Jurassic World Dominion: Is It Time for Dinosaur Movies to Go Extinct?

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Photo via https://twitter.com/DeepFocusReview/status/1534887296465616896/photo/1 

The sixth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise has now reached cinemas. Jurassic Park Dominion has seen some success at the box office, taking in around $140 million in the United States alone in its opening weekend. Globally, it has seen plenty of action at the box office too, including a stellar opening weekend in China. 

So, by all accounts, Jurassic Park Dominion will make back its $185 million budget many times over. But critics are in almost unanimous agreement in reviews that the movie is a poor one, or an average one at best. It has currently got a 30% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On Meta Critic, it has got 37 “generally unfavorable”, although the user (audience score) is at 60 “mixed to average”. For critics, it is the lowest-rated installment of the franchise. 

Is this the end for the franchise?

Above all, the question is being asked if this is the end for the Jurassic Park franchise. There is a sense of a tired formula being used, that we see nothing new on screen. When Steven Spielberg released the original Jurassic Park in 1993, audiences were astounded that the director was able to bring dinosaurs to life through the use of clever special effects and nascent CGI technology. Now, they are greeted with a shrug. The dinosaurs in the modern Jurassic Park films might be bigger, faster, smarter, and more ferocious, but they have lost the ability to shock us. 

Jurassic Park Dominion has also followed the current Hollywood ploy of fan service by reintroducing characters from the first few films into the latest installment. The introduction of legacy characters is now common in the age of sequels and reboots; think of the ‘three Spider-Man’ characters in Spider-Man: No Way Home or the original Ghostbusters appearing in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Of course, it’s great to give fans a slice of nostalgia, but it also feels a little tired, as if the writers are pandering to the audience instead of coming up with something fresh. 

An issue facing Jurassic Park is that it does not have the ‘universe’ qualities of Marvel, Star Wars, or DC Comics. There are some decent Jurassic Park video games, and Microgaming has made some hugely popular official Jurassic Park and Jurassic World slots that you can check out Playerz online casino. But all the canon comes from two books by Michael Crichton. There just isn’t enough of a Jurassic Park cinematic universe to flesh out the plot and characters for movies. 

Money might mean more movies

Of course, perhaps the box office receipts – and it seems Jurassic World Dominion will be a financial success – will encourage the studios to persevere with more projects based on Jurassic Park. But there is only so much story that the producers can wring out of dinosaur disasters. Even the three more recent films, which fall under the Jurassic World brand, are essentially lite reboots of the first three Jurassic Park movies. 

In a sense, Jurassic World encapsulates modern Hollywood. As mentioned, we live in the era of the sequel and reboot, but there is also a push to create and deliver branded ‘content’. By that, we mean that the product is given precedence over the art of storytelling. If you see Jurassic World Dominion in cinemas, you might have a good time. You might be amazed at some of the action sequences, the jokes, and get a sense of nostalgia by seeing the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill reprise their roles from the 1990s films. But you won’t see anything new. 

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