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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Korked Bats

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“That Is One Big Pile of S#!t.”– A SPOILER FREE Review of ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’

‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a bummer. There’s just no way around it. In an era of Legacy Sequels we’ve gotten some remarkable movie follow-ups. Ever since we got ‘Jurassic World’ in 2015 (which was very average) Universal has just not been able to re-capture the magic of the original ‘Jurassic Park’. Now in defense of the ‘JW’ trilogy, the original ‘JP’ follow-ups weren’t that great either. Even ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’–helmed by Spielberg himself–was a disappointment.

What could’ve been a meaningful capstone on this six-film franchise, ends up having much of the same flaws of the sequels that came before it. Even the indelible presence of Jeff Goldblum and a few fun Easter-eggs don’t do much to save this one.

But like, what about the Dinosaurs?

‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is essentially two stories intertwined into one. On one hand, a mysterious plague of locusts seems to be affecting the world’s food supply. Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) has begun researching the plague and finds evidence of it being perpetrated by BIOSYN; a corporation that is involved with genetic research and monitoring the dinosaur population. She enlists the help of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to investigate the mysterious plague and their digging also brings in Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) who has been lecturing to BIOSYN employees at their main sanctuary.

The second story is that of Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). After the events of ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ they have gone into hiding with their semi-adopted daughter Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). Due to Maisie’s DNA she is a major target of researchers at BIOSYN. At the beginning of the film, they are able to facilitate a kidnapping to take her to the main BIOSYN sanctuary in order to study her. These two stories intertwine when their different interests lead them to the same location where Grant & Sattler attempt to stop the plague and Grady & Dearing attempt to save Maisie from her corporate kidnappers.

This unfortunately doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for dinosaurs.

But like, what about the Dinosaurs?

I’ll give credit where credit is due: ‘JWD’ has a serviceable and straightforward story. There wasn’t any point where I felt confused or lost. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a particularly good story. The brilliance of ‘Jurassic Park’ back in the day is that it was a fresh, exciting story that was extremely suspenseful. It is a masterclass in big-budget storytelling…completely centered around how F**KING CRAZY IT IS THAT DINOSAURS ARE ALIVE. ‘JWD’ and its recent predecessors treat that simple but crazy concept as more of an afterthought. The real conflict of this movie isn’t humans trying to survive dinosaurs. Rather, it’s humans trying to uncover corporate malfeasance.

I feel like Universal and these filmmakers needed to go back and watch the scene in ‘JP’ when the T-Rex first shows up. Do you remember how absolutely bonkers that was?!?! The scene still holds up to this day. Unfortunately, Hollywood, and even Spielberg himself, have proven time and time again that making a good sequel to ‘Jurassic Park’ just isn’t in the cards. There is no way to replicate the crazy tension and amazing story it had. Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson?

Doubt it. I’m sure we’re gonna get dinosaurs *cough-cough* excuse me, corporate-espionage-that-happens-to-involve-dinosaurs in space soon…this is Universal.

But like, what about the Dinosaurs?

There isn’t much to say here in regards to the acting. No one is particularly great. It’s fun to see Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern again, but even their characters aren’t given much of a story to make us really care about them. They are legacy characters but we’ve only seen them all three together once before. It feels like fan-service or pandering at its best.

Then there’s Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Pratt unfortunately is the recipient of a lot of unwarranted hate these days. Johnny Depp probably beat his wife and somehow he’s America’s sweetheart? YET we don’t like Chris because he likes to hunt? Don’t get it.  So yeah—we’re not in the irrational Chris Pratt Hate-Club—but he doesn’t do himself any favors in this movie. I don’t know if it’s bad writing or story, but Owen Grady has the charisma of, well, a dinosaur. Not to mention that almost every scene he is in, he barely talks.

Bryce Dallas Howard also seems to be the unfortunate victim of either bad writing or a poorly executed story. Her acting isn’t bad at all, but I doubt you or anyone you know can name a person who cares about the character Claire Dearing.

But like, what about the Dinosaurs?

Technically speaking, ‘JWD’ has its moments. There isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking, but there seems to be a bit more of a shift from CGI back to animatronics. I know animatronics and really, puppets in general, aren’t living creatures (no matter how hard I want Burt & Ernie to be), but I accept them as such because I know they are physically there. I will never be able to not notice CGI no matter how good it looks and will always think about the tennis-ball-on-a-stick that the actors likely had to perform with.

In short, much like the many other JP sequels since 1993…’Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a bummer. It’s clearly a cash-grab that tugs at our nostalgic heart-strings but doesn’t give us anything we have seen before or really much that we wanted….like more f**cking dinosaurs.

VERDICT: 2 out of 5 Stars.

So what do you think? Be sure to holler at us on Twitter (@korkedbats; @thecineboiz) and Instagram (@korkedbats2; @thecineboiz) and let us know how you feel.Also, be sure to follow Korked Bats on YouTube and The Cineboiz on Twitch to catch us live, and subscribe to The CineBoiz Podcast wherever podcasts are found!

Kenny

Kenny lives in Austin, TX and is one of the co-hosts of the CineBoiz Podcast. When he isn’t talking about or watching movies he can be found kicking it with Mickie the Dog and re-watching the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl 54 for the 25th time.

Kenny