Majored in 3D Animation for a digital art school called the University of Silicon Valley. When it comes to CGI effects, I would certainly consider myself an "authority" on critiquing Hollywood blockbusters and videogames alike.
We live in a world where we have officially closed out two trilogies of Jurassic Park. Not only that, but this movie dares to merge a lot of the original cast with the new blood. Does it work? In my opinion, I certainly think the heart of the original characters was on full display. Logistically speaking? There’s plenty to say on that front, that’s for sure, haha.
One important note to make in this review is that I saw this movie in the 4DX format. If I can see a blockbuster movie in 4DX, I will GLADLY prioritize seeing it this way. I’ve seen many great 4DX movies this year, and I’m happy to see this (or similar) formats are hitting the mainstream of movie theaters.
The audience was VERY excited to be a part of this experience. People were in Jurassic Park shirts, they were cheering when their favorite characters showed up, and they LOVED when the dinosaurs stomped into frame. In fact, Jurassic Park as a franchise has ALWAYS had the dinosaurs be the main focus of these movies. Sure, the human characters are important and likeable (mostly), but folks are paying money to see dinosaurs on the big screen. On THAT front, I feel that this movie delivers, and even has a surprising amount of care with the human characters too.
The big draw of this particular movie compared to the other Jurassic World movies is the return of just about as many of the original characters they could get. Alan Graqnt (Sam Neill), Ellie Slater (Laura Dern), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and a few more familiar faces all come back and come back in STYLE. Even though the characters have aged, it’s like the actors are slipping right back into form so comfortably that you have a delightful time seeing them all again. They even blend in fairly decently with the new characters Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) in a way that may not necessarily be like a clean puzzle piece, but moreso an entertaining crossover that isn’t too jarring.
If anything, this does segue into my biggest flaw with the movie: the villains. Anybody that is a villain in this movie is either a) poorly defined, b) a Saturday morning cartoon villain, or c) both. This movie likely could have been LEAGUES better if they just focused on the REAL “villains” of the movie, which is…guess who? The dinosaurs. I definitely feel like the whole Jurassic World trilogy has had the BIGGEST trouble with establishing good villains. Especially when I think back to how silly Vincent D’Onofrio’s character was in the first Jurassic World, and his ridiculous plan to try and militarize the dinosaurs. The villains in this movie certainly come off on a similar level of exaggerated campiness, and I would certainly have preferred some better crafted villains.
Thankfully, none of that really kills the movie dead in the water. This movie definitely knows what it is, and focuses on what matters most: the dinosaurs. Boy are the dinos tons of fun in this movie. They even have some pretty effective scary scenes when they start attacking the humans, each other, and whatever else gets in their way! Most of the scenes that involve dinosaurs do look pretty great for the most part. I’d say maybe only a couple scenes suffer from some lack of polish, and some overly-shaky camera moves. Otherwise, you get what you pay for, in droves!
This especially shines through in the 4DX format. There is plenty of dinosaur stomping action in this movie, so you’ll literally be shaking in your seat when the dinosaurs enter center stage! I will describe this experience in a way that is mildly unflattering though. Imagine you’re riding on a VERY bumpy wooden rollercoaster. It’s super fun and has many cool twists and turns, but you’re being rattled VERY heavily because the coaster is very old and rackety. By the end of it, you’re actually kind of hurting because of how much you’ve been tossed around. That’s how this movie felt for me, and I would exercise that word of caution if you have the ability to see this movie in 4DX. Thankfully, with a movie like this, you at least kind of expect it!
The last point I want to conclude on this review with is the audience. Not only was the audience here GREAT, but I even made a new friend while watching this movie. The man and his wife sitting next to me were having such a blast, that even I couldn’t help but join in! I even introduced myself as a movie reviewer, and we even got to the point of exchanging business cards. I’ll tell you what, he has the COOLEST business card I’ve ever seen. Shoutout to you, new friend!
Coming back to the theaters has been such a positive experience for me, especially considering all of the factors of the past two years we’ve had to deal with. I can say with great confidence that not only are people very happy to come back to the theaters; they’re also happy to enjoy the experience with everybody around them! It’s actually much more likely that as long as you’re not rude and disruptive that the folks next to you may just become a new friend if you’re all watching the same fun and entertaining movie!
Still on the fence with Jurassic World: Dominion? Sure, I get that. For my money though, it was yet another entertaining time at the movies. I wouldn’t call it the greatest movie of the year, but the fact that I made a friend while screaming in excitement at dinosaurs smashing and eating things? That’s an experience that is definitely noteworthy.