The latest Jurassic movie suffers from a pointless plot that even Chris Pratt and Sam Neill can’t save

Whatever the cosmic fate of the dinosaurs, it’s hard to imagine their demise being any worse than this latest – and supposedly final – chapter in the six-film Jurassic franchise.

A series that always had its humanity – and ate it too – the long-sleeping franchise was revived with Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World (2015), a deeply cynical film about the cynical practice of theme parks that nevertheless presented many people satisfyingly chewed, pecked and swallowed – the very reasons, let’s face it, why these films can be so much fun.

Its follow-up, JA Bayona’s horror-tinged Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), brought out the series’ underlying, dizzying misanthropy – or at least its critique of human hubris – only to end on a cliffhanger. literal in which the dinosaurs were finally left loose on the world to threaten a typically Spielbergian suburb.

Chaos was on the menu, and it was exciting.

Paleontology consultant Professor Stephen Brusatte said in press notes that the 1993 film was a “wake-up call” that led more people to study paleontology.(Supplied: Universal)

Jurassic World Dominion, which returns the average Trevorrow to the director’s chair, wastes no time in meeting those expectations.

In a lazy opening montage, the news reports inform us that yes, dinosaurs have caused a few deaths and minor traffic accidents, but overall they seem to be widely tolerated minor irritants – or worse, subjects for poaching, the black market and nefarious pharmaceutical interests.

There’s no Triceratops hosting an evening talk show or a T-Rex running for local government, elements that would seem obvious to even the most basic screenwriter.

Instead, we find Chris Pratt’s veteran Raptor fighter Owen Grady and his partner, Bryce Dallas Howard’s park administrator Claire Dearing, hiding out in the mountains of Nevada with their adopted daughter, Maisie Lockwood. now a teenager of Isabella Sermon – the Fallen Kingdom clone girl whose DNA holds some sort of secret connection between humanity and her reptilian counterparts.

A black woman with curly brown hair wears a gray jacket and holds a taser next to a white man with brown hair and a navy blue top holding a knife
Pratt said in press notes: “[Owen] is father and husband. He can’t throw caution to the wind and do the crazy things he used to do.”(Supplied: Universal)

In an early, almost touching scene, Pratt, sporting a lumberjack shirt and riding a horse, wrestles with a Parasaurolophus in a Gwangi Valley moment that could have made Ray Harryhausen smile.

Meanwhile, the latest avatar in the series for runaway capitalism and genetic interference, a corporation called BIOSYN, has unleashed a plague of genetically engineered super locusts on the world’s agricultural crops, for reasons so ill-conceived and ultimately without relation to the action they require little explanation.

Their boss, Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), is the Hollywood villain du jour – a futuristic, grey-clad, Zuckerberg-adjacent tech mogul who even the most uninitiated viewer knows will get his reptilian reward.

When BIOSYN’s goons capture Maisie, they lead Owen and Claire — along with mercenary pilot Kayla Watts, played by DeWanda Wise — on a chase that takes them to the company’s premises in Italy, where most of the filming takes place. movie action.

Rather than adapting to the thrill of a global dinosaur rampage – Fallen Kingdom’s promise to break the series’ familiar pattern – Dominion shrinks, effectively repeating the same old beats as it recreates Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, until at the culmination T-Rex-versus-confrontation of the adversary.

Seven people stand in anticipation and stare up at a dinosaur that is off camera in a jungle setting at night.
“I saw Jurassic Park for the first time when I was 16, and [Neill, Dern and Goldblum] are not just icons themselves, but the characters [are] iconic,” Trevorrow/Film said.(Supplied: Universal)

Because this is the latest series in a franchise inaugurated by Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, dating back to that relative time of wonder, 1993, Dominion must also find ways to entice original stars Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum to participate in a procedural – which he does with minimal fanfare and maximum shoddy dialogue, forced plots and contrived emotional threads.

Dern’s Dr Ellie Sattler, now a hands-on locust expert, and Sam Neill’s paleontologist Dr Alan Grant are tipped off by a mole inside BIOSYN, where Goldblum’s leather-clad Dr Ian Malcolm takes a lucrative paycheck as a resident rockstar chaotician. Their reunion has all the emotional spark of three actors who have barely met, let alone co-starred in one of Hollywood’s most iconic blockbusters – which doesn’t stop the filmmakers from trying to force a fall romance between Sattler and Grant, nor posing to thick snippets of John Williams’ Jurassic Park theme in a transparent effort to elicit emotional response from audiences.

With its tangle of boring storylines, underutilized characters, and eco-metaphor swings, Dominion is absent-mindedly busy but never compelling.

An older white man with a graying beard wears a taupe jacket and hat next to a white woman with blonder hair and a sienna jacket on the plane.
Neill told Gizmodo he was persuaded by Trevorrow’s vision and “the idea of ​​dating Jeff and Laura again.”(Supplied: Universal)

It’s truly surprising how poorly imagined and executed this film is, especially given the weight of expectation, nostalgia, and cinematic precedent for the series – who could forget the dazzling, groundbreaking thrill of the first film’s visuals. Spielberg, who invited the public to share his genuine admiration.

Despite being rendered in the franchise’s handsome late computer-generated style, the dinosaurs mostly feel secondary, inserted as low-level obstacles whenever the filmmakers lack human intrigue – which they often do – or when they stop to remember it. , just maybe, the big lizards are what the public is here to see.

Sequences like a motorcycle chase through the streets of Malta look like remnants of a second-unit James Bond sequence, while clashes between an Allosaurus and a T-Rex – or a Quetzalcoatlus duel that should be spectacular with a plane – are simply tossed among rote action that has little sense of dramatic pacing.

A brown-haired white man rides a motorcycle through a plume of dust, chased by a velociraptor.
Animatronics supervisor John Nolan and his team created 27 dinosaurs for the film, including 10 that didn’t appear in previous Jurassic movies.(Supplied: Universal)

Every encounter with a dinosaur feels like a shrug, choked with suspense, terror, or anything approaching a sense of amazement that these ancient beings casually roam the earth.

If the characters in the movie aren’t even in the grip of dinosaurs, what chance does an audience have?

Actors of the caliber of Dern and Neill are left to mouth shallow lines and hope their cloned 1993 outfits – and gaping sunglasses – might summon something resembling public goodwill, while Goldblum, so essential to the human spark and sass of the first film, is left with a succession of jalopies that turn his charisma into a tired schtick.

“Jurassic World?” Goldblum wonders at one point. “Not a fan.”

It’s one of the script’s many pitiful attempts at meta-humor — and one that comes across as inadvertently self-critical.

If that’s the best a franchise tent pole can do, bring on the meteor.

Jurassic World Dominion is currently in theaters.


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