Jurassic World Dominion

The Director is an important asset to any movie. About twelve years ago, studios started hiring film directors who made one good independent film. They drafted these Directors to work on their blockbuster projects. For example Marc Webb who directed “500 Days of Summer” was given The Amazing Spider-Man franchise. As a result Andrew Garfield never got his third solo Spidy film. Josh Trank directed the “Fantastic Four” reboot after making “Chronicle” and that crashed and burned. Colin Trevorrow, who did the small film “Safety Not Guaranteed” was given “Jurassic World”. While the first movie was very successful, “Jurassic World” was NOT because of Trevorrow’s poor directing. One example of this is when the two boys are trying to escape the Indominus Rex. We see the dinosaur come out of the forest to get them. The boys get to a waterfall and look back to see where the dinosaur is. The next shot shows the dinosaur JUST coming out of the forest again. This is amateurish. Did the Rex forget its wallet or something that caused him to reenter and come back out of that forest?

This newest movie in the franchise takes place four years after “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and dinosaurs now walk among us. There is a black market for these prehistoric beasts. Some use them for entertainment in fighting pits, while others are breeding them to be weapons. Biosyn Corporation CEO Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) wants to open a preserve to save as many dinosaurs as he can. However, his intentions may not be as pure as they look. It will take Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to team up with the original Jurassic Park trio of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to sort this mess out.

Right from the opening scene Trevorrow shows he is still not ready for prime time. There is a “hero shot” of Claire where she starts in the shadows and comes into the light. It appeared that the director was trying to set up a “Who is that in the shadows?” shot, but it ends up being laughable. There is an effort to bring a more human emotional aspect to this story, but even during those moments, he can’t make them happen.

Since this is a Jurassic movie, there is plenty of action involving the dinosaurs throughout, but while it may have looked good on paper, there is not much to bring you to the edge of your seat when you see it on screen. If you have seen the trailer you may have seen a shot of Owen riding a motorcycle through the streets of Malta while trying to avoid attacking raptors. This sequence should have been one of the highlight moments in the picture, but Colin Trevorrow does not have the skills to deliver the goods. Even the kills that happen in this are pretty mundane or just happen off screen. A disappointment there too.

One of the biggest selling points for “Jurassic World Dominion” is the coming together of the cast from the first movie with the ones from the current franchise. Often times when Dr. Grant, Sattler or Malcolm come on screen, you will hear the John Williams theme in the background, but it is not overbearing. It’s easy to see the Director is trying to bring a sense of nostalgia to those moments. He used the same tactic in the first Jurassic World when the kids stumbled across the original sight for Jurassic Park. It didn’t work then and it does not work now. Cheap tricks like that don’t often payoff..

In the summer of 1993 “Jurassic Park” was the biggest movie of the year. It became another Steven Spielberg classic. It is certainly unfair to compare the two Directors: but, Trevorrow has little to worry about. Despite most reviews being poor and word of mouth being pretty negative, there is little doubt this will be #1 at the box office during its opening weekend. Don’t be surprised to see a large drop off during the following weekend. That being said, Universal will probably be happy with the returns, but with the right person as the Director, it could have been one of the best.

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