BRIAN VINER reviews Jurassic World Dominion

BRIAN VINER reviews Jurassic World Dominion

Despite the roar talent, this is far from a Jurassic classic: BRIAN VINER reviews Jurassic World Dominion

Jurassic World Dominion (12A, 146 mins)


Verdict: Last bite at the box office

Next June it will be three decades since the release of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. 

I know that because it was the very week I became a parent, little realising that I was in for years of blood-curdling roars and terrible, wanton destruction. The dinosaurs have been a handful, too.

We were also blissfully unaware back in 1993 that the mighty franchise, as it was to become, had barely shown its teeth. 

Chris Pratt flees from an Atrociraptor. The story follows on from that of the last film, 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but this time, as with all the best valedictory gigs, the whole band reassembles

But with Jurassic World Dominion, the last film of the second Jurassic trilogy and sixth overall, it appears to have bellowed its last. We can only hope.

Don’t get me wrong. I like a dinosaur flick as much as the next cinemagoer, but there comes a point — and in the back row of Cineworld Leicester Square on Tuesday evening I reached it with half the film still to run — when scaly monster fatigue sets in. 

I can’t really narrow it down to a single moment or a particular creature. Let’s just blame it on the Beginningtoborus.

The story follows on from that of the last film, 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but this time, as with all the best valedictory gigs, the whole band reassembles. 

That means Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum from the first trilogy joining latter-day heroes Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Several plots are fused, too, making it way more complicated than it needs to be.

Meanwhile, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Dern) is convinced that a devastating plague of giant locusts has been genetically engineered by Biosyn, a shadowy biotech company run by dastardly scientist Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) and based for no apparent reason in the Dolomites

Dinosaurs, no longer confined to an island, are now co-existing with humanity, mostly benignly but with occasional spots of bother…toothy brutes from the late Cretaceous period munching whole oil rigs, that kind of carry-on.

Meanwhile, paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Dern) is convinced that a devastating plague of giant locusts has been genetically engineered by Biosyn, a shadowy biotech company run by dastardly scientist Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) and based for no apparent reason in the Dolomites. There, he has slyly programmed the locusts to devour all the world’s crops except those grown from Biosyn seed.

Ellie seeks out her old mucker, paleontologist Alan Grant (Neill), to help her prove her case. Still fancying her rotten after all these years, he agrees. But there is a parallel narrative going on, involving 14-year-old Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon,) who, you might recall from last time, was cloned using her brilliant mother’s DNA.

Classic movie on TV 

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) 

Meryl Streep camps it up wonderfully as a bitchy fashion maven, with Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt (and Blunt’s future brother-in-law Stanley Tucci) on top form as her underlings. Great fun.

Sunday, 2.20pm, C4.


According to the artful Dodgson, this makes her ‘the most valuable intellectual property on the planet’. It is also why velociraptor trainer Owen Grady (Pratt) and his girlfriend, former Jurassic Park manager Claire Dearing (Howard), having adopted Maisie, are trying to keep her hidden deep in an American forest. But not for long. Soon she is kidnapped by rascally mercenaries and on her way to the Dolomites.

This development, almost exactly the opposite of what you might call a turn-up for the books, enables director Colin Trevorrow to embark on some cloning of his own. Even without a granite-jawed Liam Neeson in hot pursuit of the kidnappers, the Taken movies echo loudly. So, for that matter, do the Indiana Jones and James Bond films.

Biosyn’s mountain lair is interchangeable with any of Blofeld’s; and more shamelessly still, Jurassic World Dominion even gives us a sexy lesbian pilot (DeWanda Wise), just like Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964).

In fairness, Trevorrow has now been involved either as writer or director in all three of the Jurassic World films, so maybe even he is running out of T. Rex ideas.

Still, he is a skilled choreographer of action sequences and there are two or three terrific examples here, with the usual slick computer-generated effects, though it gets a little wearisome knowing (and I really don’t think this counts as a spoiler) that even the most ruthlessly carnivorous dinosaurs seem to prefer the taste of baddies.

It’s also good to see Goldblum back again as wise-cracking boffin Dr Ian Malcolm, who gets most of the movie’s best lines.

But on the whole this is not a Jurassic classic, just an overlong attempt to get one more bite at those box-office dollars, with a solemn evolutionary message at the end designed to kid us that we’ve seen something profound.

On my way to the cinema on Tuesday, a good pal of mine, also an Ian, happened to call me. He asked what I was going to see. I told him it was the sixth film in the Jurassic series. Quick as a flash, he said: ‘Is this the one where they die out?’ If only.

Meet the Liberace of smalltown stylists 

Swan Song


All My Friends Hate Me 




At the age of 77, with a tremendous body of work behind him, German actor Udo Kier may just have found the role of a lifetime in the melancholic, funny, thoroughly engaging Swan Song (12A, 105 mins).

He plays Pat Pitsenbarger, a retired gay hairdresser enduring an almost catatonic existence in an old folks’ home. Pat doesn’t have much to live for until an attorney arrives one day to explain that back in the city of Sandusky, Ohio, a former customer of his has died, leaving instructions that he and nobody else must prepare her for the ‘open-casket’ viewing.

She was Rita Parker Sloan, Sandusky’s grande dame, and she is played in a fleeting cameo by Linda Evans — a nice touch for those of us who remember Evans in Dynasty, the TV soap practically synonymous with big hair.

Ab Fab: Udo Kier as coiffeur Pat

At first Pat declines the task, even though it comes with a fee of $25,000 and he is flat broke. He tended to Rita’s coiffure every Friday afternoon for 33 years but they had a love-hate relationship, and he never forgave her for not attending the funeral of his lover, who died of Aids.

Moreover, he has become a shadow of his former self — but that’s not difficult, for in his heyday he was a flamboyant drag act known as ‘the Liberace of Sandusky’.

Still, when he changes his mind, the mission to prettify Rita for the grave pumps all the old mischief back into him as he wanders through town revisiting familiar haunts.

Kier gives a real bravura performance, a fabulous soundtrack comprises lots of gay icons (Judy Garland, Dusty Springfield, Shirley Bassey) and Todd Stephens’s film becomes even more compelling when you learn that the story is true.

All My Friends Hate Me (15, 93 mins), by contrast, is a slab of fiction with an eye-rollingly unoriginal premise — a bunch of old university pals gathering at a grand pile in the English countryside for a birthday celebration. The main character is even called Pete (Tom Stourton, also co-writer) as if deliberately evoking the smug 1992 comedy Peter’s Friends.

The country-house reunion movie, practically a genre in its own right, can be a springboard for comedy, satire, horror, romance or even a psychological thriller. Andrew Gaynord’s film ambitiously tries to combine all these strands, as Pete finds not just that he and his friends don’t seem very compatible any more, but that they actively appear to be tormenting him.

It’s nicely acted and bowls along, and we feel for Pete as his anxiety and sense of alienation mount, but I’d have bought into it more if a couple of the characters hadn’t been such roaring caricatures. However, it’s wittily and energetically done.

Listen (15, 73 mins) examines a different demographic altogether, as a Portuguese couple living close to the breadline in London have their three children taken away by social services and fight to get them back. 

The mother is played by Lucia Moniz, probably destined to be forever best known as Colin Firth’s love interest in Love Actually, though this might be a more representative study of the immigrant condition. It’s clunkily written in parts, but naturalistic, affecting and blessedly succinct. 

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