Jurassic World Dominion (Review)
One year after the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Collin Trevorrow released a short film on FX called Battle At Big Rock. Footage of of the short film can be quickly seen among the montage of other video clips in the opening of Jurassic World Dominion.
Marketing for JWD started by releasing the movie’s original prologue. It began showing off the dinosaurs during the Cretaceous period and how the T-Rex and the Giga were at odds with each other. Then, it ended fast forwarding to present day with the T-Rex being chased by animal control. The final theatrical cut, however, replaced this scene with an alternate prologue. It was announced that the prologue will be put back in JWD in the extended version on DVD/Blu-Ray along with other scenes that were cut from the movie.
JWD is the first Jurassic World movie to not feature a hybrid dinosaur as the main antagonist.
Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s fearsome creatures in a new era.
If I were asked what are my favorite kinds of movies I would answer I love monster movies. However, Jurassic Park would be among one of the top most favorite movies list. It had a sense of magic with a blend of adventure and horror that no other movie has been able to replicate. And that’s fine. Not every Jurassic movie didn’t need to be as amazing to the original. I still loved The Lost World, some what liked Jurassic Park 3, and had a lot of fun with Jurassic World. Then something happened with the franchise.
Suddenly, the 2018 movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, was mediocre at best. It was not fun and it just seemed like there were too many ideas going on all at once. I would almost forgive it if it was not for Battle at Big Rock teasing what I thought the short film was teasing the direction for the sixth and “final” film of the franchise. Jurassic World Dominion arrived, finally, and instead of rushing out to the theater on Day 1, I sat by patiently waiting for it to come out digitally so I can just rent it on Apple TV.
I started watching this film with low expectations because I have had heard mixed reviews and reactions towards the film. After watching Jurassic World Dominion, I found myself surprised by how awfully mediocre this movie was. Before I start breaking down what I hated, let's start with what I liked about the movie first.
One of the criticisms I have heard a lot was that there was not enough scenes that showed how these dinosaurs clashed with the rest of the world. I find that the movie had plenty of it. There were dinosaurs that affected the fishing business, rise of black markets selling dinosaurs and underground dinosaur fights, dinosaurs roaming into mining and industrial areas forcing work to halt, rise of dinosaur poaching, and people getting attacked by carnivorous dinosaurs or dinosaurs that have wondered into rural areas. With the giant locusts introduced, crops are being depleted at a rapid rate. We see a lot of this struggle between dinosaurs and man trying to co-exist and this worry that humanity could go extinct. I enjoyed this aspect of the film as it showed a more grounded approach to how these animals would react if they were reintroduced back into the wild and roaming around across the globe. We would not expect them to be tearing down buildings like how we would see in a Godzilla film. These are animals just trying to survive and adapt to a world that had changed from the world they knew and lived on 56 million years ago and humans are being forced to co-exist side by side. I really liked that aspect from this movie.
Visual and practical effects look great with the exception of a few moments here and there that could have been improved. The blend of effects really make the dinosaurs look alive. Colin Trevorrow tried to lean more towards the practical side than CGI with Jurassic World Dominion and it really shows the time and effort put into the effects. A lot of the film was shot on site and for certain scenes like the reservoir and laboratories built by BioSyn were built stage sets rather than green screen.
There were a lot of Jurassic fans that have begged for years to see dinosaurs with feathers. While I am not the biggest fan to bringing "scientifically" accurate depictions of dinosaurs into the Jurassic movies, JWD has a good blend of both kinds of dinosaurs that every fan will find enjoyable to see. I am more of a fan of the dinosaurs that are not entirely accurate because it shows the result of how blending dinosaur DNA with other animals could result to odd characteristics like not having feathers when they should or the T-Rex only being able to see you if you don't move. The movie now establishes that science has evolved and geneticists can now clone "scientifically" accurate dinosaurs. Even then, there are still a couple of dinosaurs like the Pyroraptor and the Giganotosaurus that are supposed to look "accurate," but the design still looks off. Overall, I really enjoyed the blend of dinosaur designs put into this movie regardless of accuracy.
Since Jurassic World Dominion was being marketed as the final movie of the franchise, Jurassic Park veteran actors Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum were brought on board for one more movie. As exciting as the news was that these three will be coming back for one last hoorah, I had a small fear that this movie was already getting congested with cast members that already include Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, BD Wong, and many others that the movie has to focus on. I will give credit to the movie for not making these three actors appear for a five minute cameo appearance at the final act and actually integrate them into the movie with their own story. However, having two stories being told at the same time really made the story itself tedious to follow. It would might be better if there was one story that I could favor more than the other like in Godzilla vs Kong when I preferred Kong's story over Godzilla's side story. I wouldn't even mind if the movie solely focused on one story set of main characters. However, neither story was good here.
