A cannibalized ending to a promised world
June 11th, 2022
Dinosaurs are living among humans following the events of Fallen Kingdom. The question is can the two species coexist? The bigger question is will we ever get to see this scenario? Jurassic World started off with an interesting question: What happens if the park opens? Out of all the sequels to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic, Jurassic World contains the most imaginative storytelling, despite succumbing to its overused plot points.
The sequel, Fallen Kingdom, is on par with The Lost World as one of the most pointless continuations in cinema. Not only does it contradict the animal rights message with horror elements, but it adds nothing new outside of the ending promising a conflict of humans and dinosaurs sharing the Earth. Despite COVID-19 delaying the production, two short films presented what this conflict can look like:
Sadly, this is all we are going to get from this synopsis because it gets tossed aside after the first 10 minutes for the same, tired, overused, annoying cliches that makes every following movie worse: an evil corporation, a one-dimensional villain (Campbell Scott), a hypocritical animal rights message, too many humans with plot armor (Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Isabella Sermon, and DeWanda Wise), and empty nostalgia bait coming off the excellent Spider-Man: No Way Home.
To make matters worse, the main creatures are not the dinosaurs but instead a hoard of locust. That’s right, the biggest threat in a Jurassic Park movie is a group of bugs. Never mind the idea of seeing raptors running amuck in the Roman Colosseum, pterodactyls fighting for the Empire State Building, or t-rexes roaming the African plains with lions and cheetahs (If one looks past the sarcasm in this sentence).
To its credit, this is the best looking of the trilogy with practical and digital effects coexisting better than humans and dinosaurs. The creature designs are updated with current information on their anatomy. And the returning cast members (Sam Neil, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and BD Wong) have the best moments when they catch up with one another. But for all the advancements in technical wizardry, the action is claustrophobic with tight close ups. The sporadic editing disturbs the carefully planned set pieces, one of which sees Owen speeding away from his hungry adversaries. Even the final battle between two apex predators is anti-climactic because it cannot match up to the Indominus rex battle. All the Jurassic Park sequels are equally inferior to the original, but there is always something memorable about them. Two examples include the T-rex rampaging through San Diego in The Lost World, and even a Barney reference in Jurassic Park III. There is nothing here that you can’t already get from the previous outings.
Jurassic World Dominion is the final nail in the coffin of a reboot that started off with so much potential. What should have been a thought-provoking dive into human/dinosaur relationships falls back on the worst cliches that make all the sequels inferior to the original. There’s always a big, bad corporation. There’s always a hypocritical animal rights message. There’s always manipulative nostalgia bait that does nothing outside of reusing classic John Williams themes. There’s always a small chunk of land in danger. This had the chance to expand on Fallen Kingdom’s ending. Instead, it threw its premise to the bugs and didn’t look back. While the original cast has some fun moments and the effects are at their peak, it doesn’t justify the cliched tropes that makes every sequel interchangeable. Nothing is wrong with mindless popcorn entertainment, but there needs to be something distinctive from the rest if it wants to raise the stakes. The last movie literally promised the “world” of Jurassic World. For casual moviegoers, this will definitely be a crowd pleaser. But for those who want to see dinosaurs all over the world drive humans to near extinction, the short films and trailers are as good as it gets. If this is the direction all sequels are going to take, then it is best that a comet wipes out this franchise that fails to evolve with the times.