It’s not that “Jurassic World Dominion” doesn’t try to end this “JP” trilogy with a bang. Co-writer/director Colin Trevorrow and his team of filmmakers throw a lot at the walls to see what sticks. They bring back legacy characters, include storylines about preserving family and cram in allusions to contemporary issues. The folks behind this movie are trying to stir audiences’ emotions.
Unfortunately, “Jurassic World Dominion” is a pretty numbing experience.
“Dominion” picks up with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) hiding out in a cabin in the woods, protecting young Maisie (Isabella Sermon) and participating in various acts of dino-activism. Unfortunately, the bad guys, led by rich eccentric Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), abduct Maisie, sending Owen and Claire on a desperate quest to find her.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) are trying to get to the bottom of a scourge of super-locusts threatening to destroy the world food chain. All roads lead to a shady corporation’s mountain headquarters, a reunion with Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and a whole bunch of close encounters with dinosaurs.
This is a storyline you could conceivably have fun with, were you to throw in a few unexpected developments. Trevorrow and his team aren’t really interested in providing many interesting new wrinkles. There’s a sequence set in a dinosaur black market that’s kind of fun until it devolves into a motorcycle chase that looks an awful lot like similar scenes in other movies.
Beyond that and the idea of dinosaurs being loose all over the world, which is never really addressed in favor of the evil corporation plot, the only move “Dominion” has up its sleeve is to introduce a new, bigger apex predator. But they did that already.
All this smacks of a lack of imagination on the part of the filmmakers and the studio. Not only does the film abandon cool ideas like “how do people keep big meat-eating dinos of their neighborhoods” for more boring plots, but it also tries to cram in clumsy messaging about environmental catastrophe and coexisting with all forms of life. It was enough to wonder if the point of “Dominion” was to raise awareness about climate change. If that was the point, it wasn’t well-executed at all.
So instead of a film that provides a satisfying conclusion to a billion-dollar trilogy, “Jurassic World Dominion” hurls so much at you that it’s hard to pick one aspect of the film to engage with. The nostalgia of legacy characters, the family story involving Owen and Claire or the not-subtle-at-all messaging. What do I invest in as an audience member? Would I feel less inclined to have to choose if all these aspects were more successfully integrated into a satisfying, cohesive whole? In the end, “Dominion” is what it is and it leaves you feeling nothing.