When it comes to movie franchises, there are few that are as iconic as Jurassic Park. What began as an adaptation to the Michael Crichton's book has become of the most recognizable franchises of all time. So, it was no surprise to see moviegoers make their way back to the park in 2015 with the release of Jurassic World. The legacy sequel brought the series back to its roots and to say it found success may be an understatement as the film grossed over a billion dollars in the box office. With such a success it was not surprising to hear the studio announce not just a sequel, but an entirely new trilogy for the series. It continued in 2018 with the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which was just as successful in the box office as its predecessor was. Now, nearly four years since the release of Fallen Kingdom, this new trilogy comes to a head in the final installment to the series-Jurassic World: Dominion.
The film sees the return of Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who journey through a world full of dinosaurs in order to find Maisie (Isabella Sermon) while Allen Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Lauren Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) reunite to uncover the truth behind the company Biosyn. The new movie sees the return of Colin Trevorrow, who directed the first film as well as wrote the story to the second one, who sets out to finish what he started in 2015. While this installment may be a major event for some, I cannot say that I share those sentiments as I have not been a fan of either Jurassic World or its sequel. However, judging from the previews, Dominion looked entertaining which left me cautiously optimistic. So, after witnessing this finale for myself, it seems my caution was well warranted as Jurassic World: Dominion turned a colossal mess.
The question going into this film was how the story of Jurassic Park would come to an end, and after seeing it for myself that question remains a mystery. In the case of storytelling, Dominion was an absurd adventure and not in the fun way. While the idea of having a globetrotting adventure was promising, seeing that this world is one full of dinosaurs, the concept’s execution left much to be desired. This issue was not only seen in this concept but others too as aspects like Biosyn remained unclear and the film’s plot twist was beyond baffling. Furthermore, the story featured a split narrative between the heroes and while this was not a bad idea, there was an imbalance in the direction likely caused the film’s pacing-which went from incredible rushed to tediously slow. As the story culminated, things improved as the final act did have its moments. However, with the safe nature surrounding this entirety of the plot, it left me wondering just what was the point of this entry-not mention the trilogy as a whole?
This air of confusion not only surrounded the story but the cast as well. Truth be told I have had my issues with the cast of Jurassic World, but this time these characters did not bother me as much-though there were still issues to be had. In the case of Owen and Claire this duo had their moments, whether it was with each other or with Maisie, but it felt their overall arcs remained unresolved. The movie featured new characters such as the pilot Kayla (DeWanda Wise) who was better than expected but felt off-putting in her delivery. As for the legacy characters, it was great to see the likes of Allen Grant again but their involvement in the movie was out of place and did very little for their individual progression. This highlights the biggest problem the cast faced and that was the overall direction. The direction of these characters was questionable at best and the inconsistency surrounding this cast led to the actor’s performances to feel off putting; whether it was established actors like Chris Pratt or newcomers like Campbell Scott as the “villain”.
Jurassic Park is known for being a visual spectacle but Jurassic World, to me, strayed from this due to the movie’s reliance of CGI. So going into Dominion I was not expecting much in this area though some shots in the trailer looked promising. The result was a standard spectacle with a few impressive moments. While some visuals were better than others, the movie did its best to blend digital and practical effects and this gave the movie a look that was better than the previous entries. The visuals were instrumental in the film’s action scenes which were enjoyable in the moment, but rather forgettable in hindsight. Much like the effects, Jurassic Park is also known for its music and returning to conduct Dominion’s score was none other than Michael Giacchino. While the music was effective in area, it did not leave the greatest of impression save for a few tracks; and the music to this finale felt like an underwhelming soundtrack for both the franchise and Giacchino’s discography.
The Jurassic Era ends with not a bang but a whimper as Jurassic World: Dominion is an underwhelming conclusion. Between its absurd direction and mediocre (albeit tolerable) visuals, this movie was anything but memorable experience. The lackluster nature behind this installment is so evident that even world full of dinosaurs could not leave a lasting impression. Jurassic Park is undoubtedly one of the most cherished franchises in movie history, but this series can only go so far as Jurassic World: Dominion certainly highlights. Perhaps the series will triumphantly return one day, but after this venture perhaps its best for the Park to remain close for the time being.