Latest Jurassic Movie Suffers Uninspiring Plot That Even Chris Pratt and Sam Neill Can’t Save

Whatever cosmic fate befell the dinosaurs, it’s hard to imagine their demise any worse than this final—and reportedly final—chapter of the six-movie Jurassic franchise.

A series that has always had its humanity – and eaten it too – the long-dormant franchise roared back to life with Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World (2015), a deeply cynical film about cynical theme park practices in which many people nevertheless happily chewed, pecked and swallowed. – exactly the reasons, let’s face it, that these movies can be so much fun.

Its follow-up, JA Bayona’s horror-tinged Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), brought out the series’ underlying, staggering misanthropy — or at least its critique of human hubris — only to end with a literal cliffhanger in which dinosaurs were finally allowed loose on the world to threaten a plain, befitting Spielbergian suburb.

Chaos was on the menu, and it was exciting.

Paleontology consultant Professor Stephen Brusatte said in press notes that the 1993 film was a “reawakening” that led more people to study paleontology.Supplied: Universal

Bringing the mediocre Trevorrow back to the director’s chair, Jurassic World Dominion wastes no time exceeding those expectations.

In a lazy opening montage, news reports let us know that dinosaurs have indeed caused a few deaths and minor traffic accidents, but in general they seem to be widely tolerated, minor irritants – or worse, subjects for poaching, black market trading and nefarious pharmaceutical interests.

There’s no Triceratops hosting an evening talk show, nor a T-Rex running for the local government, elements that don’t seem like brains to even the most basic screenwriter.

Instead, we find Chris Pratt’s one-time raptor hunter Owen Grady and his partner, Bryce Dallas Howard’s park manager Claire Dearing, hiding in the Nevada mountains with their adopted daughter, Isabella Sermon’s now-teenage Maisie Lockwood – the clone girl from Fallen Kingdom whose DNA contains some sort of secret connection between humanity and its reptilian counterparts.

Black woman with curly brown hair wearing a gray jacket and holding a taser next to a white man with brown hair and a navy blue top with a knife
Pratt said in press releases:[Owen] is a father and husband. He can’t throw caution overboard and do the crazy things he used to do.”Supplied: Universal

In an early, almost touching scene, Pratt, dressed in a lumberjack shirt and riding a horse, wrestles a Parasaurolophus in a Valley of Gwangi-esque moment Ray could have made Harryhausen smile.

Meanwhile, the series’ latest avatar for unchecked capitalism and gene splice interference, a company called BIOSYN has unleashed a scourge of genetically modified super-locusts on the world’s agricultural crops for reasons so thoughtless and ultimately irrelevant to the action taken. they need little explanation.

Their boss, Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), is the Hollywood villain du jour — a futuristic-grey-wearing, Zuckerberg-adjacent tech tycoon who even the most uninitiated of viewers knows will get his reptilian reward.

When BIOSYN thugs capture Maisie, they lead Owen and Claire – along with mercenary pilot Kayla Watts, played by DeWanda Wise – on a chase that takes them to the company’s factory in Italy, where most of the film’s action takes place. .

Rather than meet the thrill of a global dino rampage – Fallen Kingdom’s promise to break the series’ familiar template – Dominion shrinks and effectively repeats the same old beats by replaying Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, until to the opponent’s climactic T-Rex vs. showdown.

Seven people stand in anticipation and look up at a dinosaur standing off-camera at night in a jungle environment.
“I first saw Jurassic Park when I was 16, and [Neill, Dern and Goldblum] are not just icons themselves, but the characters [are] iconic,” Trevorrow told /Film.Supplied: Universal

Since this is the concluding series in a franchise inaugurated by Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, all the way back to that relative time of wonder, 1993, Dominion must also find ways to bring original stars Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum into the proceedings. – that it does it with a minimum of fanfare and a maximum of sloppy dialogue, forced conspiracies and artificial emotional threads.

dr. Dern’s Ellie Sattler, now a handy grasshopper expert, and Sam Neill’s paleontologist, Dr. Alan Grant, are tipped off by a mole at BIOSYN, where Goldblum’s leather-clad Dr. Ian Malcolm is making a lucrative salary as the resident rockstar chaotic. Their reunion has the emotional spark of three actors who barely met, let alone starred together in one of Hollywood’s most iconic blockbusters — which doesn’t stop the filmmakers from forcing an autumn novel between Sattler and Grant, nor with chunky snippets of John Williams’ Jurassic Park theme in a transparent attempt to elicit the emotional response of the audience.

With its jumble of dull plots, underused characters and ham-fist swings at ecological metaphors, Dominion is distractingly busy but never compelling.

Elderly white man with graying beard wears taupe jacket and hat next to white woman with blonder hair and sienna coat on the plane.
Neill told Gizmodo that he was convinced by Trevorrow’s vision and “the idea of ​​hanging out with Jeff and Laura again.”Supplied: Universal

It is truly astonishing how poorly conceived and executed this film, especially given the weight of expectations, nostalgia and the series’ own cinematic precedent – who could forget the dazzling and groundbreaking thrill of the visuals in Spielberg’s first film, which invited to partake in his genuine awe.

Though rendered in the handsome, computer-generated late style of the franchise, the dinosaurs usually feel secondary, inserted as low-lying obstacles when the filmmakers run out of human intrigue — which is often — or when they stop to remember. , just maybe the big lizards are what the public needs to see here.

Sequences like a motorcycle chase through the streets of Malta feel like the remnants of a second-unit James Bond series, while collisions between an Allosaurus and a T-Rex – or a spectacular Quetzalcoatlus duel with an airplane – are merely tossed out between out main action that has little sense of dramatic rhythm.

White man with brown hair rides motorcycle through dust plume, chased by a velociraptor.
Animatronics supervisor John Nolan and his team created 27 dinosaurs for the film, including 10 not seen in previous Jurassic films.Supplied: Universal

Every encounter with a dinosaur feels like a shrug, relieved of tension, fear, or anything approaching a sense of amazement that these ancient creatures casually roam the Earth.

If the characters from the movie aren’t even captivated by the dinosaurs, what chance does an audience have?

Left to perfunctory lines, actors of the caliber of Dern and Neill hope their 1993 cloned outfits — and sunglasses-removing gapes — can evoke something akin to the goodwill of the public, while Goldblum, so essential to the human spark and sass of the first film, has left with a succession of clunkers solidifying his charisma in a tired schtick.

“Jurassic World?” Goldblum wonders at one point. “Not a fan.”

It’s one of the screenplay’s many pathetic attempts at meta humor — and one that comes across as unintentional self-criticism.

If this is the best a franchise tent pole can do, bring on the meteor.

Jurassic World Dominion is now in theaters.

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