Intelligence Extinct in Dopey ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’

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HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Intelligence goes extinct in this supremely dopey sixth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. Not even the reunion of original stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum can counteract the law of diminishing returns and a lack of focus behind the camera as the film turns Dino after Dino into a deadening drumbeat of dull destruction.

The film begins with Dinosaurs now roaming the earth, perching on skyscrapers and running free on the wide open prairies. I can precisely pinpoint the moment when the film lurched over the line and let me in for just how dumb it could be, and that occurs early on when writer/director Colin Trevorrow tries to top the admittedly cool sight of lead actor Chris Pratt riding a motorcycle in a pack of Velociraptors. In the latest, Pratt is on horseback roping rogue Dinosaurs like he’s on a cattle drive. Dumb-de-Dumb-Dumb.

“Jur1”
Jurassic World: Dominion
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is trying to atone for her earlier mistakes by rescuing Dinos from unlicensed breeders. She and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) are hiding out in a remote mountain cabin with Blue, the Velociraptor from Jurassic World, and a 14-year-old named Maisie (Isabella Sermon). For those who may be confused by the sudden appearance of a teenage girl, with a British accent no less, it just turns out she’s actually the clone of Charlotte Lockwood, the daughter of John Hammond’s first business partner from the second Jurassic World film… she’s less of a character than a plot device. Her mother was able to alter her genes to eliminate and stamp out the terminal disease that ultimately claimed her life. Nefarious forces want to study her so they can apply that research to dinosaurs and beyond.

Meanwhile, a plague of prehistoric locusts … of all things … is decimating crops in America’s heartland. That captures the attention of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dean), who suspects that biotech outfit Biosyn may be responsible. The company has won a contract to capture Dinos and keep them protected in captivity on a huge nature reserve in the mountains of Italy. So Sattler ropes in her old colleague Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and wrangles an invite to Biosyn headquarters thanks to Dr. Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum). He’s taken a cushy gig as an in-house lecturer warning the company’s staff how their decisions are causing the imminent doom of all mankind, but he also lets Sattler and Grant in on the company’s connection to the plague. Biosyn Genetics is headed by another awkward tech CEO type played by Campbell Scott, who looks a lot like Apple CEO Tim Cook and acts like an unholy combination of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Writer/Director Colin Trevorrow proves himself a one hit wonder here, as he’s unable to replicate the success and relative coherence of “Jurassic World.” Instead he tries to get by on nostalgia, nods to the original and lame brained attempts to top his own hit. The film trots across the Globe from Texas to Malta to Italy, and introduces new dinosaurs along with some old favorites from previous installments. But each Dino encounter is followed rapid fire by one-after-another, and they all follow a similar formulaic pattern that drains them of excitement and suspense. This film embraces more for more’s sake. How can we top a swarm of digital locusts? How about we set them on fire? Dumb-de-Dumb-Dumb.

The film’s best sequence involves a chase through the streets of Malta, where a black market for Dinos is alive and thriving. An associate of Biosyn named Santos (Dichen Lachman) is decked out in runway-ready outfits like she’s a Bond villain, has kidnapped both Blue’s baby and Maisie. Owen and Claire go after them, and what follows is a motorcycle and truck chase through the narrow streets that manages to be watchable, but never suggests for a second that either of our heroes may be in any actual danger. When you’ve seen the real thing, and then you see something like this that relies extensively on CGI, it’s just not the same.

“Jur1”
Jurassic O.G.: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill & Laura Dern
Photo credit: Universal Pictures

Laura Darn and Sam Neill rekindle their old chemistry, and Jeff Goldblum is along for the ride, but the three are saddled with performing some of the dumbest detective work this side of Scooby-Doo. DeWanda Wise is a new addition as a Han Solo type pilot for hire who joins their side, and frequently displays the sense that our ostensible heroes fail to possess. The only one who comes away from best is Jeff Goldblum, who can make exclamations like “That’s Bananas!” and have just the right off kilter weirdness to be at least entertaining.

Jurassic Park should have been one, maybe two films, and the more sequels we get the more disposable they are. This film’s constant callbacks to the original only remind us that we probably should have stayed home and watched that one instead. At one point a character calls the operation a “total disaster.” I couldn’t agree more.

“Jurassic World: Dominion” opens in theaters everywhere on June 10th. Featuring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Darn, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, DeWanda Wise, BD Wong, Campbell Scott and Isabella Sermon. Screenplay by Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow. Directed by Colin Trevorrow. Rated “PG-13”

HollywoodChicago.com contributor Spike Walters

By SPIKE WALTERS
Contributor
HollywoodChicago.com
spike@hollywoodchicago.com

© 2022 Spike Walters, HollywoodChicago.com

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