Tribute, Theft, and a Tyrannosaurus Mistake
As your average “I read the books” screeching preteen or anyone who has seen the newest installments of Star Wars will tell you, the original was better. It’s impossible to reach the expectations of die-hard fans (or anti-fans) looking to scathe an already trite and highly merchantable series. Dominion seeks to cover up its lack of ingenuity with familiar faces and an unnecessarily complicated plotline.
The most interesting and fresh characters – female Han-Solo-esque Kayla Watts and the charismatic, situationally aware Ramsey Cole – get the least amount of development. Somehow, Dominion manages to backtrack so severely on the original trio of Park and World trilogies respectively that it forgets what made them likable in the first place, so the script poorly attempts to remind us via revisiting the past films (just in case you made it this far without seeing them) through dull dialogue. Not that refreshers are inherently bad, but Dominion fails to discern when recalls are necessary and how to execute them properly.
As someone who has seen the past films several times over, I can tell you every scene in Dominion is a call back to something from a past film. Rather than paying homage to its predecessors, Dominion treads along the slippery slope of unenthusiastic tribute and theft of its own franchise.
True to a Jurassic Park film, there are not one but two challengers for the Queen of Dinosaurs to face. Despite this twist, the final fight with the T-Rex fails to impress due to what the majority of Dominion suffers from: slow pacing and an overly ambitious main cast list. There are too many faces, including the dinosaurs, and not enough development. Despite this constant moving of scenery and faces, the film overwhelms itself and produces not only an inauthentic world but also a complete lack of urgency. Characters nonchalantly walk when they should desperately crawl or run for their lives. Notably, the death toll in this creature feature is shockingly low, which goes to show how Dominion doesn’t know how to execute proper story beats or its own darlings.
Franchise fans may get a laugh picking out stolen scenes but won’t be missing anything if you skip this one. If you’re looking for impressive animatronics, stick to the originals. Though the screenplay and directing leaves much to be desired, the set design, particularly the lighting, is worth checking out the stills at the very least.
For parents looking for an easy two and a half hour break from the kiddos, dinosaurs never fail to disappoint unless you’re seeing Dominion. Illustrated through scenes such as dino meat being sold on the black market, Dominion cheapens the effect dinosaurs have on the world to such a degree “giant bugs” takes center stage even over two new competitors for the classic T-Rex’s crown and the beloved raptor Blue. If you’re looking for a cinematic babysitter, I’d suggest trying out the new Minions movie.