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Jurassic World: Dominion

Started by Thomas, February 26, 2020, 11:26:49 AM

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Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

I haven't got a clue which film the critics have been watching, because I enjoyed this a while heck of a lot. Sure, I went in with low expectations, and seeing it at the IMAX might have overwhelmed my critical faculties to some extent, but there's nothing I can put my finger on that marks this out as some giant turkey('s evolutionary ancestor).

The only complaint I had with it was that, until our heroes all meet up in the last act, it does feel a bit like it's switching back and forth between two films, rather than a single multithreaded plotline. It's not a significant problem though.

"Oooh. I didn't like it, because the dinosaurs didn't act like real wild animals." Wrong Attenborough, bitch!

Thomas

I thought it failed on every level, even by its own standards. For all the dinosaurs-roaming-free setup of the preceding film (and promotional material), we very quickly end up on an enclosed island, essentially, all the main dinosaurs having been uninterestingly captured offscreen - and now they have 'neural chips' implanted in their brains, which means they can basically be remote controlled. Problem solved.

The old cast are totally wasted (misued, not pissed). What do we know about Alan Grant? A reluctant adventurer, he once loved and now loathes raptors. Finally he meets a man who has the gall to train raptors, and what interaction is birthed, what growth develops? Nothing. A mild Indiana Jones homage, complete with a lame joke where he risks his life to save his hat.

Similarly, Malcolm. Perhaps Grant and Malcolm could endure some tension - after all, according to The Lost World, Malcolm went public and suffered relentless mockery, whilst Alan apparently kept schtum and went back to digging, and they haven't seen each other since.

Here they just team up like videogame characters. Super cringey swelling of the theme when the camera first focuses on Grant. Could've been something interesting in meeting Dodgson and discovering his responsibility for the 1993 incident, but he might as well be a new character.

The nostalgic callbacks gave me a headache. At one point, Ellie, dressed as her 1993 self, takes off her sunglasses in that iconic Jurassic Park way, to... survey a field of wheat.

And it's sprinkled all over with sub-Marvel placeholder quips and a coincidence at literally every turn (the story is propelled solely by characters bumping into each other at useful moments). Also a weird retcon that undoes the Hammond-Lockwood conflict raised in Fallen Kingdom (if you care to recall it).

I realised I wasn't even enjoying it on a visual level, since most of the animatronics were quite jarring (the pointless Giganotosaurus moves like it has arthritis, and the Dimetrodons and Dilophosaurs are very obviously rooted to the spot), and the CGI is somehow still patchy.

I liked the Therizinosaurus, he was good.

Kelvin

Thank you, Thomas. I can die happy now.

Thomas

The displeasure is all mine.

I didn't have a problem, in theory, with the locust plot. The problem is that it's a brand new threat introduced in Dominion, superseding the big 'dinosaurs are free!' cliffhanger of Fallen Kingdom. By the end of Dominion, the new locust threat is resolved, but the original idea that people were excited about - dinosaurs roamin' free - hasn't been advanced an inch. The state of the world at the end of this era-closing sequel is the same as it was at the beginning. The only difference is that a brand new threat, not seeded in the previous five films, has been defeated.

Weird choices throughout. It's almost interesting.

idunnosomename

Does Dodgson wear a nice hat?

13 schoolyards

Quote from: Thomas on June 16, 2022, 10:28:00 AMThe displeasure is all mine.

I didn't have a problem, in theory, with the locust plot. The problem is that it's a brand new threat introduced in Dominion, superseding the big 'dinosaurs are free!' cliffhanger of Fallen Kingdom. By the end of Dominion, the new locust threat is resolved, but the original idea that people were excited about - dinosaurs roamin' free - hasn't been advanced an inch. The state of the world at the end of this era-closing sequel is the same as it was at the beginning. The only difference is that a brand new threat, not seeded in the previous five films, has been defeated.

Weird choices throughout. It's almost interesting.

I suspect they realised that they needed a really big threat - if dinosaurs are world wide, then the threat has to be world-threatening - but individual dinosaurs just wandering around chomping on random people wasn't going to cut it.

Considering every previous movie already knew this, which is why they all took place on islands or theme parks or haunted houses or only had a dino in suburbia for the final act, you'd think they might have realised this a bit earlier on.

elliszeroed

Quote from: Kelvin on June 10, 2022, 10:01:05 PMI mean, they have considered human-dinosaur hybrids, apparently. Stuff about military uses for the dinosaurs. Hard to imagine how ghosts or space could be any stupider than that.

Wasn't this going to be a Rambo movie at some point? Military dinos vs Rambo.

Replies From View

One thing they could have tried - just putting this out there - is sat down with maybe a big piece of paper or a whiteboard or a computer - and asked themselves the question "if dinosaurs are now free, what might happen to the world?"

I know that's far too much to ask of a film tasked with that question and no other question, but I like to reach towards extraordinary, non-obvious zones at times like this.



"They would just randomly chomp at one person after another and the film would just end.  That's all our shit imaginations can come up with :( "

Well try having better imaginations or drop out of the project then.  Isn't Hollywood normally quite brutal like that?  Why put yourself forward for a project that you're going to obstinately struggle with?

