Apart from giving a review for Jurassic World: Dominion, it’s an enduring collective love for ‘Jurassic Park‘ that is immensely difficult to explain. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film implanted itself in the cultural subconscious as a platonic blockbuster ideal.
And it’s not just 10-year-olds who had a formative experience in the movies. Most, it seems, including those who were adults at the time and those born a decade or more later, have a story about how important the movie is to them.
It doesn’t matter how many times you watch it or how far special effects go, ‘Jurassic Park’ never loses its luster. It just stays perfectly preserved in amber.
It is hard to blame anyone for trying to recapture that magic, a filmmaker, a studio, or an audience looking for fun in the movies. Even Spielberg himself had problems. But now, we’re six movies and three decades away from the spark that made the first one so special. We’re supposed to say goodbye to the ‘Jurassic World’ era with ‘Jurassic World: Dominion,’ which debuts this weekend in the United States after its premiere in some Latin American countries.
In the review, we want to mention that ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a chaotic mix on an epic scale. Believe it or not, the dinosaurs (which look great) are almost out of the picture. After the ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ events, the dinosaurs are just walking around. There’s even a black market in Taos that’s so elaborate that you’d think we’re 30 years into the dinosaur dystopia and not just a few years after the dinosaurs escaped and spread across the world. But as we’ve said, ‘Dominion’ isn’t really about dinosaurs. It’s about locusts and tech giants.
A company called Biosin is the story’s villain, and a man named Lewis Dodgson (now played by Campbell Scott) is the lead. You might remember that he is the bad guy looking to buy the embryos in the first movie.
Dodgson has mutated from a sweaty Gordon Gekko on vacation to a Steve Jobs-Esque visionary who’s still mean and driven by greed. Ellie Sattler(Laura Dern) suspects that a locust epidemic is destroying all crops not made from Biosin seeds. She decides to use this as an excuse to team up with Neill (Alan Grant) for the first time in years. Conveniently, Biosin is also where Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) is a contributor. And they’re looking for the clone girl Maisie (Isabella Sermon) from the previous movie. She is in hiding with Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), with whom she has lived for the past few years.
After elaborate world tours and unexpected changes, they all converge on Biosin’s headquarters in the Dolomites, a compound fit for a Bond villain surrounded by a dinosaur sanctuary.
At some point, eight people are running from the dinosaurs. It’s too many people. Strangely, this does not have the effect of raising the film. It’s more like watching a tour group go through an experimental amusement park exhibit. That perhaps has to do with the problem that it might be that it’s no longer fun to watch dinosaurs wreak havoc, no matter how big they get.
‘Jurassic World’ started too big and had nowhere to grow except at the box office. Colin Trevorrow returns to direct and shares writing credits with Emily Carmichael, who adds grit and intelligence to the story, but it’s hard to say where this leads. It’s funny at times and absurd at others. But he doesn’t set a course to redeem this franchise or bring it back to Earth.
But the big cast reunion in ‘Jurassic World’ has the unintended effect of reminding us how little we care about the new cast. It was a last desperate attempt to bring back the ‘Jurassic Park’ originals. It’s not their fault, Pratt and Howard have some good moments, but their characters flattened out somewhere along the way. And there is simply no competition when the originals are charming.