Thursday, June 9, 2022

The dinosaurs roar; ‘Dominion’ doesn’t


   Giant genetically engineered locusts ravage midwestern crops, a greedy corporation poses as humanity’s techno savior — and, oh yeah, dinosaurs roam the earth. 
  Donning a threadbare ecological mantle, Jurassic World Dominion rambles for roughly two and half hours, alternating action sequences, exposition, and a trio of plot threads. 
    Despite the presence of Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum echoes of the original movie prove feeble, and an uninspired story leaves Jurassic World regulars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard with little do but gawk at the CGI creatures.
    Pratt and Howard play characters who spend the movie trying to rescue a kidnapped duo —a baby T-rex and a cloned 15-year-old girl (Isabelle Sermon).  Biosyn, an evil corporation that operates out of Italy's Dolomites, wants to exploit the pair for profit — or some such.
   Sermon’s Maisie was created by her late mother, a scientist who fashioned her from an altered version of her own DNA.
    Director Colin Trevorrow keeps the production from looking as meager as its ideas, providing some of the expected jolts, one from a creature billed as the world’s largest carnivore.
    Not surprisingly, many of the human characters stare directly into gaping, toothy dinosaur mouths and do what people in such situations are expected to do; i.e., scream at the top of their lungs.
    If you’ve seen all the Jurassic World movies, you know the environment that the movie inherits is one in which some of the dinosaurs are cute, at least in so much as large reptiles can be considered adorable.
    A few additions put a bit of spring in the movie's thudding steps. DeWanda Wise signs on as a freewheeling woman who winds up working to defeat the evil corporation. Mamoudou Athie plays Biosyn’s affable communications officer. Dichen Lachman portrays a woman involved in the illegal dinosaur trade, and Campbell Scott portrays the duplicitous head of Biosyn. 
    In these blockbuster-starved days (Top Gun Maverick being the exception), Dominion may do well at the box office — at least initially. Although not nearly as lame as it could have been, the movie drags its tattered carcass through several possible endings. 
   Only the dinosaurs, a bit minimized in importance here, give the movie any roar. I’m speaking literally. They're very loud.
   Otherwise, Dominion rehashes familiar themes about the dangers of tampering with nature and pushes its characters through situations that breathe little new life into an already depleted franchise.

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