Critics call blockbuster ‘worst’ in franchise

Still from Universal Studios “Jurassic World: Dominion”

NBCUniversal

“Jurassic World: Dominion” may hit the top spot at the domestic box office this weekend, but lackluster reviews and word of mouth could delay its potential harvest.

“Inevitably, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ will make a fortune worldwide as these movies always do,” Robbie Collin wrote 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, with a 34% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes from 213 reviews as of Friday morning.

While the Universal film is expected to bring in about $125 million in ticket sales in the US and Canada this weekend, poor audience reception could hamper overall revenue in the coming weeks. Not to mention that the film will face stiffer competition from other films in the coming weeks, such as Disney and Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

Directed by Colin Trevorrow, “Dominion” takes place four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, the island that once housed the cloned prehistoric beasts. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprise their roles as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing, and are joined by “Jurassic Park” alums 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’s 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.

There is broad consensus among critics that “Dominion” desperately wants to capture the nostalgia of “Jurassic Park”, but that the stunning visual effects don’t make up for the missteps in storytelling and character development.

Here’s what critics thought of “Jurassic World: Dominion,” arriving in domestic theaters this Friday:

Ross Bonaime, Collider

“‘Dominion’ wants audiences to remember what they loved about the first film, but without taking advantage of the joy or spectacle that made this series so special when it launched in 1993,” Bonaime wrote in his review for collider.

“Instead, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is an exhausting slog, a legacy quel that doesn’t seem to recognize where the power of that legacy comes from, and an overarching idiocy that permeates every scene in the film,” he wrote.

Bonaime said the film is a tribute to fans of the original “Jurassic Park” trilogy, which was released between 1993 and 2001, but the trio of Dern, Neill and Goldblum has nothing interesting to offer.

“Rather than putting this iconic trio back among dinosaurs, ‘Dominion’ usually confronts them with giant grasshoppers, which is about as compelling as it sounds,” he wrote.

Read the full Collider review.

Chris Pratt stars in Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion”.

Universal

Clarisse Loughrey, independent

“‘Dominion’ is the latest in a trilogy that at no point ever knew what it was doing,” Loughrey wrote in her review for Independent. “It’s like having a chef butcher a recipe before he manically adds spice after spice to try and fix it.”

Loughrey said there were “crumbs of ideas for better Jurassic movies that no one ever had the audacity of vision to commit to.”

She pointed to the “Jurassic World” villain played by Vincent D’Onofrio who threatened to militarize velociraptors.

“Dinosaurs with guns? Cool, they should have,” she wrote.

Then she noted that “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” was toying with Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) who merged several dinosaur genes to create new species.

“Mutant dinosaurs? Cool, they should have,” she wrote.

“Dominion” seems to follow the same pattern. The trailer teases that dinosaurs were released from captivity and are now roaming among us. However, the film spends little time on this concept, instead exploring larger grasshoppers destroying crops and a rescue mission after Maisie (Isabella Sermon), a human clone of the daughter of one of the original founders of Jurassic Park, is kidnapped.

“The only way to really enjoy ‘Dominion’ is to hold onto those little glimmers of fantasy,” Loughrey wrote.

“There is a chase in central Malta where a velociraptor is absolutely covered by a metal pole,” she wrote. Some genetic fiddling introduces the feathered and more scientifically accurate Therizinosaurus into the pack — 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 the full Independent review.

Stephanie Zacharek, Time

“The point of entertainment isn’t to wear you out, but you’d never know if you were watching ‘Jurassic World: Dominion,’ directed by Colin Trevorrow,” Zacharek wrote in her review for Time.

She noted that the film started off in a “fairly promising way” but quickly got “tiring” after the first hour was up.

“There’s so much plot, so many characters, so damn much Chris Pratt, that the dinosaurs end up taking the back seat,” Zacharek wrote. “They’re the lost underdogs of their own movie.”

“With so many people roaming around, there’s hardly any room for dinosaurs,” she added. “Some highlights include a duo of apex predators going out in a fight to the death for universal superiority, though in reality they’re struggling over a tiny deer carcass.”

A bright spot in the feature, Zacharek says, are new characters Ramsay Cole, a nerdy BioSyn genius played by Mamoudou Athie, and the “horny mercenary pilot” Watts.

Read the full Time review.

DeWanda Wise and Laura Dern star in Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion”.

Completely

Germain Lussier, Gizmodo

“‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is being billed as the ‘Conclusion of the Jurassic Era’ and no doubt it will be,” Lussier wrote in his review for Gizmodo. “Especially because it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this once-loved franchise should be dying out.”

Lussier said the film’s biggest sin is that it is “generally uninteresting and boring”.

Like other critics, Lussier praised the film’s visual effects, noting that “every second there was a dinosaur on the screen, I believed it was a dinosaur.” But he also said that wasn’t enough to save the film. He noted that, as the final chapter of the sequel trilogy, the film is “painfully familiar” and seems to follow the same path as previous installments without elevating the material.

“The first ‘Jurassic Park’ worked because it was simple, recognizable and smart,” he wrote. “You wanted to be in that place, with those characters, and everything just clicked.”

“Now, five sequels later, no movie comes close to capturing that magic,” he added. “They’re all either too complicated or too similar. ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is both, and also a narrative cesspool, making it without a doubt the worst Jurassic movie 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 owns Rotten Tomatoes.

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