If you would’ve told a sixteen-year-old me back in 1993 when Jurassic Park was released, that in the future I’d be forty-four and seeing another Jurassic film during the summer at the theater, I would’ve thought that was the most amazing news of all time. Sadly, I’m not a teenager anymore but regardless, there was a small part of me that still hoped to go into Jurassic World Dominion to see a wild and over-the-top dinosaur adventure. Nonetheless this is still the sixth franchise entry. So, I was open-minded, but also cautiously optimistic.
Jurassic World was a massive success despite some of its repetitious notes proving the love of cinematic dinosaurs was still strong. Fallen Kingdom on the other hand was a mess of bland dino-moments and an auction plotline that was far too much for me to wrap my head around no matter how mindless the entertainment was aimed to be. With that said, Jurassic World Dominion, regardless of its flaws, was a good time at the theater that did keep me much more engaged than anticipated.
It relies on the familiar action set-pieces, nostalgia, and fan service, as compelling storytelling takes a backseat. It turns out that’s fine. Sure, a story a bit more unique could’ve generated much more intrigue, but you don’t want something overly self-serious either. Here two plots work in tandem as Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) work on their quiet rescue mission. While the franchise OG’s return to the world as a group for the first time to work together on a mission to stop a massive corporation from dominating the global food supply with massive swarms of locusts. It’s as sporadically structured and nonsensical as it sounds but still enough to give everyone something to do which keeps the appeal modestly elevated. Not to forget DeWanda Wise who enters the franchise for the first time and nearly steals the show as the only character who feels like they aren’t acting to the camera.
It’s not a story that will reel in the fascination as you watch, but there is a charm to the recipe. It does all feel like empty calories but when the action is in motion, the familiar characters are all united, and the tension is elevated, Dominion delivers a fun couple of hours at the theater. I will admit the dinosaurs take a bit of a backseat to the returning characters and their storylines. The massive beasts are there when things need picking up and with new creature designs as well as some returning species, the action sequences are an adrenaline pumping treat. Many are admittedly routine for the franchise and may not be as mentally lasting, but there are a couple others that I enjoyed and found suspenseful and satisfying.
At nearly two-and-a-half hours it does run longer than needed for not really bringing anything new to the table. Even with the story as overstuffed as it was it didn’t require its length so there are spots where the pacing dips. I also felt Pratt and Howard were a bit unneeded. The focus was clearly on Dern, Neill, and Goldblum’s reuniting. There’s no denying they were the charismatic pieces of this movie and some trimming of the other characters and their sublots would’ve cleaned up the flow because the globetrotting style was unnecessary. Nevertheless, in the face of these issues, the movie was still a wild and engaging ride and had me smiling more than a few times as people were getting eaten, chased all over the place, as old faces were reminiscing, and using the power of the hand.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.