Replies From View

A film where the only survivors by the end are dinosaurs would probably be quite a decent end to the franchise.  Nihilistic like Alien3.

And then if they need to do a further trilogy it would be akin to a post-apocalyptic world where there are very few human survivors attempting to crack through a dinosaur world. 

BritishHobo

Quote from: Replies From View on June 16, 2022, 03:35:27 PMOne thing they could have tried - just putting this out there - is sat down with maybe a big piece of paper or a whiteboard or a computer - and asked themselves the question "if dinosaurs are now free, what might happen to the world?"

I know that's far too much to ask of a film tasked with that question and no other question, but I like to reach towards extraordinary, non-obvious zones at times like this.



"They would just randomly chomp at one person after another and the film would just end.  That's all our shit imaginations can come up with :( "

Well try having better imaginations or drop out of the project then.  Isn't Hollywood normally quite brutal like that?  Why put yourself forward for a project that you're going to obstinately struggle with?

Indeed. Given they were bringing back the original "gang", it would have been far more interesting to see them in a story where they're navigating how humanity begins to co-exist with dinosaurs. Refocus it on the discussions of ethics that made the first film so compelling, instead of Laura Dern having to break in to find a Maguffin to prove the bad people are doing bad people stuff.

Ferris

Quote from: BritishHobo on June 16, 2022, 04:54:11 PMIndeed. Given they were bringing back the original "gang", it would have been far more interesting to see them in a story where they're navigating how humanity begins to co-exist with dinosaurs. Refocus it on the discussions of ethics that made the first film so compelling, instead of Laura Dern having to break in to find a Maguffin to prove the bad people are doing bad people stuff.

Spoilers! I know about the Maguffin now :(

Goldentony

spoilers: the dinosaurs act like proper titheads

Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth

I did think it was a bit odd that the dinosaurs are sort of incidental to the main plot (they could just as easily been the ones eating all the crops) but I wouldn't call it a glaring flaw. There are still dinosaurs in the film and they're still big scary bastards.

Thomas

Quote from: 13 schoolyards on June 16, 2022, 02:51:24 PMI suspect they realised that they needed a really big threat - if dinosaurs are world wide, then the threat has to be world-threatening - but individual dinosaurs just wandering around chomping on random people wasn't going to cut it.

Considering every previous movie already knew this, which is why they all took place on islands or theme parks or haunted houses or only had a dino in suburbia for the final act, you'd think they might have realised this a bit earlier on.

Indeed. Though there's plenty of original Critchon material left to plunder. The Lost World (novel) has a dino plague in it. How about some sort of horrid prion disease spreading from the cloned dinosaurs to natural animal populations? Or a Velociraptor doing a racist TikTok?

If you are going to do giant locusts - which, in theory, is fine - try to come up with a storyline that doesn't require their wings to be fire resistant.

Quote from: BritishHobo on June 16, 2022, 04:54:11 PMinstead of Laura Dern having to break in to find a Maguffin to prove the bad people are doing bad people stuff.

Also, by the end we learn that Ramsey(?) and Malcolm knew all along about the MacGuffin, and indeed had full access to the tank of live MacGuffins. Seems simpler just to pop downstairs and do it yourself rather than enlist a palaeobotanist and a palaeontologist you nearly died with 30 years ago.

Replies From View

Quote from: Claude the Racecar Driving Rockstar Super Sleuth on June 16, 2022, 07:57:10 PMThere are still dinosaurs in the film and they're still big scary bastards.

I prefer my dinosaurs to be sparkling.

13 schoolyards

Quote from: Thomas on June 16, 2022, 08:53:24 PMAlso, by the end we learn that Ramsey(?) and Malcolm knew all along about the MacGuffin, and indeed had full access to the tank of live MacGuffins. Seems simpler just to pop downstairs and do it yourself rather than enlist a palaeobotanist and a palaeontologist you nearly died with 30 years ago.

I think - and I'm almost certainly being too generous to the script here - the idea was that getting outsiders in to actually do the "stealing the sample" side of things would have left the guys working undercover with their cover stories intact so they could continue to do their spy stuff as the corporation tried to cover their tracks and so on.

Nobody expected that
Spoiler alert
the whole place would burn down and the big boss would get eaten
[close]

Thomas

That's plausible (though still a bit of a contrived stretch that you'd enlist Ellie and Alan for your espionage job). Definitely feels like important character scenes and ideas were really pared down, for the sake of toy-selling dino appearances (the feathered lad on the frozen lake takes up a pointless few minutes, and the Malta scene goes on and on).

I got the sense from Alan's introduction that we were supposed to get a better feel for his current circumstances, performing palaeontology for tourists to keep the dig going. For about a second, as he does his little speech, you can just glimpse a couple of bored young people on their phones. The camera doesn't focus or linger on them, I just happened to being casting my eye over the background, and they appeared oddly out of place. Why were they very conspicuously staring at their phones? Are they students of Alan's? Later, Ellie briefly mentions seeing 'a lot of tourists' about the place. I think material must have been trimmed there.

