Jurassic World Dominion (2022) Movie Review - A military weapon… out of control

Jurassic World Dominion (2022) Movie Review – A military weapon… out of control

Jurassic Domination is a 2022 mockbuster monster movie from The Asylum and obviously designed to cash in on Jurassic World: Dominion.

Directed by Brian Nowak (Megalodon Rising) from a screenplay written by Jason Tozier.

The Asylum production stars Eric Roberts, Jack Pearson and Jamie Bernadette.

Plot:
When two military-made, weaponised dinosaurs attack a small mountain town, it’s up to the sheriff to figure out a way to stop the creatures before the dinos escape and wreak havoc nationwide…

Jurassic Park is, and will forever be renowned as, one of the greatest action blockbusters of all time. It’s a well written exploration into what would happen if dinosaurs came back and found themselves up against hapless humans.

The Lost World teetered on the edge of realism, before Jurassic Park III descended the franchise into monster movie territory. It also plunged the franchise into the “dark ages”, before being rebooted as this Jurassic World sequel trilogy.

With dinosaurs no longer good enough to satiate the public (apparently), the franchise has mixed things up by adding human clones, hybrid dinosaurs and a woman outrunning a tyrannosaurus rex in high heels.

Dominion then takes everything that’s come before and promises a spectacular swan song; one final hurrah before riding out into the sunset and putting this franchise to bed for good.

Unfortunately, Dominion is a disappointing farewell reunion, one where the DJ constantly talks through the music, excitedly chittering “hey, remember this? Remember this?” every 5 minutes.

Analogies aside, the story picks up four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar and some time after the events of Fallen Kingdom where Claire let loose a rabble of dinosaurs into the world. In a short space of time they’ve inexplicably spread to every part of the Earth, from dominating our oceans to roaming about in cities.

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Although some of the animals are being sold on the black market, there’s a sizable swathe that just roam the countryside.

With the ecology at threat, Biosyn (get it? Biological-sin?) are at it again, this time with manufactured giant locusts that threaten to imbalance the food system and make Biosyn the sole distributor for food.

Dead-set on stopping this, a returning Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) recruits palaeontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to her cause, intending to grab a sample and bring Biosyn to justice.

In this world, despite dinosaurs actually roaming about the place, palaeontology is still a thing apparently. And still getting funding, despite the issues Grant had during Jurassic Park III.

While these two jet across to Biosyn, infiltrating the ranks and reuniting with Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), the attention is split with a separate storyline involving Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard).

They’re staying off the grid, hiding Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and keeping her out of sight. Unfortunately, poachers show up and kidnap her and velociraptor Blue’s offspring. Owen promises Blue to bring back her baby, , sending them around the globe on a rescue mission to find the duo.

Both these stories run parallel to one another, with cynical, crowbarred nostalgia bait thrown in to keep you invested. “Hey, remember when Ellie stood up in a jeep in Jurassic Park and took her sunglasses off?”; “Remember the laser pointer used with the Indoraptor in Fallen Kingdom?”; “Remember the Dilophosaurus?” All of these reveals are so shallow and their inclusions add absolutely nothing to the narrative. In fact, after they’ve served their purpose in the story, they disappear, never to be referenced again.

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To make matters worse, the narrative itself rips set-pieces and scenes right from other films. There’s even a whole sequence that feels eerily similar to the T-Rex head in PS1 game Dino Crisis (pictured below.)

Dominion then meshes this in with a constant barrage of set pieces that make no sense. I’ve written before about how Jurassic Park III changed the dynamic of these animals to act like monsters rather than, well, animals, and a chase through the streets of Rome typify that perfectly.

Two raptors chase after Owen on his motorcycle, passing by numerous bystanders who watch in dumbfounded shock as the raptors just blindly follow. There’s no intelligence, no sign of those raptors that hunted in packs to attack from the side, just a bog-standard chase scene you’d find in any other monster movie. And the worst part? Not a single mention of law enforcement.

The army are nowhere to be found, the navy are non-existent and the police don’t show up once. But then this is the sort of film that if you stop and think about any part of the story, you’re likely to give yourself an aneurysm.

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Even excusing all of that though, the movie inexcusably side-lines its dinosaurs for most of the film, with different species making cameo appearances throughout the bloated 140 minute runtime.

The cast are largely fine, but the dialogue is pretty woeful across the board. We do get a couple of comedic lines, but honestly most of this just feels like Jeff Goldblum riffing and expanding beyond the script.

It’s such a shame because there are glimmers of interesting chatter here that are never really explored. Late on, Alan Grant talks to Owen about his raptor training. “Oh, you’re the guy who trains raptors!” “Yes I am!” That’s it. That’s the extent of their chatter.

What about a big debate about the dangers of this? Where’s the cynical Alan Grant warning about the dangers of raptor intelligence? What about him berating Owen for reducing these deadly predators to his plaything? Nope, there’s no time for that, onto the next set piece!

And that attitude ultimately sums up Jurassic World Dominion. This is a big, noisy, set-piece driven film that runs out of steam long before the final credits roll. Devoid of ideas and cynically poaching from the past to serve as nostalgia bait, this is one film franchise that deserves to go extinct.

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