Still from Universal Studio’s Jurassic World: Dominion
Jurassic World: Dominion may hit number one at the domestic box office this weekend, but lackluster reviews and word of mouth could delay its potential success.
“‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is bound to make fortunes worldwide as these films always do,” wrote Robbie Collin in his review of the film for the Daily Telegraph. “But in terms of credibility, it’s an extinction-level event.”
The third and final film in the new trilogy of Jurassic Park films is the lowest rated of all six films in the franchise, currently holding a 36% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes from 175 reviews.
While the Universal film is expected to gross around $125 million in ticket sales this weekend in the US and Canada, poor audience reception could hurt its overall box office in the coming weeks. Not to mention, the film faces stiffer competition in the coming weeks from other films like Disney and Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Dominion is set four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, the island where the cloned prehistoric beasts once dwelt. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing, 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 is surprisingly little chemistry or humor, and the film makes repeated pit stops to emphasize family values,” wrote Joshua Rothkopf in his review for Entertainment Weekly.
The general consensus among critics is that Dominion desperately wants to capture the nostalgia of Jurassic Park, but that the stunning visuals don’t make up for its storytelling and character development missteps.
Here’s what critics thought of Jurassic World: Dominion, which hits domestic theaters this Friday:
Ross Bonaime, Collider
“‘Dominion’ wants audiences to remember what they loved about the first film, but without capitalizing on the joy or spectacle that made this series so outstanding when it launched in 1993,” Bonaime wrote in his Review for Collider.
“Instead, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a grueling drudgery, a legacy that doesn’t seem to realize where that legacy’s power comes from, and an overarching idiocy that permeates every scene of the film,” he wrote.
Bonaime said the film tried to pay homage to fans of the original Jurassic Park trilogy, which was released between 1993 and 2001, but failed to offer anything interesting for its trio of Dern, Neill and Goldblum.
“Rather than putting this iconic trio under the dinosaurs once again, ‘Dominion’ mainly goes up against giant locusts, which is about as compelling as it sounds,” he wrote.
Read Collider’s full review.
Chris Pratt stars in Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion.
Clarisse Loughrey, Independent
“‘Dominion’ is the final entry in a trilogy that at no point ever knew what it was doing,” Loughrey wrote in her review for the Independent. “It was like watching a chef completely disassemble a recipe before maniacally pouring in spice after spice to fix it.”
Loughrey said there are “crumbs of ideas for better Jurassic films that nobody has ever had the courage to take on”.
She pointed out the “Jurassic World” villain, played by Vincent D’Onofrio, who threatened to militarize velociraptors.
“Dinosaurs with guns? Cool they should have done that,” she wrote.
She then noted that “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” toyed with the idea of Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) spliced together different dinosaur genes to create new species.
“Mutated Dinosaurs? Cool they should have done that,” she wrote.
“Dominion” seems to follow the same pattern. The trailer teases that dinosaurs have been freed from captivity and are now roaming among us. However, the film spends little time on this concept, instead exploring larger than average crop-destroying locusts and a rescue operation after Maisie (Isabella Sermon), a human clone of the daughter of one of Jurassic Park’s original founders, is kidnapped.
“The only way to really enjoy ‘Dominion’ is to hold on to those little sparks of imagination,” Loughrey wrote.
“There’s a chase in the middle of Malta where a velociraptor is adorned with a metal pole,” she wrote. “Some genetic tinkering brings in the feathered and more scientifically accurate Therizinosaurus – a nightmarish creature with ‘Babadook’ claws. DeWanda Wise as pilot Kayla Watts slips into the Han Solo-esque, reluctant hero role so easily that it’s frustrating that she was introduced so late in the trilogy.”
Read Independent’s full review.
Stephanie Zacharek, time
“The purpose of the entertainment isn’t to wear you down, but you’d never know when you watch ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ directed by Colin Trevorrow,” Zacharek wrote in her review for Time.
She noted that the film started off in “pretty promising ways” but quickly “tired” after the first hour.
“There’s so much storyline, so many characters, so damn much Chris Pratt that the dinosaurs take a back seat at the end,” Zacharek wrote. “They are the abandoned underdogs of their own film.”
“With so many people stumbling around, there’s hardly any room for dinosaurs,” she added. “Highlights include a duo of apex predators fighting for universal supremacy in a fight to the death, when in reality they are fighting over a tiny deer carcass.”
A bright spot in the feature, says Zacharek, are new characters Ramsay Cole, a nerdy BioSyn genius played by Mamoudou Athie, and the “creepy-cool mercenary pilot” Watts.
Read Time’s full review.
DeWanda Wise and Laura Dern star in Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion.
Germain Lussier, Gizmodo
“‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is being touted as ‘the conclusion of the Jurassic era,’ and that will no doubt be the case,” Lussier wrote in his review for Gizmodo. “Mostly because it proves beyond a reasonable doubt that this once-loved franchise should die out.”
Lussier said the film’s greatest sin was that it was “generally uninteresting and boring.”
Like other critics, Lussier praised the film’s visual effects, noting “every second there was a dinosaur on screen, I believed it was a dinosaur.” But even he said that wasn’t enough to save the film. He noted that as the final chapter in the Sequel trilogy, the film is “sickly familiar” and seems to follow the same path as previous installments without improving the material.
“The first ‘Jurassic Park’ worked because it was simple, relatable and intelligent,” he wrote. “You wanted to be in this place, with these characters, and it all made sense.”
“Now, five sequels later, there hasn’t been a movie that even remotely captures that magic,” he added. “They are all either too complicated or too similar. ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is both and a narrative cesspool, making it without a doubt the worst Jurassic film yet.”
Read Gizmodo’s full review.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of Jurassic World: Dominion and owner of Rotten Tomatoes.