Connect with us

Movies News

Review: ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ is a Prehistoric Disappointment

Published

on

Review: ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ is a Prehistoric Disappointment

Review: ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ is a Prehistoric Disappointment

by Manuel São Bento
June 14, 2022

I’ve never dedicated time to write about my all-time favorite movies, nor have I made any lists. However, it would be nearly impossible for Jurassic Park to be left off of such a list. A masterpiece that quickly turned into a classic, and even though The Lost World and Jurassic World are decent enough, the saga gave rise to drastically inferior sequels on every level. Despite the tremendous disappointment that Fallen Kingdom caused most viewers, its cliffhanger finale created a terrific premise for the next installment. How could anyone fail to succeed with a story involving dinosaurs scattered around the world again while humanity learns to coexist with them? Unfortunately, Jurassic World Dominion achieves this “feat” of failure.

With much anticipation, Colin Trevorrow stated that this was the film he always wanted to make within the famous saga, but the truth is that the most interesting and exciting part of this premise is reduced to a mere, short, exposition-heavy illustration. Dominion picks up a few years after the end of the previous flick, which means all the chaos, terror, war, natural conflicts, and much more goes unseen. Instead, viewers are placed in a moment in time where humans are already used to living with dinosaurs and these with other animals & nature itself. So, what narrative did Trevorrow and co-writer Emily Carmichael come up with?

A generic, predictable screenplay without a single surprise throughout its 146-minute runtime focused on espionage and Taken-inspired subplots, completely shifting all attention to human characters and setting dinosaurs as mere extras with occasional appearances on the big screen. In fact, Trevorrow fits two movies into one, which makes its length unnecessarily long. From a cliche antagonistic CEO with futile motivations to the terrible decision of splitting the cast – the OG actors only meet the new ones after the beginning of the third act – Dominion commits the biggest crime a summer blockbuster can make: being boring.

Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard find themselves involved in a kidnapping-rescue narrative that goes through the most intolerable points of logical absurdity, but the major issue is really the lack of impact or importance to the overall story. All attempts to recover what they lost do little to change the course of the main plot. The hand off and subsequent chase sequence in Malta could be removed entirely from the film, and only one new character would be lost – DeWanda Wise is phenomenal as Kayla Watts, but she doesn’t stop being just another adventure companion with no personal arc or growth. In addition to this, Dominion fails to deliver even slightly riveting action scenes.

Advertisement

Whether it’s due to the unbearable shaky cam or the extremely choppy editing, it’s genuinely shocking that a 2022 blockbuster can’t harness the technology that enables stunning visual effects to create jaw-dropping dinosaurs. Not only is the dinosaur action sparse over two-and-a-half-hours, but the vast majority of it lacks tension, suspense, and any energy. In fact, only the best sequence of Dominion escapes this monotonous feeling: a moment that lasts shorter than it seems, involving Claire and a very particular dinosaur species, will leave all viewers at the edge of their seats. I wish the rest had the same level of technical quality and entertainment value.

Jurassic World Dominion Review

Far from these characters, Sam Neill and Laura Dern return to their iconic roles, interpreting Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler. It’s truly nostalgic to see the duo interacting again, but Dominion’s script still ruins what could have been a brilliant, emotional conclusion to the Jurassic saga. Simply put, Grant and Sattler could be replaced by two random, unknown characters, and the plot wouldn’t change a bit. The attributes of both the paleontologist and paleobotanist are insignificant to the almost offensive storyline in which they’re inserted. An espionage quest with a questionable beginning-middle-end, where even a forever-captivating Jeff Goldblum struggles to get past the dull one-liners.

Dominion barely avoids being a complete catastrophe due to the positive factors inherent to the franchise: cast, visuals, and score. These three elements came from past movies and were built and developed year after year, creating a connection with the audience that would always improve any installment. However, despite some rare moments, even Steven Spielberg must be wondering how a saga could deteriorate so much over time. Even the climax of the third act is ultimately disappointing due to the awful decision to film the final battle between the massive dinosaurs – a moment that had close to no build-up – with the camera locked on the human characters while the massive, cool, amazing action is going on in the background.

Finally, putting the emotional weight of the entire story on Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) proves to be a total failure for Dominion. Obviously, the young actress does her best with what she gets, but the relationship between Owen and Blue, the “adopted” Velociraptor, holds much more potential which ends up being underexplored. Just like dinosaurs spreading out across the planet, the relationship between Maisie, Owen, and Claire grew and consolidated off-screen, forcing viewers to care about a character more than they were supposed to because there wasn’t much to care about. Due to choices like this and many others, Dominion ends the saga in a deplorable manner… at least until a new trilogy arises sometime in the future.

Final Thoughts

Jurassic World Dominion is a massive disappointment on nearly every level. With an incredibly captivating premise, Colin Trevorrow ignores the fascinating idea of mankind trying to deal with the chaos of dinosaurs repopulating Earth, opting instead to write a generic, formulaic, surprisingly tedious screenplay. In addition to the lousy character treatment, the cast is divided into two storylines focused on nonsensical, bland rescue & espionage missions, placing dinosaurs on the back burner during the excessively long runtime. Action sequences reach drastically low entertainment levels, sometimes imperceptible due to erratic camera work and choppy editing. The cast, visuals, and score might save this from being a complete trainwreck, but not from miserably failing to deliver an epic conclusion to a saga that deserved nothing less than that.

Advertisement

Manuel’s Rating: D (on the A-F scale)
Follow Manuel on Twitter – @msbreviews / Or Letterboxd – @msbreviews

Find more posts: Review, Sci-Fi

Advertisement

Movies News

Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Published

on

By

Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

Advertisement

The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

Advertisement

Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Movies News

Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

Published

on

By

According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

Advertisement

To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

Continue Reading

Movies News

Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

Published

on

By

Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

Advertisement

Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

Continue Reading

Trending