• Release Date: 09/06/2022
  • Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum
  • Director: Colin Trevorrow  

I am a huge Jurassic Park fan. I was in class 2 when Jurassic Park was released in India and I often saw its posters plastered around one of the most iconic cinema halls of Guwahati, Udeshna where it played for months. Unfortunately, this was one film that my brother didn’t take me to. Probably he was afraid of the impact that the grotesque imagery of dinosaurs devouring humans would have on my delicate psyche. I wish he had taken me to it though. My first theater experience of Jurassic Park was that of The Lost World: Jurassic Park that I watched with my brother at Kelvin Cinema. Sadly, Kelvin has since been transformed into a commercial complex.

I watched the third and final installment of the Jurassic Park series for the first time on DVD and then on OTT ever since. I gleefully devoured Jurassic Park when it was released in 3D in theaters in 2013. I watched it multiple times at Cinemax, the plush new and one of the only two multiplexes in Guwahati. I enjoyed the film just as much as I did when I watched it for the first time. It was only with Jurassic World that I was up finally to pace with the Jurassic franchise and hence I wanted it to be special. I wanted to love these films. Unfortunately, the Jurassic World films have got progressively worse with each installment and the series culminates with the worst film ever made about Dinosaurs walking the earth.

One of the defining factors of any successful and well-made Jurassic Park film was the inherent horror in it. The dinosaurs were a force of nature and they were not creatures to be trifled with. Even the herbivorous ones were capable of pummeling a human or a group of humans without breaking a sweat. Dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Velociraptor were treated with respect. These dinosaurs were referred to in ominous ways in the first act of the film and some sort of rules were set up around them until the humans came into contact with them in the second and third acts of the film. Thus the audiences were aware of the dangers that the characters were getting into and were prepared for what was about to unfold. Carnivorous dinosaurs could never be tamed no matter what and the Jurassic Park films understood this. They instead used this idea to their advantage.

(from left) Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) in Jurassic World Dominion, co-written and directed by Colin Trevorrow.

In the Jurassic World: Dominion, the carnivores are treated with so little respect and fear that it drains every bit of thrill, tension, and horror that was necessary to create and retain interest in the narrative. The result is a screenplay that is devoid of any tension or thrills. I am not even getting into the iconic horror elements of the Jurassic Park films that still remain pop-culture phenomenon and are re-used in many creature flicks. In this film, we have a Velociraptor that is nothing more than a glorified Rottweiler. Even after its baby is taken away by humans it does not do any harm to the humans. I hope we all remember what the T-Rex did to the humans even after its baby was returned unharmed after it was taken to be fixed by the humans in The Lost WorldThe Jurassic Park.    

If that was not enough, we get to see a full-fledged Dinosaur black market in this film that is the home to countless rare dinosaurs that are being sold off to different parts of the world. I was forced to ask myself, “How many dinosaurs and distinct species escaped into the world in the previous installment?” If I can remember correctly, it couldn’t have been more than a handful. If that was the case then how did all these dinosaurs spread to the entire world and where did these traders get all these exotic species? There are no answers to these questions and that is why this entire portion feels comically out of place and farcical.

(from left) Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) in Jurassic World Dominion, co-written and directed by Colin Trevorrow.

In the original Jurassic Park films, at least some of the major characters are seen dying. That is obvious when you are dealing with prehistoric carnivorous. It is also an aspect of the film that adds to the thrills of the film and makes the viewer wonder if the next action sequence would end in the death of one of the protagonists. This aspect was even followed in the first Jurassic World film where we see the character of Irrfan Khan die horribly. Sadly there is no such luck in Jurassic World: Dominion. Even after near-death skirmishes with some of the largest carnivores in the world, the men come out on top and without a scratch. After a while, I was so disinterested in these situations that I gave up on its emotional and dramatic payoff and concentrated only on whether the sequences were well done or not. I also realized that it is hard to enjoy an action sequence unless the stakes are real and the risks involved are high.

Every actor in the film is going about his/her beats in the most generic manner possible and that is for obvious reasons. They all know which way the story is headed. They all know that even after numerous near-death experiences, they all will walk into the sunset unharmed. They all know that their respective characters have practically no character arch. They all know that every effort that they put in to make their characters out of the ordinary will be wasted in the end as the story and the screenplay is so horrible. Colin Trevorrow tries to bring back fond memories of the better Jurassic films by bringing back Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, and Laura Dern, and teaming them up with the more recent crop of Jurassic protagonists but in the absence of a compelling and believable story and all the nonsense that we are subjected to from the beginning of the film, that effort becomes ultimately futile. 

JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION, (aka JURASSIC WORLD 3), Bryce Dallas Howard, 2022. © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Dinosaurs are creatures that are at their best when they are imposing, scary, and out to kill everything. Colin Trevorrow and his writers miss this very important point by miles. He also ignores the fact that we have had enough of evil corporations trying to mess with human habitat for financial gains and it’s time that more creative directors found better reasons for Dinosaurs to walk the earth and get in conflict with humans. Be it characters, situations, action or story elements, everything about this film felt recycled from better Jurassic film. Last but not the least, no matter how creative or outrageous one might get with the character designs and large-scale action sequences, there can be no substitute for a cohesive, realistic, and affecting story. Even if the story is outrageous there have to be elements in it that make it believable or justify suspension of disbelief. 

For that and lack of all that was discussed above and a lot more, Jurassic World: Dominion was the weakest and worse Jurassic film of all time. That is a dubious title that I am sure no film would want to have but that is something that this film has earned for itself with its lackluster writing, terrible choices, lack of thrills, drama, and horror and above all utter disrespect to the mighty power of one of the most feared creatures to have ever walked the earth.

Rating: 2/5 (2 out of 5 Stars)     

Also read: Vikram: Most entertainment that you can expect from a masala potboiler



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