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Steven Spielberg-produced Jurassic World Dominion dinosaur film with Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reviewed

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REVIEW: Jurassic World Dominion (12A)

It is rumoured this is the final film (six overall) of the franchise: good job, too. Please, no-one dig up its fossilised remains in the future. It should be left well and truly extinct.

I went with a relatively open mind but couldn't ignore the critical panning (30% on Rotten Tomatoes) Jurassic World Dominion has received.

Jurassic World Dominion.
Jurassic World Dominion.

It brings the old gang back together with Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) reprising their roles from Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park (1993) and joining chief protagonists Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) from the updated section of the franchise which began with Jurassic World (2015).

Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar due to volcanic eruption, dinosaurs now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world. The team of paleontology experts Alan and Ellie plus dinosaur wrangler Owen and dinosaur protector Claire in their separate ways investigate a possible connection between the Biosyn corporation and some environmental catastrophes.

More characters are added into the mix, including Biosyn chief Dr Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) and his assistant Ramsay Cole (Mamoudou Athie) who host Alan and Ellie at Biosyn where chaos theorist Ian conveniently also works; plus pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise), the latter who ferries Owen and Claire in a more unofficial way into the complex.

I am just skating the surface of plot and cast because (a) to explain it all would take a PhD; (b) it's a loooong 147 minutes overall; and (c) see next paragraph.

The amount of plot contrivances, coincidences, holes, and "people arriving in the nick of time" moments pile on to a farcical extent in a bloated mess of a movie.

For example, our intrepid trio are in an aeroplane which usually flies solo, has no parachutes and one ejector seat. Which is further back in the 'plane. Not in the pilot's seat, then, but the plot requires that this has to be the case.

If you are going to make a big, dumb, crowd-pleasing monster movie at least take it seriously and make an effort so that it runs consistently.

Yes, we know walking-dinosaurs-meeting-humanity requires a massive suspension of disbelief but previous blockbusters have managed to do it, to both critical and commercial acclaim. Spielberg did it in the first film of the franchise but as well as being a long, long time ago, it now seems well out of reach given today's shoddy sequel and reboot-driven landscape.

I suppose the short form of this review could have just read: "Go and see Top Gun: Maverick instead." That invitation still stands.

One of the differences is that Maverick wove its nostalgic elements into an already solid 'tent-pole film'.

Jurassic World Dominion's cast reunion looks like blatant fanservice that does nothing to distract it from being a shocking cash-grab. It overloads a movie that already has too many characters. It's a shame and the lasting impression is, what a waste of talent.

Peter Woodhouse

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