If you’re of a certain age, there’s no doubt you remember very clearly the experience of watching Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in a theater nearly 30 years ago—of sharing with its characters the amazement of seeing living, breathing dinosaurs roaming on a plain; the stress of watching water ripple in a glass thanks to an approaching T-Rex; and the horror of thinking, “Holy crap those kids might actually get eaten by a Velociraptor!”
Unfortunately, Colin Trevorrow, who co-wrote all 3 of the Jurassic World films as well as directed the first one and this one, gives us nothing to provoke such feelings in Jurassic World: Dominion, the final film of the Jurassic franchise. Which is quite the feat, since the original trilogy’s main characters—Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern)—are all back, and you’d think their reunion would at least invoke nostalgia for the beloved 1993 film.
The main problem with Dominion is that it’s not dino-centric, and that’s what the people want, dammit! There’s too much other stuff going on. Grant and Sattler are hoping their old friend Malcolm, who’s now the “resident philosopher” at the genetics firm BioSyn, can help them figure out why gigantic hybrid locusts are decimating crops across the country. So one of the main storylines is about … locusts. Have locusts ever been known to capture a child’s—or anyone’s—imagination? No. No they have not.
The other major storyline is that BioSyn has kidnapped the young clone Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) because they think something in her DNA is the key to fixing the freakin’ locusts. TOO MUCH ABOUT LOCUSTS IN THIS MOVIE! (If you don’t remember who Maisie is, you should watch or rewatch Fallen Kingdom because you’ll likely be lost otherwise.)
As raptor-whisperer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and corporate-gal-turned-dino-rescuer Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) are now Maisie’s parents, they set off on a globe-trotting trip to find her, which leads to a Bourne-like sequence of Grady tearing through the streets of Malta on a motorcycle while being chased by dinos. Hey, at least it wasn’t locusts.
Even at 2.5 hours, Dominion never manages to gives the audience any sort of scene that will dazzle them or stick with them. It’s an action-adventure film first and foremost, with some previously extinct creatures thrown in as almost an afterthought. Now, if you have kids that loved the previous movies and are psyched for this one, I assure you, they’ll still like it (confirmed by a few friends of mine whose kids begged to be there opening night). There are still enough dinos to keep them interested. And fear note: Blue, Grady’s dino-BFF, is still around, and she has a baby. But the only thing that truly engaged me was a hilarious line—or really, a subtle action—by the criminally underused Goldblum that revolves around Malcolm’s shirt. That should’ve been one of dozens of memorable moments in a tentpole film like this, but alas, Trevorrow could not stick the landing. It’s an unfortunate way for this once-great franchise to end.