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‘JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION’ Review: a fun, albeit cluttered, trip down Jurassic memory lane

Synopsis: The future of humankind hangs in the balance as humans and dinosaurs coexist following the destruction of Isla Nublar.

I was lucky enough to be invited to see the sneak preview of the new Jurassic Park / World crossover multiverse, Jurassic World Dominion at the Super Screen in Cineworld, Leicester Square. 

A mega fan of the original Jurassic Park trilogy who also enjoyed Jurassic World (can we ignore the second one?), I was super excited to have the original gang of Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum back together and this part of the film mostly delivered. To be honest, I could have watched the whole film with the dynamic of those three, particularly Neill and Dern, rather than having the multiverse Jurassic Park with the new “strain” of dino characters. 

It was nostalgically wonderful to see Dr. Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant back on the giant screen, their chemistry living on after all these years, in fact they’ve barely aged and have just settled immediately back into those characters. Goldblum, of course, always gives good Goldblum – the scenes with the three of them are very funny, even though Goldblum now has five kids to feed. The little nods to the original I enjoyed, together with the memories of the original Jurassic Park by our three main heroes – “look at you, look at me, look at us” says Goldblum wistfully, suddenly realizing how quickly 30 years have passed since “Welcome to Jurassic Park”. The nostalgic elements of Dominion hit the nail on the head for me.

Unfortunately, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are at the opposite end of the chemistry spectrum. Pratt has the charisma of a giant pebble (sorry Star-Lord), and it brings nothing to the franchise. DeWanda Wise, Isabella Sermon and Mamoudou Athie do their best with what they are given, but alas, as we often see with many of these kinds of blockbusters this side of the year 2000, the scripts aren’t quite as funny as they think they are, and often tend to go off on slightly incoherent tangents. 

However, the wonderful factor about this film was the reconnection to the original. Some of these scenes had me sitting back in my seat in the cinema like it was 1993 all over again. There are some satisfying fan-service moments indeed and it certainly lives up to a cinema crowd pleaser in that sense. Unfortunately, the shifts between the scenes involving the original characters and the new characters lost me a bit and the pacing was all over the place. It’s easy to get cinematic whiplash when on occasion the genre suddenly shifts violently from dino action to ‘Ethan Hunt espionage in Europe with raptors.’ Chris Pratt, I am sorry, but Tom Cruise you are not. 

The dino fights on the super screen were fun. Although I did spend much of the time in these scenes wishing I were watching Jurassic Park. The raptors were terrifying in Jurassic Park, and it’s a shame they have become slightly cartoonized over time. Many of the scenes in the original were eye covering scary and that’s lost for me in Dominion. 

Overall, I really enjoyed watching Jurassic World Dominion, but it is very much a mixed bag. What do you get when you mix a franchise and a reimagining of a franchise? A bit of an incoherent mess, but a fun, nostalgic one. No more please. Let’s just all just watch Jurassic Park again. 

VERDICT:

Jurassic World Dominion – In Theaters June 10

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