Jurassic World Dominion: 'Joyless' film franchise finale mauled by critics

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Bryce Dallas Howard in Jurassic World: DominionImage source, Universal
Image caption,
In once scene, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) tries to escape a dinosaur by crawling underwater

Jurassic World Dominion has been savaged by some film critics, with one paper saying it shows it is "time for this franchise to go extinct".

It is the third and final instalment of the Jurassic World trilogy, and the sixth Jurassic Park film overall.

The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian gave one-star reviews, with the latter calling it "overwhelmingly mediocre and pointless".

But some reviews were warmer, with BBC Culture praising its "spectacle".

Jurassic World Dominion, which opens in cinemas in the US and UK on Friday, sees Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles from the previous two films.

Image source, Universal
Image caption,
Jurassic Park stars Laura Dern (centre) and Sam Neill (right) return for the latest instalment

They are joined by Laura Dern and Sam Neill, who starred in the original Jurassic Park in 1993. Fellow original cast members Jeff Goldblum and BD Wong, who have already appeared in the Jurassic World franchise, also return.

In his review, The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw described the new movie as "overwhelmingly mediocre and pointless, contrived and lifelessly convoluted to the point of gibberish".

"There are some flickers of fun," he acknowledged, "largely from the geezer generation: Dern and Neill have a nice chemistry and Goldblum is dependably droll. But Pratt and Howard look as if they have just been introduced at some LA party and have nothing in common."

He added: "This could have been fun, but there is something so arbitrary and CGI-bound and jeopardy-free about it, as the film joylessly chops in bits of Alien, The Swarm, Bourne and 007."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt reprise their roles from the first two Jurassic World films

"Dominion is the final entry into a trilogy that, at no point, ever knew what it was doing," wrote The Independent's Clarisse Loughrey in her two-star review.

"It's been like watching a cook completely butcher a recipe, before manically pouring in spice after spice to try and fix it."

Kevin Maher of The Times asked: "How hard can it be to make dinosaurs scary?

"And yet, here we go again: in this sixth and longest instalment (nearly two and a half hours!) of an increasingly flaccid dino franchise, there's not a single moment of genuine dread, fear or even mild unease.

"Everything is lethargy, repetition and cop-out. Dramatic jeopardy is abandoned."

Image source, Universal

Jurassic World: Dominion is one of the big releases of the summer blockbuster season, alongside films such as Elvis, Lightyear and Top Gun: Maverick.

There might have been two stars from Danny Leigh in the Financial Times, but he still described Jurassic World as a "franchise aware of its looming extinction".

"Six episodes in, exhausted dramatic possibilities give way to a dull hodgepodge of generic action mayhem," he said.

"There are life-or-death sprints across cracking ice, mid-air ejections from planes, Bond-ish chase scenes in Malta where dinos vault rooftops. Put like that, it sounds fun, I know. Don't get your hopes up. Even the film's most ludicrous moments have an essential joylessness."

There was a warmer review from Empire's Ian Freer, whose three-star review said great action scenes were "dotted throughout" and highlighted the reunion of key cast members.

"It's lovely to see Dern, Neill and Goldblum sharing the same frame, the dynamic of the serious scientists exasperated by the rock-star chaotician still gloriously intact. Goldblum in particular adds swagger and levity to a film in danger of becoming po-faced."

Image source, Universal
Image caption,
The Independent praised the addition of DeWanda Wise (right) to the cast

However, The Telegraph's Robbie Collin said the cast's reunion was "quickly stifled by the dismal script, which peppers every scene with corny asides and constantly resorts to coincidence to shunt the plot forward".

He added: "This is where the Jurassic franchise formula stands in 2022: take one generic film premise (in this case, a corporate espionage thriller) and just have some dinosaurs milling around in it."

There was a more positive response from BBC Culture's Nicholas Barber, who awarded the film four stars.

"Jam-packed with silliness, spectacle, intrigue, romance and just about everything else, Jurassic World Dominion has regular popcorn-spilling scares, exhilarating, expertly choreographed action set pieces that would earn a tip of the baseball cap from Spielberg himself, and the numerous characters all have plenty to do," he wrote.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Returning cast member Laura Dern won an Oscar in 2019 for her performance in Marriage Story

Rolling Stone's David Fear compared Dominion with the previous Jurassic World film, 2018's Fallen Kingdom.

"At the time, we declared it to be the worst of the Jurassic movies to date," he recalled. "We now owe that film an apology.

"Dominion is not so much a movie as an extinction-level event for the franchise, one in which the last remaining bits of good will and investment in this particular intellectual property are snuffed out like so many unlucky Stegosaurses."

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