Colin Trevorrow was an odd choice to helm Jurassic World in 2015, having only directed one indie comedy (2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed) before being handed the keys to Universal’s most bankable franchise. Regardless, he and his collaborators managed to deliver a crowd-pleasing installment that breathed new life into the series. Many fans assumed Trevorrow’s absence was to blame for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom failing to meet the critical and commercial heights of its predecessor. But now, Trevorrow is back in the director’s chair for Jurassic World Dominion. And he’s bringing the stars of the original Jurassic Park to help end the franchise on a high note.
Unfortunately, it sounds like Trevorrow and company couldn’t make good on these intentions. Critics began posting their full reviews for Dominion online earlier today. And so far, the prevailing consensus appears to be that the movie belongs in a museum with the fossilized remains of real dinosaurs…so that other filmmakers can look on and observe how not to tackle a legacy sequel to one of the most beloved films of all time. You can check out a few highlights below.
Awarding the film a “C-,” Entertainment Weekly’s Joshua Rothkopf writes that Dominion packs “surprisingly little chemistry or humor” into its two and a half hour runtime. He also accuses the film of lazily recycling many beloved moments from earlier films. The result is a series of “unnecessarily junked-up action scenes, underlit and overhashed by editing.” But he did single out DeWanda Wise’s Kayla Watts as a bright spot, claiming she’s “basically starring in a one-woman Raiders of the Lost Ark in her head.”
German Lussier put things a little more bluntly with his own review for io9. He says Dominion “proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this once-beloved franchise should become extinct” (ouch) because it’s brimming with “many, many stale, boring choices” made by the filmmakers. To make matters worse, it sounds like the dinosaurs themselves aren’t the main focus here. Instead, they function as a “distraction” from a plot that’s “comprised of two seemingly separate stories, which are awkwardly shoved together as a way to get the cast of the original film to meet the cast of the new films.”
ComicBook.com‘s Jamie Jirak was slightly more positive, awarding the sequel a 3.5 out of 5. But he warned viewers that if they didn’t enjoy Fallen Kingdom, the new film probably won’t win them over. Because apparently, “the entirety of Dominion rests on the story of Maisie Lockwood [Isabella Sermon] and her cloned genes” and audiences “really need to care about her character to be invested in 70% of the movie’s plot.” Jirak did praise some of the action scenes, one of which he compared to Mission: Impossible or the Bourne series.
ScreenCrush’s Matt Singer dismissed the film as “yet another tale of brave heroes running from scary dinos in a remote location.” He also lambasted its villains, who “continue the Jurassic World franchise’s unblemished record of antagonists who make the dumbest possible decisions at every single moment.” Like Lussier, Singer also took issue with the dinosaurs being sidelined. He even claims they’re little more than “plot devices” this time. Overall, the sequel is devoid of “the wonder, the majesty, the intellectual curiosity, and the satire” that made Michael Crichton’s original novel and Steven Spielberg’s first film a success in the early ‘90s.
Clearly, IndieWire’s Siddhant Adlakha isn’t a fan of Trevorrow’s last Jurassic entry. Giving Dominion a “D” rating, he calls the sequel “one of the worst big-budget Hollywood blockbusters since Trevorrow’s Jurassic World.” Adlakha also targeted the movie’s “utterly mechanical” way of establishing its characters, which impacts the action as well. As he sees it, “no one enters or exits a scene with urgency or purpose.” Plus, “the number of shots that convey any kind of tension or meaning on their own can be counted on one hand.”
Writing for /Film, Chris Evangelista says that not even the return of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum could prevent the film from descending into “brain-dead nothingness.” Although the actors are as charismatic as ever, they “can’t rescue a clunky, shockingly boring movie that ends with a frail whimper rather than a T.rex-worthy roar.” It also doesn’t help that the newer cast members are less than memorable. Particularly Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady, who comes off “like a robot; an automaton with perfectly groomed stubble and a fondness for vests.”
The most scathing review of all, however, comes from Rolling Stone’s David Fear, who writes, “the last remaining bits of good will and investment in this particular intellectual property are snuffed out like so many unlucky Stegosaurses.” He even argues that Dominion “keeps going out of its way to be any kind of blockbuster except an actual Jurassic World movie” thanks to its “stock archetypes” and blatant ripoffs of other films. Fear also compared Dominion unfavorably to Fallen Kingdom: “At the time, we declared it to be the worst of the Jurassic movies to date. We now owe that film an apology.”
Jurassic World Dominion hits theaters this Friday, June 10.
What do you think of these early reviews for the film? Let us know in the comment section below!
Recommended Reading: Jurassic Park: The Original Novel