Let’s talk about Jurassic World Dominion.
Well, it’s finally here. Ever since we got a little taste of it at the end of The Lost World, all we have wanted from the Jurassic Park films is to see dinosaurs in the cities and towns we know. And boy, has it taken us a long time to get back to that. We’ve been on a new jungle island, back to a newly rebuilt theme park, then back to the island and also a mansion. But at the end of Forbidden Kingdom, they suggested we’d finally get it. Dinosaurs had got loose in the world and every human better beware or they might become T-Rex chow. So it might be fair to say that Dominion is one of the most anticipated films of the year just for that. Does it deliver though?
In a world where dinosaurs live among humans, Owen and Claire live isolated in the mountains alongside the cloned girl Maisy. Both her and the offspring of Velicoraptor are kidnapped by corporation Biosyn, leading Owen and Claire to travel the world in order to save her.
At first, it really does appear like we’re going to get what we finally want. After a brief scene of that massive sea dinosaur from the first film taking down a fishing boat, we get a newsreel giving us some exposition on what happened in the last film and before this one started. It then teases whether or not humans and dinosaurs can co-exist which is just right to get you existed because you know full well that humans and dinosaurs can’t co-exist. But it then promptly forgets all about that in favour of two different plots. You have the kidnapping plot which is barely anything to do with dinosaurs and you also have these monster locusts which threaten to wipe out the crops of the world. Because when you go to see a Jurassic World film, you want the plot to revolve around locusts.
What is maddening is that the movie completely forgets the USP it has been spending two films to set up. We wanted to see terrified groups of people running from dinosaurs in the big city but the film stubbornly does not give it to us. In terms of big action scenes, you get one where dinosaurs interact with members of the public. This is when we go to Valletta in Malta and after a brief visit to an underground dinosaur fight club, which is a really cool idea that’s not that developed, we finally get a cool dinosaur scene with these mega sized velociraptor type dinos hunting down Owen and Claire through the narrow streets of the ancient capital city. It’s not the most well shot scene in the world unfortunately, but it is what you came to see. But then, the film reverts to what it’s done before. It goes to the jungle and the wild and we see things we’ve seen a million times before in these movies. To make things extra frustrating, this stuff is actually pretty good. If it was bad, I could have a good all moan. But when you get the genius scene where Claire hides in the world from a dinosaur that really needs a pedicure, you get mad because its delivering the wrong thing well. Be bad in the right way please, it makes my job easier!
What I can have a good and proper rant about is the fact this film obsesses about locusts. This film shouldn’t be called Jurassic World Dominion, it should be called Locust World: The Locusting because this film cares far more about these giant insects than it does dinosaurs. They carry far more threat to the world than a T-Rex apparently. Well that is true, but they are far less interesting. The plot involving them also makes very little sense. At first, it seems to be part of a Biosyn plot. The locusts destroy a farm crop, but not the neighbour’s fields which are Biosyn plants. These seems to set up a classic evil corporate plot where Biosyn are planning to destroy all crops but their own so they have control over the world’s food supply. It would be cheesy and more fitting for a 70s Bond film, but hey it’s an evil plot. Except the film completely forgets about this detail and the locusts are just a thing that need sorting out. An evil corporate plot that’d make some sort of sense is out, locusts just being there is in. So we have the film obsessing over the aimless locusts when the dinosaurs are right there for some stupid reason.
Of course, it wasn’t just the allure of seeing dinosaurs in an urban world which got people excited for this movie. It was also the fact we also get to see the likes of Alan Grant, Ellie Sadler and Ian Malcolm back and together again. Well yes I know Ian Malcolm came back in the last one but that barely counted as he is on screen for about four minutes. And it is quite nice to see them again as especially as all three settle into their old roles very well. It isn’t all perfect though. Part of the appeal of seeing old characters return is seeing them interact with the new ones. But their chemistry with Owen and Claire is non-existent. They barely actually talk even when they finally get together for the final act of the movie, mostly because by then the film is going full-on with dinosaur action. Plus, they are so likable and well drawn compared to the new cast that it kind of shows them up.
Jurassic World Dominion is really frustrating. Most mediocre movies this year and exactly that, mediocre throughout. They promise very little and delivery very little. I can cope with that much better than this. This film promises plenty, then every so often, it does deliver. But the rest of the time, it so underdelivers that it might as well be called Hermes. Yes I know they are called Evri now but no one knows that at the moment. There are some cool dinosaur moments, but the film cares far more about locusts than it does dinos and it shows. This is a real disappointment and it’s a film that probably means the franchise’s extinction.