Jurassic World Dominion

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‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Isn’t a Movie. It’s an Extinction-Level Event.

Think back to 1993, an ancient era when cavemen in flannel roamed the earth, a gentleman named William Jefferson Clinton was President and Twitter was not even a toxic gleam in Jack Dorsey’s eye. You’re sitting in a darkened theater, waiting for a movie to start, when the trailer for an upcoming Universal Pictures release fills the screen. Sir Richard Attenborough is speaking of “attractions so astounding that they’ll capture the imagination of the entire planet.” Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and several kid actors stare at something offscreen with a look of wonder and awe. There are glimpses of massive creatures, viewed from the ground up, but only glimpses; the closest things to money shots are a scaly foot plopping down in the mud and a T. Rex’s eye peering into a car window. But your imagination is, like these millennia-old feral beasts, already running wild. Even if you didn’t know the premise of Michael Crichton’s bestselling novel Jurassic Park — scientists recreate dinosaurs from DNA samples, somebody builds a tourist-trap theme park for them, chomp chomp chomp — you knew what Steven Spielberg could do with scared onlookers and a giant, toothy animal. You had the sense that this would be something big, something mind-blowing, or at the very least, a lot of summer-blockbuster fun. And when the movie adaptation finally came out in June of that year, and people saw how the filmmakers blended animatronics and bleeding-edge digital effects to bring these gargantuan lizards back to life, and Spielberg worked his suburban-Hitchcock, multiplex-seducing magic (the scene with the reverberating water glass still inspires goosebumps), it genuinely produced a buzz. You might not have even liked the movie. You still appreciated the art of the cinematic thrill ride.

That original Jurassic Park moment now feels as temporally distant as the age that’s namechecked in the title; so, for that matter, does the world that existed when Jurassic World hit theaters as well. (When the inaugural movie of this second trilogy was released on June 12th, 2015, Donald Trump was still four days away from officially announcing his intention to run for the presidency.) Returns had been diminishing since the very first Jurassic sequel in 1997 — no offense, Julianne Moore and you’re-so-money–era Vince Vaughn. And given the way these new movies didn’t add much to the Jurrasicverse other than a rough-riding, more-rugged-than usual Chris Pratt and jokes about Bryce Dallas Howard dodging dinos while in heels, let’s just say that expectations were best kept low. Still, the sheer sloppiness and slapdash vibe of 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a bit of shock; you’d have thought the movie was assembled on the go while its creative team was being chased by an extremely angry Indoraptor. At the time, we declared it to be the worst of the Jurassic movies to date. We now owe that film an apology.

Were Jurassic World Dominion not already the conclusion of this nex-gen reboot cycle, you would naturally assume that it’d be the last entry — or more accurately, the final straw — of this series as a whole. It’s not so much a movie as an extinction-level event for the franchise, one in which the last remaining bits of good will and investment in this particular intellectual property are snuffed out like so many unlucky Stegosaurses. This is a film that’s been handed a rich set-up: Having been released from captivity at the end of the previous chapter, all of these recreated apex predators and lumbering, prehistoric behemoths are now roaming, stomping and wreaking havoc among us. And then, after a poorly executed opening sequence and a preamble that mashes together news scenes of dinosaurs skulking through the streets, it then spends the rest of its two-and-half-hour running time acting like it can barely be bothered to acknowledge that scenario at all. The use of the word “dominion” following the brand in the title is a joke. This is a movie that keeps going out of its way to be any kind of blockbuster except an actual Jurassic World movie.

Genres:Action, Adventure
Director:Colin Trevorrow
Cast:Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas, HowardLaura Dern
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