• Nate Adams

'Jurassic World: Dominion' review: Dino-sized disaster of epic proportions


Courtesy of Universal

 

Was “Jurassic Park” even good?


This was the question pondering through my head as I sat through the horrible, monstrous dreck that is the 6th and, by all that is holy, final installment in the “Jurassic” series, “Jurassic World: Dominion,” a soulless, cheap, and exploitative dino-sized disaster that detours so far into left field from what Steven Spielberg envisioned in 1993, it almost tarnishes the entire brand. Of course, cases can be made for “Jurassic Park III” (there’s something about a tight 95-minute rescue excursion on Isla Nublar) and the nostalgic factor of “Jurassic World,” but anything fans have loved about the series (um, giant dinos?!) gets demolished in “Dominion.” Not even legacy cast members Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, back on screen together for the first time in 30 years, can weave through the nonsense. They’re afterthoughts in a franchise eager to leave them behind.


Combined with the new faces, Chris Pratt, and Bryce Dallas Howard, “Dominion,” helmed with no sense of tension by director Colin Trevorrow who is still bitter about getting axed from “Star Wars,” isn’t a movie but a coagulation of a script with buzz words and themes thrown into a machine and then spat out for whatever the hell ends up on screen. I seriously wonder if film classes will someday study the trajectory of the “Jurassic Park” franchise and how an excellent blueprint was literally set on fire this quickly.


2015’s “Jurassic World” managed to put some heft back into a dormant franchise, banking on the rising star power of Chris Pratt and crafty CGI dinosaurs. Nevertheless, two movies later (not to be forgotten, but “Fallen Kingdom” now looks like an Oscar contender compared to “Dominion”), Pratt can’t be bothered to show a silver of emotion, only smoldering close-ups that might rival Ben Stiller in “Zoolander.” And his chemistry with Howard, when it can be fit within the 14 subplots happening at one time, is stale. It’s a serious bummer considering “Fallen Kingdom” set-up an interesting angle where humans and dinosaurs must coexist after Isla Nublar went up in flames.


These days, displaced velociraptor handler Owen (Pratt) lives the quiet life as a John Wayne cowboy who rangles up prehistoric creatures like cattle, with his wife, Claire (Howard) and adopted daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon), the cloned offspring of Sir Benjamin Lockwood, nearby. Elsewhere, legacy characters Dr. Alan Grant (Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) are pigeonholed into the narrative because a nefarious corporate overlord named BioSyn is planning a global and economic takeover with dino-clones and, uh, bio engineered locusts that’ll destroy crops planted by local farmers. There’s also an underground dinosaur black market so preposterous, you almost give screenwriters Emily Carmichael, and Trevorrow credit for even conceiving it.


“Dominion” has occasional bursts of fun, mainly attributed to Goldblum’s wry sense of humor and there’s one genuinely thrilling sequence involving a T-Rex, but everything encompassed around these moments is devoid of stakes with Universal going as far to knock-off its own “Bourne” franchise. Heck, I was hoping fellow Universal brethren from the “Fast and Furious” series would swoop in with their turbo-charged cars and race against the dinosaurs. At least they would have had some fun doing it. I guess family can’t always save the day.


Grade: D


JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION is now playing in theaters.