Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) ☆☆(2/4): A sequel of dominant tedium

“Jurassic World: Dominion” is a sequel of dominant tedium which bored me and then exhausted me for many bad reasons. Besides its lackadaisical handling of story and characters, the movie seriously lacks awe and wonder in case of those big dinosaurs, and I must confess that, instead of paying a full attention to the screen, my mind was often more engaged in whatever a friend of mine was doing with his iPhone right next to me.

At the beginning, the movie shows us how much the human world has been changed during next several years since what happened at the end of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018). As dinosaurs have been quickly spread around the world due to a number of reasons including illegal breeding, there have naturally been lots of discussion on how to control this serious ecological change around the world, but, as already warned by Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in the previous film, things seem to be increasingly uncontrollable even though one certain powerful corporation and its ambitious CEO has attempted to get things under control.

Meanwhile, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) have been trying to protect dinosaurs as much as they can in each own way, but they are actually more concerned about Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), a very special girl whom they have hidden from the outside world during last several years. Like many other adolescent girls around her age, Maisie wants to see and experience more outside a remote spot where she is quietly residing along with Owen and Claire, and that certainly leads to a growing conflict between her and her adopted parents.

However, that little family issue of them is swiftly put aside when Maisie is later kidnapped along with an offspring of Blue, a female Velociraptor which was once trained a bit under Owen as shown in “Jurassic World” (2015). Although Blue and Owen are not that friendly to each other at present, Owen decides to rescue Maisie as well as Blue’s offspring, and Claire surely joins Owen as he embarks on tracking down those bad people who kidnapped Blue’s offspring and Maisie.

Thanks to a bit of help from two supporting characters associated with them, Owen and Claire eventually locate where Maisie is being held before taken to somewhere else, and we are soon served with a frantic action sequence which often looks like imitating the gritty realism of Jason Bourne movies. Although the result is too choppy and disorienting to hold my attention, I admire the considerable commitment shown from Bryce Dallas Howard, who willingly hurls herself into lots of risky actions through which her character has to go during this sequence. In my humble opinion, she is too good to appear in the film, but I guess she felt the need to finish her job to the end instead of handing it to some other actress.

On the other side, we see more of who is behind the kidnapping of Blue’s offspring and Maisie, and that is where Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) enter the picture. After invited to a certain remote preservation area by Dr. Malcolm, Dr. Sattler, who has been investigating one inexplicable ecological change, approaches to Dr. Grant, and Dr. Grant reluctantly agrees to join her even though he still prefers dead dinosaurs to living ones.

It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that they and several other main characters are thrown into lots of dangers thanks to not only the villain of the film but also a number of different dinosaurs including, yes, Tyrannosaurus rex. Later in the story, this big dinosaur comes to get a big moment to be compared with the climactic part of “Godzilla vs. Kong” (2021), and that is where we become much less interested in whatever will happen to the human characters who happen to be there.

However, this climactic part is not particularly fun or exciting because of its rather perfunctory special effects, and we become more aware of numerous flaws in terms of narrative and characterization. As juggling so many main characters, the movie frequently loses its narrative pacing, and many of main characters in the film remain rather bland and uninteresting despite the diligent efforts from its main cast members. While Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, and Sam Neill have a little fun together as they previously did in “Jurassic Park” (1993), they do not have many other things to do except often evoking some nostalgia from us. In case of Chris Pratt, he often seems to be on autopilot, and that is the main reason why Dewanda Wise, who plays one of substantial supporting characters in the story, or Isabella Sermon can easily steal the spotlight from him.

In conclusion, “Jurassic World: Dominion” is another disappointment after its two recent predecessors, and it reminds me of how its franchise has become more mundane inconsequential. The direction of director/co-writer Colin Trevorrow, who previously directed “Jurassic World”, is fairly competent, but the overall result is mostly devoid of awe or surprise, and, again, you can easily predict which main human character will be eventually eaten by those carnivorous dinosaurs in the film.

By the way, I happened to revisit “Jurassic Park” a few weeks ago for writing a bit about it. I was quite glad to see that this classic film is still a top-notch entertainment despite the considerable technological advancement in special effects during last 29 years, and, if you are rather cold to “Jurassic World” and its 2018 sequel film like I am, I suggest that you should just stick to “Jurassic Park”. Believe me, you may thank me for that later.

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