Jurassic World Dominion (2022). Film review of the dinosaur blockbuster starring Chris Pratt and Laura Dern

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Action/Adventure/Fantasy

2 stars film review fair passes the time

Film review by Jason Day of Jurassic World Dominion, the 2022 blockbuster that continues the saga of genetically recreated dinosaurs wreaking havoc in the modern world. Starring Chris Pratt, Laura Dern and directed by Colin Trevorrow.

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Synopsis

The sixth movie in the ‘resurrected dinosaurs on the rampage’ series follows two groups of people as they uncover the secrets behind Biosyn, a company that – on the surface – wants to use dinosaurs to develop cures for human illnesses.

Review, by @Reelreviewer

The Jurassic Park/World movie franchise has been running for so long that it’s a wonder that dinosaurs aren’t already stalking the real world and gobbling us up.

Perhaps then we should be grateful for the multitude of Park and World films. We’d only have to binge the box-set over a weekend to get up to speed on how to handle things and hold ourselves in a science/ethical/political debate.

So, here we are with the sixth movie (allegedly the last although producer Frank Marshall has not entirely ruled out further films) essentially a film of two halves with two casts running alongside each other.

Neither half is especially convincing with, predictably, the old timers handling the light stuff and the young ‘uns getting all the action. And director Trevorrow and the writers dawdle as they attempt to bring both sides together.

The first half almost bores us to tears with an unentertaining, drawn-out subplot about prehistoric locusts and their impact on agribusiness. In the second half, the Jurassic World lot gets lost in (yet another) specially created, multimillion-dollar dinopark/wilderness with more new, exciting and scary creatures.

The lack of credibility is a hallmark of this franchise, but I usually chuck my brain on the empty cinema seat beside me when logical oddities crop up and settle back to enjoy the noise and mayhem. But even I scratched my head at shifty, modern-day Moreau Wu’s (B.D. Wong) latest swiftly assembled monstrosities. How is he still resurrecting such a broad range of dinosaurs?

I can’t help but feel sympathy for these poor reptilian relics, the most believable characters in the film because you root for them more than the ‘hoomans’. After being forcibly brought back to a planet they had long since checked out of to entertain and thrill humans, they have since been developed as potential biological weapons and, in this latest film, are being harvested for their pharmaceutical properties. Truly, humans are incalculably cruel shits.*

Well, not all of them because – at long last! – a woman takes charge of one of these movies and is firmly in the spotlight. The brilliant Laura Dern was 26 when she appeared in Jurassic Park. Now 52, she has married, had two children and won an Academy Award (for Marriage Story, 2019). In that first film, she had a slighter role, eclipsed by the patriarchal roles of Sam Neil and Jeff Goldblum and more or less followed in their wake.

Dern is fully in control and super confident at handling herself with her (obviously) much older co-stars, no longer the ‘academic ingenue’ and this trio still has huge fun playing alongside each other again. I admit, I smiled a bit myself seeing them all sharing the screen. As talented as the ‘other half’ in this cinematic marriage are, it’s only when the older partners are present that the film has any dramatic impact.

Universal and Amblin cranked that up in the promotional junket that no doubt helped this one to nudge up to nearly $1bn at the international box office, the second highest-grossing movie this year so far.

*Even so, we’ll all have a contest for our favourite dino. Mine? Definitely the ‘epically-fingered’ Therizinosaurus, who kebab skewers another dino-nasty!

Cast & credits

Director: Colin Trevorrow. 2hr 27 min/147 min. Amblin Entertainment/Latina Pictures/Perfect World Pictures/Universal Pictures. (12a).

Producers: Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall.
Writers: Emily Carmichael, Colin Trevorrow.
Camera: John Schwartzman.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Sets: Kevin Jenkins.

Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Scott Haze.

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