Andrea’s film review – Jurassic World Dominion

Jurassic World Dominion ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live – and hunt – alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures in a new Era. Out in cinemas now.

29 years and five sequels after the original Jurassic Park, the dinosaurs keep getting bigger, the cast is getting larger and even the runtime is growing exponentially (this one clocks in at 146 minutes!).

Having scanned some of the reviews around before my screening tonight (it’s hard to stay away from them if you are on social media), I was really fearing the worst: 1 Star from the Guardian and currently 33% on rotten Tomatoes (from the critics, of course: the audience score is at 80%) and while of course this is MILES away from any of the magic, the scares, the awe and that sense of fun that the original gave us, but still, I’ve had quite a bit of fun with it.

It probably helps that my expectations were very low and that I saw it on a huge Imax Screen in 3D, accompanied by a rather lively audience (they all seemed to be enjoying it too) and my young son next to me, who by now is a dino-convertee, even if at times he was clinging on my arm.

Story-wise, Jurassic World: Dominion is a real mess: heavy with clunky exposition (the first third is actually a bit boring and it’s probably the worst part of the film), overcrowded with characters (both from the original and the new ones) and with a plot which by now has very little to do with dino-cloning and amusement parks gone wrong and is so far removed from warnings and ethical questions in Michael Crichton’s novel it shouldn’t even be called ‘Jurassic’.

The script is all over the place and there are subplots which serve no purpose at all, or worse, are abandoned half way through. The one involving those dinos trained to kill specific people, for example, is only used once as an excuse for a great action scene in Malta and then it’s forgotten for the rest of the film, never mentioned again.

Characters appear out of nowhere wherever it’s convenient that they should appear, either flying a helicopter to come to the rescue (“hold on a second… how did she get there?”) or saving somebody else from whichever is the latest dinosaurs’ attack, or being in front of the right computer at the right time to allow our heroes to escape certain death.

And, without giving away the ending, it is so poorly conceived that they had to resort to a weird voice over (God knows from whom?), to wrap it all up to give it some sort of closure.

It really makes no sense… but hey, who cares? After all we all came in to see dinosaurs chasing humans. And it certainly delivers on that.

So, if you are able to put all of the above aside and just take it as mindless popcorn entertainment (which is all it wants to be), once the action kicks in, it is a bit like going for a very long rollercoaster ride.

Yes, of course it’s action pretty much by-numbers at this stage, with so many echoes from the previous films (including the surprisingly good animated series Camp Cretaceous, currently in its fourth season on Netflix), that very little feels genuinely fresh or surprising.

There’s a stand-out motorbike chase sequence in the streets of Malta (probably the only original in the whole film) which had my son jumping on the edge of his seat, but there’s a lot of the chases and dino attacks too, all of which are nicely orchestrated and executed (including a quick random nod to Indiana Jones…).

Nothing of course beats the scares of the first T-Rex attack of the original film, nor the tension created in that kitchen scene, nor that sense of beauty and amazement that Spielberg brought to his first film, but then again, very few things ever will.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a lot of fun with this, once I was over that terrible beginning and I had made peace with myself that it was never going to match the original, I relaxed with it and went along for the ride.

A lot of the film is infused with that sense of nostalgia and love for the original, whether it’s a simple line of dialogue or a cue from John Williams score or an action scene which echoes something we remember and of course, seeing Sam Neil, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum (who spends the whole second half of the film delivering witty lines).

Luckily none of that is a distraction and the film rattles along in a very serviceable way. The visual effects are mostly seamless and the cast (old and new) are likeable, but it’s clear that by now the franchise is on the edge of its existence (or extinction, probably is a more appropriate term) and they should probably come up with something new as this one has being milked long enough.

The film is out in cinemas now (as every bus in town is telling us).

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick

Jurassic Park: Dominion is out in cinemas now.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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