Last summer, Jurassic World Dominion, the third entry in the Jurassic World trilogy and the sixth film in the overall Jurassic Park series, was released to gigantic success at the box office. With a total gross of well over a billion dollars, Colin Trevorrow’s sci-fi epic was third in 2022 to Avatar: The Way of Water, and Top Gun: Maverick, and plans have been cooking for future installments.
In the last week, more people have been catching up with Jurassic World Dominion as it was added to Prime Video, and, despite the movie’s money-making power, it’s the worst sequel so far in the franchise. At 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, Dominion falls way below the previous entry, Fallen Kingdom, which rated 47%, itself a drop-off from the trilogy’s reboot Jurassic World.
Critics were harsh, but nailed it when many suggested that the series had run its course and that the filmmakers may have officially run out of stories about our planet being re-populated with dinosaurs, no matter how good the CGI, how appealing the cast is, or how big the latest hype.
But while the film was an inferior episode in the Jurassic World saga, its status could be boasted if it was deemed the final entry. The sixth film only achieves the gravitas and grandeur of the best moments of the series when it reunites the leads from 1993 original (Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum), with the leads of the Jurassic World trilogy (Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard), so that full circle moment seems an apt one to end on, as does a number of the conclusions that were meant to finish the movie’s narrative, but now should serve as the full finale for the franchise.
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It’s now been three decades since Steven Spielberg’s ground-breaking adaption of Michael Crichton’s 1990 bestselling novel Jurassic Park and the formula of the five sequels that followed is so familiar that it can be summed up in two plot points: There are dinosaurs, and now we must now get away from them.
The CGI in the original and its first few follow-ups was amazingly innovative at the time, but such effects and visuals are so commonplace now that the eye-popping impact has long worn off. It’s unlikely that any advance in technology would come along that would make the dinosaurs any more impressive than what we’ve already seen, so this factor isn’t one that makes a difference in the excitement over any possible series extenders.
The critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes for Dominion sums it up by succinctly stating that “this franchise has lumbered a long way down from its classic start.” This suggests that continuing the series with only bank and not creative inspiration would result in further inferior entries and the mighty reputation of the once acclaimed canon would be diminished greatly.
Its critical rating was low, but Jurassic World Dominion did score fairly highly with movie-goers, gaining a 77% audience score on the platform. But this shouldn’t be seized on as a reason to make more sequels; it should be seen as an indication that they should get out when they’re still ahead, at least in the eyes of fans. If they ended now with the sixth entry, as less than stellar as it is, it would still be at a somewhat respected level.
If they go forward and make another that yet again has the same issues and lack of inspiration for any but spectacle, it could really hurt the sense of quality control for not just the Jurassic World franchise, but for the public perception of all over-reaching movie franchises.
There Should be At Least a Decade Between Entries
Childhood Actress Ariana Richards Playing Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park
Jurassic World Dominion just stands as another formulaic entry in a franchise well past its expiration date, but it could be the sign that a franchise can be concluded when the fire is gone, and the fumes that kept it going have long since faded. They cashed in one last time with one last gasp. Now we can say goodbye to all the principals, having seen them all in full legacy sequel style as they’re reacting, facing, and ultimately running from CGI dinosaurs one last time.
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But, of course, no major film franchise can ever really go away, so let’s hope that the Jurassic World producers will at least go into hibernation for at least a decade until something resembling new inspiration arrives. The real issue with this latest run of Jurassic World entries is that the story ideas have been rote and formulaic with only the notion to make the dinosaurs bigger being a solution to enhance lacking plot scenarios.
Without the proper spark to reignite this once-powerful film series, it’s apparent that the best way to go to is cut one’s creative losses and know when enough is enough. Jurassic World Dominion is the line in the sand for the future of this franchise, and unless a grand, new mind-blowing idea can be summoned in order to continue, that line should stand and not be crossed.