Jurassic World Dominion (2022)

Colin Trevorrow

Running Time: 146 Minutes

Certification: 12a

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda 

At the end of 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the franchise was left in an interesting place as dinosaurs were freed upon the world and forced to co-exist with humanity. With such a vast change in the natural order, what would be the outcome of these two beings having to live in the same world? According to this film, the answer seems to be "Who cares?"

The main story focuses on returning characters Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) acting as surrogate parents to fugitive clone-girl Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). When Maisie is kidnapped, Owen and Claire follow intent on rescuing her. Meanwhile, legacy characters Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) infiltrate the sinister Biosyn Genetics to conduct industrial espionage related to a plague of locusts.

If anybody reading the synopsis wonders about the lack of dinosaurs, that's a question watching the film won't satisfyingly solve. For a franchise whose key selling point is the extinct creatures returning to life and causing havoc, it's fascinating they appear pushed aside in the supposed culmination of this franchise. In their place of prominence are the visually uninteresting locusts, whose conflict amounts to eating crops to wipe out a company's competition. It's a drab idea whose execution does little to change that sentiment.

While the first-half takes cues from the Bourne series to play out like a spy thriller, any promise of pushing the series in new directions is cut short once the second-half arrives. As the characters converge on another isolated location where dinosaurs roam freely, screenwriters Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow disregard something entirely new on a larger scale to tediously playing things safe. What's criminal is how this overlong film feels so dull. Credit to DeWanda Wise for delivering an entertaining performance, yet she's unfortunately the rarity among unengaging characters parroting uninspiring dialogue.

There's little to latch onto, and the film seemingly knows that considering how often it tries preying on viewers nostalgia. There's only so much the original trio can do, particularly when Jeff Goldblum appears to be forgotten about, and the sudden inclusion of a Barbasol can feels particularly ridiculous. Issues like these were somewhat forgiven in the previous instalment when J.A. Bayona delivered tense set-pieces which stuck in the mind, a skill Colin Trevorrow doesn't replicate. There should be power within a wordless sequence involving escaping a blind dinosaur, and a set-piece on cracking ice, yet they feel lifeless. By the time credits roll, there's an emptiness in how this franchise ended in such an unfortunate place. The creatives were so preoccupied on whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think whether they should.

Jurassic World Dominion is available in cinemas now