Spoiler free, for those die-hard, dino-enthusiasts out there.
You know it. I know it. We all know it. The driving force behind a series that should’ve gone extinct after Jurassic World’s 2015 debut… is money. We turn up and fork out cash every single time one of these flicks plays in theatres, because raptors and cinema are as hand-in-hand as buttered bread. Nevertheless, with Colin Trevorrow’s nonsensically eclectic, ADHD quick-cut direction, somehow making this film’s most recent predecessor, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, look like a cinematographic tour de force… can Universal Studios please take a page from ‘Alan Grant’s’ book, and leave this franchise’s bones alone…
If little else, before I drag this film through cretaceous-era mud, rest assured… Jeff’s inclusion in the film is nothing short of gold…
…Goldblum. Get it?
Please keep reading, I’m sorry.
So, what’s this thing actually about? Well, after the events of Fallen Kingdom, Bryce Dallas Howard’s ‘Claire’ and Chris Pratt’s ‘Owen’ now live their lives in a decidedly remote cabin to hide the informally adopted ‘Maisie’ from the clutches of any power hungry corporation that might seek to exploit her.
With Maisie being a perfect human clone of ‘Charlotte Lockwood’, she’s considered “the most valuable piece intellectual property on the planet“. “But Mr. Hunter, you didn’t mention a single dinosaur there?”… no, no I did not… and funnily enough that’s a perfect reflection of this film’s priorities.
I know Alan, it’s ridiculous.
At least the series’ mainstay, friendly (ish) raptor Blue is in this thing… even if it is for less than 10 minutes. Inexplicably living next door to Owen, Blue’s offspring is captured alongside Maisie, prompting Claire and Owen to get them back to kickstart the film’s happenings. Now, although that sounds like an acceptably streamline premise… that isn’t nearly the half of it. Having left out a myriad of contending subplots and excess characters that bog down the experience whilst simultaneously pin-balling you through it with each jarring quick-cut and melodic crescendo, this film has little respect for your brain.
In all honestly? This was the first film to ever have me consider a 12A rating, and think…
…“Oh… this is a film for 12 year olds specifically”.
At this point in the franchise, all I wanted was an excuse to see dinosaurs. A Universal Studios rollercoaster ride, with a touch of connective tissue to take us from one dino-set-piece to the other. But alas, that was too much to ask. I guess I’ll just go watch John Favreau’s Attenborough narrated Prehistoric Planet and be done with it.
Yes, this film has dinosaurs. And yes, this film has dinosaurs doing all sorts of, well… stuff. However, with an outrageously unnecessary 2 hour 26 minute run-time, so much of this flick is not dinosaurs… which means emotionally effective character development and a resonant, impactful narrative was surely present to compensate?
Now, frankly, I did have an obscene amount of fun with this film. With every insanely coincidental save, physics defying set-piece and wilful ignorance of rationale rhyme and reason, this film is a nit-picker’s wet dream. However, its frustrating insistence on non-dino related things, coupled with notably sub-par VFX… a nit-pick fest isn’t enough to warrant your cash. I mean, barring the meanest sucker of a Therizinosaur you’ll ever see (honestly bro, chill) and a few shots of the Giganotosaurus, again… Favreau’s Prehistoric Planet puts this flick’s graphics to irreparable shame.
Okay, so is there anything to actually like? Yes, there is… and but it’s rather bittersweet…
…the original cast.
The only time this film seems to breathe and feel more coherently paced is when it follows the storylines of the original characters who cemented this franchise. Sam Neill’s Alan Grant, Laura Dern’s ‘Ellie Sattler’ and Jeff Goldblum’s ‘Ian Malcolm’ all make a return. Although they’re not enough to save this multi-millionaire heap, their inclusion does hint at an alternate reality in which their story’s could have easily lived on with more suitable studio and directorial care. Jeff Goldblum’s performance is as whimsical as ever, with his lines seeming more like his brand of improvised adlib than Colin’s lacklustre screenplay.
With this outing in the series being the franchise’s lowest box office opening, perhaps it’s time Universal let’s this series fossilise. I mean, without as much money… can this series continue to find a way?
And do we even want it to?
Whatever the case, if you’re looking for giant predators, herbivores and everything in between… Prehistoric Planet on Apple TV will do just fine. Jurassic World: Dominion’s value lies in teaching us that Colin’s forgotten Star Wars Episode 9: Duel of Fates script would’ve likely been a calamity (even if the title was dope).
Mr. Hunter disapproves.
Agree, Disagree, or discuss how a spinoff film where Goldblum rides a Therizinosaur is viable (we have the technology)… Mr. Hunter wants your take in the comments below!