Povidone

Arithmetick arithmetock
Turn the hands back on the clock
How does the ocean rock the boat?
How did the T-Rex find my goat?

Small Man Big Horse

This is now available, albeit with Korean subtitles, though I found them easy to ignore.

I'm largely with Thomas on this one, it's an almost bizarrely terrible movie, the way it sets up the idea that dinosaurs are on the loose and killing people only to drop the idea and focus on giant locusts and gm crops felt truly weird, and it's a film that lacked any threat, there's about ten heroic characters
Spoiler alert
and every single one of them emerges from the film pretty much scratch free, and apart from Campbell Scott the only characters to be killed off were nameless bad guys.
[close]

I did enjoy the chase scene in Africa if only because it was so absurd it made me laugh, with Bryce Dallas Howard seemingly an Olympic level athlete while Chris Pratt's fucking about on a motorbike was beyond idiotic, but hey, at least it moved at a decent pace and was enjoyably silly.

The only thing I'd disagree with Thomas about is Jeff Goldblum, I thought he lit up the screen when he was on it and was the only character I was actively hoping would survive - but I'll add the caveat that I currently have covid and am pretty much brain dead right now, so perhaps that's why I liked him so much.

One other thing is that I thought some of the acting was awful, the actor playing Masie Lockwood was horribly wooden, and there were some extremely minor characters over acting all over the place, including some bloke rambling away about cappuccinos in an extremely strange over the top way.

Thomas

I usually daydream before drifting off to sleep, and over the past couple of weeks I've come up with the story for quite a serviceable Jurassic Park 4. Too late.

I hope you recover soon from your Covid, SMBH, and that you're not feeling too rough. It would be a shame if this was the last film you ever see.

Quote from: Small Man Big Horse on July 08, 2022, 08:34:49 PMincluding some bloke rambling away about cappuccinos in an extremely strange over the top way.

I hated that, a waste of Sam Neill's screentime. One of those moments where I wondered almost aloud, 'what is this film doing?' The 'brunch' bit from Justice League, repackaged. A sketch from a boomer comedy.

Anyway here's my favourite frame from this mad bad film:

Spoiler alert
[close]

idunnosomename

James o'Brien's found a new good Tory to be mates with

BritishHobo

#261
There was something suspicious about the number of English-accented characters getting inexplicable chummy-awkward comedy bits. Like one of the writers loves classic Hugh Grant and wanted as much 'well, er, gosh' content as possible.

Replies From View

Quote from: Thomas on July 11, 2022, 11:23:39 AMI hope you recover soon from your Covid, SMBH, and that you're not feeling too rough. It would be a shame if this was the last film you ever see.

They say that you only take memories of the most recent film you saw into the afterlife with you.  It's a rule they don't have in "our" version of Desert Island Discs but St Peter is an absolute stickler apparently.

Small Man Big Horse

Quote from: Thomas on July 11, 2022, 11:23:39 AMI hope you recover soon from your Covid, SMBH, and that you're not feeling too rough. It would be a shame if this was the last film you ever see.

Thanks Thomas, and I've already seen two other movies in the hope that if I watch enough I'll barely remember what this nonsense was all about.

QuoteI hated that, a waste of Sam Neill's screentime. One of those moments where I wondered almost aloud, 'what is this film doing?' The 'brunch' bit from Justice League, repackaged. A sketch from a boomer comedy.

I'm glad I wasn't alone on that front, in what's already a stupidly long movie to have a pointless extended scene like that one was just bizarre, I mean I guess it was supposed to be funny but I couldn't spot any parts that seemed like they should make me want to laugh, and I'm an easy laugher, a laughter slut some might even say.

Thomas

It seems that blockbusters of late look to Marvel when it comes to comic moments. Every other hint of atmosphere or tone is dropped for the All-Encompassing Funny Moment, as if a film can only manage one feeling at a time.

The first Jurassic Park had some comic moments that blended perfectly with the tense stuff. 'When you gotta go, you gotta go.' The cut to the lawyer in his full suit, pulled along a river on a barge. Jeff Goldblum wiping the condensation from his window as the T. rex attacks. Lawyer plucked from the toilet. Nedry's general clumsiness. Even 'clever girl'. All funny, but you don't lose the naturalism or sense of threat that runs through the scene. Reminds me of the humour in Die Hard; none of it upends the horror of what's happening to the characters.

Compare that to Chris Pratt rolling away from the lava in Fallen Kingdom. Hugely signposted threat-free comedy sequence that evaporates all tension. I'm sure there's probably an interesting thread to be mined from 'the evolution of comedy in action movies'.

idunnosomename

I always think when Nedry knocks over the sign to the docks and the arrow is knocked loose is a really funny moment. I mean partly because Wayne Knight makes it funny but he wasn't really known as a comic actor at the time

The "wheeeee" noise when he slips at the top of the waterfall is a bit much though

SweetPomPom

It's almost like Jurassic Park had a competent writer and director.

beanheadmcginty

I had no idea that all dinosaurs could be delayed from attacking you by holding out the palm of your hand in front of you. Is this why humans evolved to have hands I wonder?
This film was execrable and the only good thing about it was how ridiculously beautiful the pilot lady was.