The first Jurassic Park movie is essentially perfect. There is magic in each story beat and each camera move, all coming together for a cathartic roar of the T-rex at the end of the film.  No series is more notorious for losing its magic than Jurassic Park

All the magic of Jurassic Park was lost by the start of the second film, which might have one of the best jump cuts in all of cinema. Steven Spielberg said everything that he wanted to say in the first film about man versus nature and the human desire to control the uncontrollable and came across as cynical and disinterested while repeating the same message in the sequel. 

Yet, we kept coming back to the Jurassic Park franchise. The films focused more on big dinosaurs cornering our heroes rather than the importance of characters and themes, and it kept the franchise alive until Jurassic World Dominion.  

Although many consider Jurassic Park III to be the worst movie in the franchise, Jurassic World Dominion easily claimed that title for its lack of continuity in both the lore and the editing. Films&Stuff breaks down how this installment failed on the basic filmmaking and editing elements while undermining the fundamental themes at the center of every Jurassic Park movie.

Check out the video below, then let’s get into where it all went wrong for the lackluster finale of this franchise.  

Where Did It Go Wrong?

Jurassic World Dominion showcases some of the most visually stunning and diverse dinosaurs we have seen in the franchise.

The problem is that the skills of these dinosaurs do not matter. Jurassic Park films have always leaned more into the slasher genre than the action-adventure genre, which helps create a looming threat that could invade the frame and kill any character at any time. Jurassic World Dominion refuses to kill off any of its characters and establishes a setup that has no satisfying payoff. 

The potential for exciting action scenes to build characters or play with the empathy of the audience is thrown to the side in favor of safe moves that keep everyone in the cast alive. By the mid-point of the film, the audience knows that no one is in any real danger and the tension the film desperately wants to build is nonexistent. 

'Jurassic World Dominion' reminds us to remember filmmaking basics.'Jurassic World Dominion'Credit: Universal Pictures

Choosing Humans Over Dinosaurs 

Jurassic World Dominion uses the dinosaurs as filler throughout the movie. While I am okay with some dino-filler, I feel that this film cheated the audience’s already lowered expectations by ignoring the themes of the other films.

The main idea at the center of the Jurassic Park franchise is that humans cannot control nature. Even when we genetically modify dinosaurs and play gods, nature finds a way to remind us that we are not at the top of the food chain. 

Jurassic World Dominion doesn’t have time to bother with this theme. Instead, the theme is thrown out the window in favor of having a Bond-like villain that can control raptors with a laser-guided target. Raptors have always been expressive, cunning, and cruel creatures in the franchise. When humans have control over these creatures, their nature, as well as the themes of the previous movies, are obsolete. 

Jurassic World Dominion single-handedly undermines everything the franchise has created over the last 20 years, and that isn’t even the most absurd part of this film. 

'Jurassic World Dominion' reminds us to remember filmmaking basics.'Jurassic World Dominion'Credit: Universal Pictures

Who Needs Continuity Editing?  

The most basic editing skill any filmmaker or editor learns is continuity editing. Continuity editing is the foundation of filmmaking and cohesive storytelling. 

Jurassic World Dominion does not concern itself with continuity. Instead, the film is edited to manipulate tension.

In a chase between a raptor and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), multiple edits transport Claire to different locations through jump cuts. Rather than have a shot to establish how Claire got from point A to point B, the movie doesn’t take the time to establish continuity. 

Not only does this fail at basic filmmaking principles, but it takes power away from the characters by giving them an unexplained escape from any conflict. It’s a constant issue throughout the movie and fails to allow the characters to succeed through their intelligence and empathy. There is no payoff and no effort behind the story. 

The film doesn’t seem to care about the dinosaurs, the characters, the audience, or the legacy of a franchise, so who does the film care about? 

Jurassic World Dominion is tensionless filmmaking at its finest. If there is anything we can take away from this movie, it's that time and attention need to be given to each character and set piece to make moments in a story matter. Why do these set pieces need to exist, and why do the characters have to face off with them? 

Giving attention and care to these confrontational moments will naturally have tension. Hopefully, the story is strong enough to encourage the rest of the production and post-production team to craft a film worthy of the silver screen. 

Let us know your thoughts on Jurassic World Dominion in the comments!

Source: Films&Stuff