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What Hollywood Needs to Learn from the Creative Disappointment of ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’

This past weekend saw the release of Colin Trevorrow’s final chapter in the “Jurassic World” trilogy. While the film earned nearly $150 million at the domestic box office this weekend, reviews weren’t kind (including IndieWire’s own) and the film currently sits at a dismal 30 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (the lowest of any film in this trilogy or the previous one). While the return of the original trilogy’s core trio delighted plenty of audience members, fans and critics alike balked at the film’s convoluted story, its resistance to digging into more dino-centric action, and a truly bizarre choice to make some other creepy animal its main baddie.

Both IndieWire executive editor and VP of editorial strategy Eric Kohn and executive editor, film Kate Erbland emerged from the latest jaunt to the underworld of dino DNA gone wild feeling increasingly worried about the current state of blockbusters. But is there something to be learned from this latest dip into the stretched-thin world of IP, “tennis ball tension,” and “Spielberg porn”?

ERIC KOHN: There’s an excellent new movie in theaters that confronts difficult questions about what happens when humankind exploits technology to change the natural course of evolution. It’s called “Crimes of the Future,” and everyone should see it. And then there’s “Jurassic World: Dominion,” a movie that reduces those same questions to blockbuster putty of the worst kind. I know we agree with the general consensus that “Dominion” is a dud, the worst entry in the second trilogy of a franchise that never came close to matching the appeal of the original “Jurassic Park.” Director Colin Trevorrow has assembled an ambitious ensemble of new and old faces to weave together nearly 30 years of dinosaur survival stories, the result is a mess of ridiculous plot twists and cheeky fan service with an overabundance of monster movie CGI.

The failings of “Dominion” shouldn’t come as a surprise. All three entries of the “Jurassic World” trilogy swap awe for kitsch and make the original Steven Spielberg movie look downright subtle. To me, however, this outcome is also a historic inevitability for a few reasons. A decade ago, Trevorrow was among the notable Sundance breakouts catapulted the low-budget arena to the studios after a single well-received feature, the quirky Mark Duplass time travel comedy “Safety Not Guaranteed.”

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