Jurassic World Dominion
Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Isabella Sermon, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Campbell Scott, BD Wong, Omar Sy
This latest addition to the Jurassic sage, which unites characters from the old trilogy with the cast of the new one, is a chaotic misfire, the poorest franchise (dread word) entry since ‘The Rise of Skywalker’.
The trailers promisingly mooted an adventure set in a world where dinosaurs and humans are trying to co-exist. Bafflingly and perversely, the makers have decided to stage this, apparently the last instalment, as an eco-thriller meets globetrotting espionage thriller with silly and tedious results.
Hero Owen Grady (Pratt) is now a dinosaur wrangler living in the snowy Pacific Northwest countryside with his girlfriend, Claire Dearing (Howard), a former Jurassic World employee now trying to atone for her past via guerrilla action. Living with them is Maisie (Sermon), the cloned granddaughter an old associate of original Jurassic Park founder John Hammond. Also mooching around is semi-tame raptor Blue and her offspring (gene-splicing with a lizard means she can conceive herself). Otherwise, most of the dinosaurs have been rounded up by BioSyn (geddit?), a company owned by creepy tech-bro Lewis Dodgson (Scott, commendably managing to breathe life into a now overfamiliar character type). When Maisie and Blue’s child kidnapped, Owen and Claire head off in pursuit, aided by laconic pilot Kayla (Wise).
Meanwhile, crusading scientist Ellie Sattler (Dern) has contacted her old flame, palaeontologist Malcolm Grant (Neil’) asking for his help in investigating the swarms of giant locusts which threaten the world’s food supply. Suspiciously, BioSyn crops remain untouched. Ellie manages to blag them guest tickets to the BioSyn compound in the Italy’s Dolomite Mountains where they encounter old acquaintance, mathematician and chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) who is working there as a lecturer and in-house Cassandra.
It’s a near incoherent jumble of plotting, with bewildering directorial decisions at every turn. Any drama that is generated is undermined with the now seemingly obligatory tension-sapping Marvel-style banter. Pratt and Howard go through the motions dutifully, but the perfunctory dialogue doesn’t give them that much to work with, while the returning original characters seems stuck in holding patterns with Dern’s Ellie still the humane crusader, and Neill’s Alan crotchety and socially awkward, but decent. Goldblum is barely acting at all, as if he’s just been planted in front of the camera and asked to interject with random Goldblumisms, which is occasionally amusing, but lazy and presumptuous.
The effects verge from the impressive, with shots of dinosaurs galloping over the plains, to shoddy and ersatz-looking. Frequently the human cast barely look as if they are occupying the same space as the beasties. Nor is there a sense of wonder or genuine peril. Even the film’s most exciting set piece, a white knuckle motorbike chase through the Maltese capital, is marred by the too frantic editing.
The concluding gnomic voiceover ties a suitably daft bow on the whole farrago.
Jurassic World Dominion is released on 10th June
Follow David on @DWill_Crackfilm