Whatever goes come up, comes down but the way the Jurassic franchise came down is nothing short of ‘titanic’. The franchise that began nearly three decades back with a bang through Jurassic Park ended with a bust, with the final installment Jurassic World Dominion being the weakest one of the series. Unlike the previous installments that catered to those cinegoers who loved dinosaurs, this one tried too hard to be something in the 007, Mission Impossible, and Taken universe, and fails miserably.
Four years after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, dinosaurs are living in metropolitans with present-day humans and animals. In such a world, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) try to protect both the dinosaurs and Sir Benjamin Lockwood’s cloned granddaughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon) by living in a remote mountain area away from the city. However, when Maisie is kidnapped along with a baby Velociraptor, Owen and Claire decide to rescue them both before it’s too late.
Unknown to them, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) are also on a mission to find out the person behind the rebirth of an extinct locust species which threatens the world’s crop and food supply. Both the teams (Dearing-Grady and Sattler-Grant) meet at the headquarters of a very powerful organization that runs a few public-interest projects but more dangerous ones, in secret. With the help of Chaos theorist Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), they are on the verge of completing their missions, when something tragic happens.
Jurassic World Dominion plays on the emotions of all those fans who had grown up watching the entire series. Some of the parents of today were the very kids who forced their parents to buy a ticket back in the 1990s when dinosaurs were a novelty. For them, this film has nostalgic value and their kids would love it since it would help them connect with their parents. The VFX throughout the film were first-rate as were the actors’ performances considering they had to give expressions to dinosaurs when there weren’t any at the time of the shooting.
The reunion of sorts was also an intelligent step but should have remained in the background since it was always going to be Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s flick. Adding new dinosaurs, taking the story of a cloned girl forward, and then merging the two together was something that needed more time, and had the film stayed to the plot that linked the first two films together, it might have helped the third one.
Add to that John Williams legendary soundtrack and you start to wonder that nothing could go wrong here, but it does because it’s a Jurassic Park flick where nothing goes right. Yes, the action sequences are expertly done, and the cinematic experience the film gives to the audience is not-to-be-missed, but only these two elements don’t make a film successful, it becomes successful when the makers cater to the audience, instead of taking them ‘for a ride’.
‘With great franchise comes great responsibility,’ but director Colin Trevorrow doesn’t seem to take any responsibility regarding the film’s failure here. His urge to bring back the stars of the original Jurassic Park films and to merge them with the Jurassic World ones was a terrible idea and should have been killed at the pre-production level, but he must have thought that if Avengers could do it, so could I. That’s where he was wrong because the moment the oldies – Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum – appeared it became Jurassic Park IV and not Jurassic World III.
Also, the script was pointless, too coincidental, and must have been written after the original cast agreed to be on board because the writers seemed to be overwhelmed, hence aimless. In an attempt to diversify the franchise’s final outing, they added a Taken angle (girl gets kidnapped, parents try to rescue her), along with some elements of Mission Impossible and James Bond series (save the world from destruction) but failed miserably. The dinosaurs were secondary to the plot for the first time in the series, and when you make the main characters part of the supporting cast, it eventually leads to destruction.
If anyone is to blame for the film’s failure, it’s the scriptwriters who came up with a mediocre script and handed it over to the director who approved it. The blame must be shared between the director who co-wrote the script with Emily Carmichael, whose only feature film credit was a failed sequel to Pacific Rim, before this flick. For reasons unknown, they either tried too hard to please the fans or didn’t try at all and depended more on the VFX than on improving the script filled with loopholes.
There were more coincidences in this film than there were in the last five Hollywood films combined; for a film where a Chaos theorist is one of the main leads, there was nothing chaotic and everything happened as it should have in an ideal world. If there was a car crash, the car landed where there were well-wishers around; if there was a heist, then not a single camera was able to detect it taking place; if there were dinosaurs around, they would fight amongst themselves than the humans and if a code was to be entered, the guy who knew it would conveniently enter it as if he knew what the issue was.
Veterans Laura Dern and Sam Neill’s chemistry might have been the only good thing about the third installment because Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard didn’t have any. They might have acted as the parents of the kidnapped ‘special’ girl, but it seemed they just met each other randomly’. In a movie filled with dinosaurs of all sizes, they survived an air crash, a cave full of dinosaurs, a swimming dinosaur, and could find a helicopter as easily as finding the keys in your pocket, at a time when a grand evacuation was taking place. That’s too much of a coincidence for one movie!
The Verdict: 2.5/5
Watching Jurassic World Dominion was like wasting 146 minutes of your time for something that could have been a contender but was busy trying hard to lose the match. It was as if the writers and the director wanted not only the film to fail but hurt the entire franchise. Had the creator of Jurassic Park Michael Crichton been alive, he would not only have disapproved of the script but passed it through a shredder, so no evidence of Jurassic World Dominion remains. Sadly, he passed away a few years back, and couldn’t see how his idea was butchered into nothing respectable.
The way the director added layers to the movie in order to save it was one of the main reasons that it didn’t impress. It was certainly better than Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom which itself was a ‘fallen’ film in the franchise but now is the second worst of the series. No explanation was given about how dinosaurs who couldn’t survive the ice age were running in a snow-covered area, swimming below thin ice, and feeling comfortable in low temperatures, and the same can be said about watching dinosaurs attack like trained animals, which was too hard to digest.
Even the makers of Netflix’s Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous used more logic in their animated series than the makers of this ‘franchise killer’ where they took every idea imaginable, threw it in a can, and executed whatever came out. It wouldn’t have been surprising had some of the dinosaurs actually talked like humans since that’s exactly what the target market – young kids – would have loved the most!