Although Jurassic World: Dominion was one of my most anticipated summer movies, as I walked out of the theater I found myself feeling deflated. I had a lot of hopes for the movie, but it didn’t quite fulfill them.
There were some bright spots, such as seeing the legacy cast interact with the newer characters, and of course watching all the dinosaurs (especially that baby raptor!). However, here’s what I would have changed about the film:
1. Follow through on the storytelling possibilities set up by the last film
I was so hyped to see a movie all about the dinosaurs finally escaping from the park and populating the earth. You’ve had all these previous movies about people messing around with dangerous science, and now they have to face the consequences when their experiment breaks out of the lab and forever alters society. I was expecting a post-apocalyptic film about humans trying to survive the return of dinosaurs…instead, the dinos living in the wild seemed to be barely an inconvenience. They were there, but not that disruptive.
2. Add more dinos
Speaking of dinosaurs…there wasn’t nearly enough dino screentime for a film that’s supposed to be a grand finale for the franchise. On a certain level, the genetically altered locust subplot was interesting, but that belonged in a different movie. I came to Jurassic World: Dominion wanting to see lots and lots of dinosaurs, and I was surprised that they almost felt like secondary characters here.
3. Streamline this story
There was a lot going on in this movie, but I had a difficult time connecting to most of it. It felt like I was watching a first draft of a script, rather than a polished final product. The film makers tossed in too many ideas – human cloning, genetic modifications, changing ecosystems, trained assassin raptors, and an even bigger, badder dino called the Giganotosaurus – and it doesn’t necessarily all connect. In this case, less would have been more. (Side note: I thought they made up the name Giganotosaurus just for this movie, but apparently it was real and sounds absolutely terrifying).
4. Take more cues from ‘The Force Awakens’
I know, I know, I’m once again bringing up Star Wars in a review about a film from another franchise. Still, The Force Awakens projects the same kind of vibe Jurassic World: Dominion was vying for, except The Force Awakens does it much better. The Force Awakens successfully balances its legacy characters and new characters in a way that honors both groups. Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum were so, so good at inhabiting older versions of their characters; the film simply should have provided a better story for them to mentor the newer characters in the franchise. This might be a controversial thought, but I think one of the original three should have died in this film in order to heighten the emotional tension. Do we want to see any of these characters die? Of course not; however, Han Solo’s death gives The Force Awakens more impact and gravitas.
5. Remember that nostalgia is not enough
There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia and remembering favorite stories from your childhood. However, franchise films also have to move the overall story forward, instead of just recycling ideas from the past. Sadly, Jurassic World: Dominion doesn’t do anything new and doesn’t make me hyped to see more stories in the universe.