What started with a single egg cracking and revealing the cutest little predator, all eyes at it, gawking in wonderment, has now turned into a nightmare worse than what you might have dreamt of. In Jurassic World Dominion, the earth is sprawling with brought-back-from-death dinosaurs - you're feeding them like ducks at the pond, they're chasing you like mad canines on the streets - after the Kingdom fell in 2018.
But, we wish we were only talking about the dinosaurs genetically engineered in John Hammond's (Sir Richard Attenborough) lab in Jurassic Park. We're talking about the audience if that wasn't clear. There are some things that should have stayed extinct, and others should have stayed in 1993 (the original Jurassic Park). And yet, there was a World waiting for us beyond that Park, another trilogy, but with the same trope - one scientist dreams of bringing these regal creatures back to life, another mad millionaire turns it into a theme park, things don't remain within the fence, metaphorically and literally, and humans turn into an all-you-can-eat dinner for these dinosaurs.
The Jurassicverse has progressively regressed in content with each decade's technical advancement. The awe that Steven Spielberg commanded with visuals of just a scally foot or ripples in a glass of water induced by the distant thumping of said foot, has fizzled out in the world of CGI. It's now all about jump scares. You know there's a dinosaur lurking, it will chomp your head off, it's only a matter of when.
So, what's new?
Nostalgia. The finale of this Jurassicverse brings the old guards - Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) - together with the new, edgier recruits Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Nostalgia to a point that both Alan and Owen, almost slave to their muscle memory, murmur 'Don't move' to the group when they spot a Giganotosaurus approaching. But there's only so much nostalgia can do, as we saw in the recent Top Gun Maverick (Tom Cruise).
And, of course, there's Dr Wu (BD Wong). As Wu said to Mazaratti (Irrfan) in Jurassic World (2015), 'You didn't ask for reality, you asked for more teeth', teeth are what you get in Jurassic World Dominion. Not reality. More than the dinosaurs themselves, the focus is on genetically engineered locusts designed by Byoson (an evil corporation with a mad millionaire at the helm) to dominate the world's food chain. The entire movie is an elaborate Ocean's-like heist to steal locust DNA to prove the evil plan, and to rescue Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and Beta, Blue's daughter, interrupted by utopian hybrid dinosaurs. You really want to plunge into Sukumar Ray's Abol Tabol and the world of Hashjaarus (duck and porcupine hybrid) and Bokocchops (crane and tortoise hybrid) when you step out of the theatre.
After almost 30 years since the first movie (29 to be exact, since 1993), there's only so much old-wine-in-new-bottle the body and mind can take. No amount of bike stunts to chase off raptors is going to wash it down. Sadly, there aren't even enough moments like Bryce dodging dinos in heels in Jurassic World Dominion.
Not that Jurassic World Dominion is so terrible that it doesn't deserve a watch. However, it certainly is repetitive, which becomes its biggest flaw to an entire generation that's grown up watching these dinos. The visuals are stunning but nothing we haven't seen before - the thrill of the chase, the awe that bubbles in your heart when you spot the magnificent creature mushrooming from a cover of snow, the fear forming a knot in the pits of your stomach when you face it. Even the endearing cast and their genuine efforts to lift this extravaganza fall a little short.
Jurassic World Dominion, however, will open to phenomenal numbers, simply because die-hards would flock to the ticket windows. In the Jurassicverse, however, it will remain an underwhelming dino saga at best.
As Malcolm says, "Jurassic World? Not a fan."
We're going with 3 stars out of 5.