Still image from Universal Studio’s Jurassic World: Dominion
“Jurassic World: Dominion” may score at number one at the domestic box office this weekend, but lackluster reviews and word of mouth could derail its potential realization.
In his review of the film for the Daily Telegraph, Robbie Cullen wrote for the Daily Telegraph: “Inevitably, Jurassic World: Dominion ‘will make a fortune all over the world, because these films have always done so.’” But in terms of credibility, it’s an extinction-level event.
The third and final film in the new “Jurassic Park” movie trilogy is the worst-reviewed of all six films in the franchise, currently with a rating of 36% on aggregator Rotten Tomatoes of 175 reviews.
While Universal is expected to generate about $125 million in ticket sales in the US and Canada this weekend, poor audience reception could hamper its total sales in the coming weeks. Not to mention that the film faces stiff competition from other films such as Disney and Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” in the coming weeks.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow, “Dominion” is set four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, the island that was a shelter for prehistoric cloned monsters. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles as Owen Grady and Claire Dering and are joined by “Jurassic Park” alumni Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, who return as Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcolm, respectively.
“Even with the original cast on board, there’s surprisingly little chemistry or humor, and the film pauses frequently to emphasize family values,” Joshua Rothkopf wrote in his Entertainment Weekly review.
There is broad consensus among critics that “Dominion” desperately wants to capture the nostalgia of “Jurassic Park” but the stunning visual effects fail to make up for its lapses in storytelling and character development.
Here’s what critics think of “Jurassic World: Dominion,” hitting local theaters Friday:
Ross Bonemi, Collider
“‘Dominion’ wants viewers to remember what they loved about the first movie, but without harnessing any of the joy or scenery that made this series stand out when it launched in 1993,” Bonaime wrote in his review of Collider.
“Instead, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a grueling act, a legacy that doesn’t seem to realize the strength of that legacy, and a blanket folly that permeates every scene in the film,” he wrote.
Bonemi said the film tries to honor fans of the original “Jurassic Park” trilogy, released between 1993 and 2001, but fails to give the trio of Dern, Neill and Goldblum anything interesting to contend with.
“Instead of pitting this iconic trio among the dinosaurs again,” he wrote, “Dominion confronts them mostly against giant locusts, which is as compelling as it sounds.”
Read the full Collider review.
Chris Pratt stars in Universal Jurassic World: Dominion.
Clarice Lugri, Independent
“Dominion is the last entry in a trilogy that at no point did she know what she was doing,” Lovery wrote in her article for The Independent. “It was like watching a cook’s recipe perfect for a butcher, before hand pouring seasoning after seasoning to try and fix it.”
There are “crumbs of ideas for better Jurassic films that no one has ever had the audacity to see to commit to,” Lugri said.
She referenced the evil “Jurassic World” played by Vincent Donofrio, who threatened to militarize Velociraptor.
“Dinosaurs with guns? Cool, they should’ve done that,” she wrote.
She then noted that “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” toyed with Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) idea of linking different dinosaur genes together to create new species.
“Mutant dinosaurs? Cool, they should’ve done that,” she wrote.
Dominion seems to follow the same pattern. The trailer teases that dinosaurs have been released from captivity and are now roaming among us. However, the film spends very little time on the concept, and instead explores larger-than-usual locusts destroying crops and the rescue operation after the kidnapping of Maisie (Isabella Sermon), a human clone of the daughter of one of the original Jurassic Park founders.
“The only way to truly enjoy ‘Dominion’ is to hold on tightly to those little sparks of imagination,” Lovery wrote.
“There’s a car chase in central Malta where a velociraptor pole is adorned with a metal pole,” she wrote. “Some genetic absurdity introduces the feathered, more scientifically accurate Therizinosaurus into the pack—a terrifying creature with ‘Babadook’ claws.” DeWanda Wise, as pilot Kayla Watts, easily slips into the role of Han Solo-esque hero so reluctant that she is frustrated introduced late very much into the trilogy.”
Read the full review from The Independent.
Stephanie Zacharek, Time
“The point of entertainment isn’t to tire you out, but you’d never know that from watching Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion,” Zacharek wrote in her review for Time.
She noted that the film started out “in a reasonably promising way” but quickly became “tired” after the first hour.
“There’s so much plot, so many characters, so much Chris Pratt, that dinosaurs end up sitting in the back seat,” Zachark wrote. “They are the miserable underdogs of their movie.”
“With so many people on the move, there is hardly any room for dinosaurs,” she added. “Some of the highlights include a duo of major predators fighting to the death for global supremacy, even though they are in fact battling over one small carcass of deer.”
The bright spot in the theme are new characters Ramsay Cole, the nerdy BioSyn genius played by Mamoudou Athey, and Watts “the wonderful mercenary pilot,” says Zachark.
Read the full review from Time.
DeWanda Wise and Laura Dern star in Universal Jurassic World: Dominion.
Germaine Loser, Gizmodo
“‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ has been called the ‘end of the Jurassic’ and that would undoubtedly be the case,” Lussier wrote in his review of Gizmodo. “Mostly because it proves beyond reasonable doubt that this once beloved privilege must be extinct.”
Lussier said the film’s biggest sin was that it was “generally unfun and boring”.
Like other critics, Lussier praised the film’s visual effects, stating that “every second a dinosaur appeared on screen, I thought it was a dinosaur.” But he also said that’s not enough to save the movie. He noted that as the final chapter of the sequel trilogy, the film is “painfully familiar”, and appears to be on the same path it took in previous parts without upgrading the material.
He wrote: “The first ‘Jurassic Park’ movie succeeded because it was simple, relatable, and clever.” “I wanted you to be in that place, with those characters, and it all made sense.”
“Now, after five consecutive sequels, not a single movie has come close to capturing that magic,” he added. “They are all either very complex or very similar.” Jurassic World: Dominion “is two of those things, in addition to being a narrative sink, which makes it undoubtedly the worst Jurassic movie to date.”
Read the full review from Gizmodo.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor for “Jurassic World: Dominion” and owns Rotten Tomatoes.