#REVIEW: “JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION”
Review by Nicholas Porteous for Mr. Will Wong
“Dodgson! We’ve got Dodgson here!” Wayne Knight proclaims to a small crowd in the 1993 masterpiece Jurassic Park. Eliciting no response whatsoever, he snarkily follows up with the classic line “See? Nobody cares.” directly to Dodgson‘s face. Cut to present day. The sixth installment in the franchise is upon us. Jurassic World Dominion asks the question: what if Dodgson–known for being a character that no one cares about–had his own Movie? Before you decide to never see Dominion based on these sentences alone, let me tell you that in spite of the movie’s many problems, Dodgson–who turns out to be a wily Steve Jobs-esque villain–is actually one of the more successful elements in this thick stew of dino-misadventure.
Did I mention this stew is thick? In terms of sheer volume, Dominion offers by far the most characters, locations, and possibly action sequences of any movie in the series. All your surviving favourites from the original are back, and they’re ready to stand alongside their modern-day Jurassic World equivalents–with the exception of Goldblum. There is only one Goldblum. Dominion consistently invites us to remember moments from the first Film and make comparisons, but it never delivers a better version. There’s a scene where Bryce Dallas Howard and Laura Dern inexplicably venture into a basement of computer processors to push some buttons, but instead of finding Samuel L. Jackson‘s bloody dismembered arm and being chased by a raptor, they encounter some big locusts–and exactly none of Samuel L. Jackson.
Despite managing to be a relatively straightforward culmination of so many characters and crisscrossing stories, Dominion is the kind of movie that wouldn’t trust its audience to walk across an empty street. It’s bursting with contrived exposition, along with visuals and dialogue that only serve to reinforce the obvious and the previously explained. In one scene, BD Wong describes his motivation to another character, then leaves them to watch a video presentation about his motivation featuring narration he recorded, which, you guessed it–explains the same motivation once again! Even if this scene was necessary or compelling, it begs the question of why and how this video–filled with sensitive information that only a tiny handful of people should know–even exists.
Dominion is spinning a lot of plates at once, and I wouldn’t call it boring, or even all that confusing, which is a feat of sorts. Goldblum does his best to inject some spontaneity into the unwieldy, often inorganic world. A small handful of the jokes land as intended. And there are Action Sequences that scratch that dino-danger itch–albeit sometimes in an over-the-top, gleefully violent style that has plagued the World entries from the beginning. We’re also expected to take sides in a dinosaur fight. Does anyone have allegiance to a particular dinosaur? Are we to believe one dinosaur is evil, and the other one isn’t? Dominion is not a straight-up BAD movie. It’s not what I would call good either. But it’s not entirely without positives. Although to be fair, the bar was set so low by Fallen Kingdom that almost any followup would look amazing.
“Jurassic World... not a fan” muses Goldblum at one point, unprompted, shattering the fourth wall with a pointed diss. My theatre audience erupted with laughter.
Universal Pictures Canada release JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION in theatres June 10, 2022.