What really annoyed me about the characters is that everyone seems to know or have heard of each other upon greeting each other and has some knowledge about the dinosaurs they encounter. There was a lot of "I know you. You're Dr. Grant and Ellie Sattler…" and vice versa or "The Giganotosaurus, the biggest carnivore and the apex of the Cretaceous period," and it would get really annoying. I would understand if Dr. Grant would interject little bits of info here and there since he is the paleontologist, but now everybody has to give little tid bits of every dinosaur like they're the experts (even if some of the info on the dinosaur is still factually incorrect). There is not a single person that has not met nor never heard of each other and there is nobody that doesn't know every single dinosaurs' names. I would find it more believable if more characters were like Paul Kirby (William H. Macy) from Jurassic Park 3 who didn't know a single name of dinosaur.
Going back to what I mentioned earlier, this was supposed to be the last movie of the franchise. Beginning to end the movie itself just didn't have the sense this was THE grand finale I was waiting for. The movie presents itself as just another dinosaur movie. Even the fight between the T-Rex, Therizinosaurus (the giant chicken with claws), and the Giganotasaurus was too short to even be hyped up for since nothing really happens. The movie even tries to present the Giga as the main antagonist of the film despite not appearing all that much and doesn't do much to present itself as a threat that the T-Rex and the Therizinosaurus had to team up against. The giant locusts that were depleting much of America's crops were much more of a threat than the Giga.
I have seen people get hyped over a scene that showed the Giga having its mouth torched on fire by a fire locust because the flames coming out of the dinosaurs mouth made it look like a dragon or Godzilla. Now, if the Giga actually utilized the fire locust like a weapon such as spitting out like a fire ball or actually breathed fire at the protagonists then it would be shown as a more capable villain. In actuality, this scene was also overhyped as nothing really happened other than showing the dinosaur's mouth being burned after Jeff Goldblum threw a fire locust into its mouth.
Music is also very mediocre as none of it really makes these scenes feel epic or whimsical or even a sense of danger. Rather, the soundtrack for the movie sounds very generic. Remember in the original Jurassic Park there is a sense of whimsical moments when the movie's theme song played or a sense of danger that was epically intense? The original movie had music that gave not just atmosphere to the scenes, but music that lasted for decades. Jurassic World Dominion was missing a lot of that. It didn't even play the movie's most iconic theme song at least once through out the whole movie. If a movie is going to shoe horn "member-berries" then I would rather have it be the music from the original movie.
Lastly, there was this out of nowhere change of Maisie Lockwood's origin. She went from her being a clone of Benjamin Lockwood's daughter in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom to her actually having a mother that gave birth to Maisie asexually in this movie. I didn't mind the idea for Maisie being a clone, I just didn't like the reason for her to let the dinosaurs out into the wild was because they dinosaurs were like her. Now because of those criticisms of the ending, Dominion tried to "fix" the issue by making this big twist that doesn't make sense at all. The movie should not have tried to change anything with her story, to be honest. If the movie kept Maisie as a clone, then it wouldn't be bad. Think of it like this. If you made your bed, you sleep on it. You don't make your bed, then proceed to take a big sh** on it and claim to be innocent. Once you make something a part of the story, you move on and improve on that story. You don't get to say, "Oh, that whole clone thing was a lie. You're actually born asexually," and claim you fixed it. The movie should have either improved on her story or not have touched on the subject at all.
Jurassic World Dominion is sadly one of the most overhyped movies in the Jurassic series and it never felt like a real conclusion to the story. It saddens me that the movie was so long and the story was so underwhelming and tedious to follow. The grand finale was short, but it was very cut dry and mediocre. I also really would have liked to have heard the original theme song one last time in this movie at least once as a way to connect the old with the new. For the final movie of the Jurassic franchise that has made $900+ million worldwide, this was surely not worth seeing in theaters and not worth renting $20 on Apple TV.
What did you think of Jurassic World Dominion? Did you think it was a good movie or did you feel similarly as I did? Leave a comment in the comments section of your thoughts on the movie. Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Minds, MeWe, Gab, and TRUTH Social to stay up to date for more news, reviews, and discussions.