‘Jurassic World Dominion’ or — Le Mépris?
Despite never being a fan of the Jurassic World series I was still baffled as to how a movie about dinosaurs, motorbikes, dinosaurs and motorbikes, aerial attacks and marauding monsters could be receiving such negative reviews. Having now seen the movie I now understand why and the problems, unlike the film’s plot, are clear, exact and readily identifiable.
Bloat is one of them with ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ (2022) feeling like two movies spliced together. Actually make that three or four or even five because there are so many characters and story threads that it feels impossible to distinguish what this movie is even about let alone going any deeper than that. Is it about dinosaurs walking the planet again? Is it about cloning? Is it about bio-tech? Is it about the series’ new characters? Is it about the old ones? Is it about saving Blue’s baby? Is it about saving Maisie? Stopping the bad guy? And what is the bad guy’s ultimate objective anyway? Is it about er… locusts? Is it about humans and dinosaurs living together or is it about the threat we face to each other? So is it about running away from dinosaurs or saving them?
Or maybe it’s about capitalism? Or maybe big business? Or maybe it’s about tech billionaires? Or maybe it’s about the illegal exploitation of animals?
Or maybe it’s nothing more than a cheap collection of references to other movies crushed together which treats the audience like brain-dead, nostalgia-suckling infants in order to make money. Yeah, I think it’s about that.
The problem with all this erratic bloat and excessive nostalgia-bait means the movie only functions as a series of prefabricated elements as opposed to being a fully formed story able to exist on its own terms, hence unoriginality reigns supreme. The other knock-on effect of all this infuriating incoherence is that it has a profound and devastating impact on pacing and as soon as your monster movie has pacing issues, especially one this long, then enjoyment goes flying straight out the window and when that happens the audience turns on the picture like a T-Rex on a goat.
I think this is why the reaction to this film, which isn’t THAT much worse than the previous two, has been so hostile — because it’s frequently tedious, and that’s a cinematic crime.
For example — there’s a dull and drawn-out scene where one of the characters meets their demise at the claws of the frilly-necked, poison-spitting Dilophosaurus… and it is utterly unnecessary. So why is it included? Because that’s how Nedry was killed in the first movie, get it?! So sure, you get the fleeting sensation of hollow recognition but it’s at the cost of bringing the entire movie to a screeching halt, and ‘Dominion’ is constantly slamming on the brakes.
Another problem is that ‘Dominion’ is an empty mess. At one point the decision is made to relocate the dinosaurs to the steaming, tropical jungles of northern Italy’s Dolomite mountains (???!!!) which is narratively and geologically insane but only thematically appropriate because trying to untangle ‘Dominion’s plot-threads is like attempting to separate out an entire plate of spaghetti into its individual strands and equally as irritating, tiresome and pointless.
Yet what’s most depressing about ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ isn’t that it’s some sort of weird mutated offshoot or unexpected outlier of current mainstream cinema but that it’s simply an extreme example of it as the crimes it is committing — empty nostalgia, spectacle over substance, disingenuousness, an aversion to originality, convolution in place of clarity, rampant cynicism — are what constitutes the bulk of contemporary movies anyway. They’re just all so exaggerated here that they’re impossible to ignore.
‘Jurassic World Dominion’ was obviously looking to instill into the audience the emotions of thrill and awe of the original but if you bore, patronise and try your viewers patience and intelligence then another emotion is created which, again, is clear, exact and readily identifiable. It’s called ‘contempt’.