I am a wimp, especially when it comes to “jump scares.” They get me every time—even the false alarms and fake-outs. There are enough of them in Jurassic World: Dominion to fill several films, which is just one reason the movie wears out its welcome long before it’s finished.
The setup for the third in the Jurassic World spinoff series is more blatantly contrived than ever, which is a shame since director Colin Trevorrow and his writing partner Derek Connolly are no hacks. I was among the cheerleaders when their indie feature Safety Not Guaranteed came along. I appreciate that two lifelong fans have gotten to work on such mainstream fare as Jurassic World and Star Wars. But they have succumbed to laziness here, treading past familiarity into the realm of utter predictability.
Yes, it’s fun to see the Dorian Gray-like Sam Neill (still the epitome of cool) reunited with Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum after several decades, but it would be much more satisfying if the writers had given them anything interesting to do. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, the nominal stars of this series, reprise their now familiar roles. Newcomers like DeWanda Wise and Mamodou Athie are well showcased, while white-collar bad guy Campbell Scott is doomed from the moment he sets foot onscreen. But you knew that already.
This is not a story that begged to be told or a saga that demanded a finale. It’s another dispiriting example of how Hollywood never leaves money on the table. As long as moviegoers will pay to see people in peril from scary prehistoric creatures there are people who will provide them with what they want: more of the same. It’s just a shame that so much talent is wasted in the process.