the dinosaurs). Yes, I'm talking about the locusts. Some fans may complain that they take up too much screen-time, but I was fascinated by this plot-line and how it connected with Maisie's character. It felt very true to Michael Crichton's original warnings about the dangers of genetic manipulation. And at 6 films, it was high time this franchise brought in some prehistoric animal other than a dinosaur.
I was also very pleased to see the original cast return. Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum are all welcome returns. Goldblum in particular is a highlight of the film. Ian Malcom has always been my favorite character and he slips back into the role perfectly, delivering some of the movie's best moments and funniest lines. Chris and Bryce fit right at home next to the legacy characters. They also feel much less cartoony than their characterizations in Fallen Kingdom.
Here the action is excellent. Colin learned a lot from the last film and has a much firmer grasp in the director's chair. The scene in Malta featuring the Atrociraptors is the scariest the raptors have been since the long grass scene in The Lost World. I felt genuine fear for our characters. There are tons of interactions with dinosaurs throughout, and each one feels unique and random. This helps the film feel more in line with the original trilogy where you could turn any corner and run into a dinosaur. And most of them are REAL. Yes, real animatronics were used wherever they could. They even built a full sized Giganotosaurus! It's wonderful having them back instead of relying completely on CGI.
As much as I liked it, the film is not perfect. Bad dialogue is peppered throughout, with standouts like Dr. Wu saying "like, yesterday" or Ellie Sattler talking about Ian "sliding into her DMs." And if I'm being honest, as much as I wanted to see Grant and Sattler get together, that final kiss at the end felt very awkward. I also wish the Quetzalcoatlus and Giganotosaurus had more screen time.
At the end of the day, Jurrasic World: Dominion is a far cry from that first film. But on it's own, it's a roller coaster ride of a blockbuster. I found the locust storyline fascinating (although I can completely understand why other people might think it takes away from the dinosaurs). Seeing our legacy characters return was a real treat, and the action and dinosaur effects are truly thrilling. It's not perfect, but I had a lot of fun. And if you go into this with an open mind, you might too.
If you would like to read a more in-depth review, please click here.
The Holy Goof is split on this one. But that's the fun of doing these group reviews! Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't. Obviously we like our dinosaur action, and we both seem to agree that the love story interaction is pretty weak. But we disagree when it comes to this film's plot and story. I guess it depends on what you want to see. If you're interested in a story that focuses more on the dangers and follies of genetic manipulation within a blockbuster setting, you'll probably like the film. But if your focus is solely on the dinosaurs, you may find the new storyline frustrating. But at least we can both agree that when the dinos are on screen, the film is a blast.
GOOF'S GROUP RATING: 6.8/10
And if you would like to read a review of the entire Jurassic Franchise, click here.