- Jeff Beck
Jurassic World: Dominion: A Bland Finale to a Misguided Trilogy (Blu-ray)
At long last, we find ourselves at the end of the "Jurassic World" trilogy with "Dominion," a film that gives this series one last chance to finally bring some life to its characters and perhaps provide a few thrills along the way with an engaging storyline, elements that the previous two entries have been sadly lacking. However, unlike the first two films, the final entry has a small ace up its sleeve in the form of the rest of the original stars returning for one more adventure. That said, will their presence be nearly enough to offset the multitude of issues this trilogy has had from the very start?
Picking up four years after the events of the previous film, dinosaurs are now all over the Earth, causing a number of problems. Meanwhile, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) are hiding away in the mountains to protect Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the genetically-created granddaughter of Benjamin Lockwood. Frustrated at her isolation, Maisie decides to sneak off too far and gets kidnapped by agents of Biosyn, a genetics group that does experiments in their own private dinosaur reserve.
As if the dinosaurs weren't a big enough issue, large swarms of enormous locusts have started destroying crops, while ignoring those created with Biosyn seeds. Because of this, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) becomes suspicious and enlists the help of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill). Both of them decide to investigate further, and so they reach out to their old friend Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who just happens to work for Biosyn now. As their investigation continues, startling truths about the company are uncovered, with both stories colliding, and the threat of humanity's extinction looming.
As mentioned, this was the final chance for the trilogy to finally make a lasting mark on the franchise after two films that had failed to do so, films that had been mired in monotonous action sequences, lifeless characters, and stories that simply didn't engage. "Jurassic World: Dominion" starts off its two and a half hour trek with the expected re-establishment of what's currently going on, while ever so slowly inching towards getting its main plot going. Said plot is somewhat interesting in concept, but quickly gets bogged down in everything surrounding it, including dinosaurs that are only there to act as a background threat (i.e. there isn't really much of a point in the dinosaurs being here at all).
As far as bringing back the original trio of stars, it is indeed great to see them together again, but just like the rest of the characters, they're stuck in a very by-the-numbers story that clearly doesn't support the rather absurd runtime. Just like the previous film, the characters remain likable, with Howard and Pratt (along with Neill, Dern, and Goldblum) doing what they can with the material, but the big problem remains that the screenplay is extremely weak. You can only watch characters get chased/attacked by dinosaurs so many times before you realize that the writers are simply stuck in terms of giving these people something to do.
In the end, "Jurassic World: Dominion" is about on par with the second film, "Fallen Kingdom." That is to say, it's not quite as bad as the original "Jurassic World," which had all of the same problems, but didn't even try to do anything original. This entry had an intriguing global problem at its core, it's just a shame that it doesn't do more to bring focus on it, instead getting lost in the copious amounts of sidelined dinosaurs, who, again, didn't serve any purpose other than being a general threat to the characters.
After these three films, it becomes a pleasure to say that it's finally over, for now at least. Obviously these were money-making machines, but in terms of quality, they never reached the level of being entertaining films, which was presumably the goal. If they should try to reboot the series again, and I don't think anyone would be surprised if they did (despite having run its course a long time ago), hopefully they'll bring in writers with a bit more talent in order to deliver something far less monotonous, and a lot more fun.
"Jurassic World: Dominion" arrives on Blu-ray in a stunning 2.00:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of outstanding quality. The picture is remarkably sharp and crisp throughout the entire two and a half hours, highlighting the film's multitude of visual effects. Likewise, the DTX:X audio track is fantastic, giving you all of the dialogue, sound effects, and score in excellent quality. Overall, fans of the franchise couldn't ask for better treatment.
Battle at Big Rock (10 Minutes): A short film that takes place one year after the previous film.
A New Breed of VFX (6 Minutes): A featurette that delves into the extensive VFX work done for the film.
Dinosaurs Among Us: Inside Jurassic World Dominion (47 Minutes): The real meat of the special features are found right here in a series of featurettes that delve into various topics, including the cast, the market set, the Malta chase, and the animatronics.
"Jurassic World: Dominion" has an intriguing crisis at its core, but ultimately succumbs to the same problems its predecessors did in that the screenplay is extremely weak, once more padding the film out to an absurd runtime with monotonous action sequences. Getting to see the original characters mingle with the newer ones was an interesting idea, but even that wasn't enough to bring life to a trilogy that's been dead on its feet from the start.
Now available on Blu-ray/DVD.
Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.