Jurassic World: Dominion Review

Jurassic World: Dominion movie posterSynopsis
Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, dinosaurs now live–and hunt–alongside humans all over the world. This fragile balance will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures in a new Era. (via IMDb)

Review
The Jurassic Park trilogy does not end on the best note with Jurassic Park III. I was hoping that Jurassic World: Dominion, the third and final entry into the Jurassic World trilogy, would cap the Jurassic World trilogy better than Jurassic Park III capped the Jurassic Park trilogy. Unfortunately, that was a bit too much to hope for.

To start with a positive, it was great to see the cast from both the Jurassic Park films and Jurassic World films together. Their pairings and interactions were a treat for any fan of the franchise. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) returning was an unexpected surprise. He had a very minor role in Jurassic Park and it was intriguing to see what he has been up to since his lunch with Dennis Nedry. I’ve talked about β€œtheme” a lot in my Jurassic World reviews and this review will be no different! I really liked that this idea of genetic manipulation and power that Ian Malcolm has mentioned many times has been applied to something other than dinosaurs yet continues to show the hubris of the characters who think they can control it.

Besides that, Jurassic World: Dominion falls into B-movie territory, the same as Jurassic Park III. The villain is campy and the billionaire-megalomaniac-who-doesn’t-care-about-the destruction-he-causes has been done a lot recently, and been done better elsewhere. Characters are introduced then are discarded without much explanation or exploration. At times there seems to be a lack of focus, which even Jurassic Park III had. At almost two and a half hours long, it’s not like there wasn’t time to get that focus. All-in-all, it told a story that had the right idea but wasn’t executed to its fullest.

On a plot side-note, how did the dinosaurs become so wide-spread so quickly? This film takes place only a few years after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and,Β spoiler alert, only a handful of dinosaurs were released into the wild at the end of that film. It’s implied that several companies were cloning their own dinosaurs but that still wouldn’t account for the amount and their coverage across the Earth in that short amount of time. As I said in my last review, I try not to get caught up in plot holes but this one kept bugging me and took me out of the film at times.

I thought Jurassic World: Dominion was OK 😐 I liked seeing all my favorite characters from the franchise together and felt the theme was the culmination of the themes of the previous films. There were some exciting sequences but they felt included because they look cool and this also lead to some of the antagonistic characters not getting much development. It’s a shame the franchise didn’t end on a note more deserving of a the Jurassic franchise’s popularity.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Colin Trevorrow – Director / Story / Screenplay
Derek Connolly – Story
Emily Carmichael – Screenplay
Michael Giacchino – Composer

Chris Pratt – Owen Grady
Bryce Dallas Howard – Claire Dearing
Isabella Sermon – Maisie Lockwood / Young Charlotte Lockwood
Laura Dern – Ellie Sattler
Sam Neill – Alan Grant
Jeff Goldblum – Ian Malcolm
DeWanda Wise – Kayla Watts
Mamoudou Athie – Ramsay Cole
Justice Smith – Franklin Webb
Daniella Pineda – Dr. Zia Rodriguez
Campbell Scott – Lewis Dodgson
BD Wong – Dr. Wu
Omar Sy – Barry Sembene
Scott Haze Rainn Delacourt
Dichen Lachman – Soyona Santos

The Batman Review

The Batman movie posterSynopsis
When the Riddler (Paul Dano), a sadistic serial killer, begins murdering key political figures in Gotham, Batman (Robert Pattinson) is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption. (via IMDB)

Review
After Warner Bros. failed attempt at creating a cinematic universe (DCEU) to rival Marvel’s, I’m excited for the approach they’ve taken with their recent movies where some still exist in that universe while others exist on their own. It proves that not every movie needs to be connected to another. Matt Reeves’ The Batman is a perfect example of how this approach gives filmmakers greater freedoms to display their takes on the characters. While I’m sure this movie could have been shoehorned into the DCEU, because it wasn’t, Reeves was able to tell his own tale about the dark knight, or rather, a tale about Gotham itself.

Batman is often referred to as β€œthe world’s greatest detective.” Outside of The Dark Knight, the majority of Batman movies have failed to properly show this side of the character. The Batman focuses primarily on this facet of the character. The bulk of the film follows Bruce as he solves The Riddler’s puzzles and simultaneous tries to unravel the mysteries of Gotham’s criminal underworld. It’s refreshing to see this side of the character so predominately showcased.

Also unlike previous cinematic incarnations of Bruce Wayne, Reeves’ Bruce is much the opposite of previous versions. Whereas most Batman films portray Bruce as a charismatic playboy, Reeves’ Bruce is more of a recluse, rarely making public appearances. Instead, Bruce Wayne is the mask. To go with that, Batman is in the movie more than Bruce. Again, this is an invigorating approach to the character that I am intrigued to see explored in future films.

The cinematography in The Batman is some of the best in the genre. Every shot was breathtaking, whether it was in close quarters or out in the open. One prime example of this is a chase scene that happens about halfway through the film. The camera switches between an overall view of the chase and close ups of either the Penguin or the Batman. It’s hard for me to put into words how exciting this toggling back-and-forth and the camera angles made the scene. It has quickly become one of my favorite chase scenes in cinema.

For all of the praise I have given the film so far, there is one glaring drawback to it and that’s the length. I have a hard time justifying when a movie’s run time is nearly three hours long and that holds true for The Batman. There are two factors I see that have led to such a long run time: 1) every scene, and I mean every scene, could lose several seconds, and 2) everything deliberately moves slow. For the first observation, at almost three hours long, there are many scenes in the film and each and every one of them feels like they last just a moment or two too long. If every scene was edited down just a few second each, the film could easily lose several minutes of run time. As for the second remark, I’m not referring to the script but more the characters and camera; each character doesn’t move with any urgency. This is particularly true in the first two acts. To go along with this, the camera also moves slowly as it moves towards or way characters, or lingers on them to align with my first point. All in all, the film could shave off several minutes if the characters moved quicker and if scenes didn’t idle longer than necessary.

I thought The Batman was GOOD πŸ™‚ This film embraces Batman’s β€œworld’s greatest detective” moniker unlike any version before. The great cast and beautiful cinematography also help it to stand out from previous Batman movies. However, its biggest flaw is that it is longer than necessary and moves slow (physically moves slow, not the script is slow). I enjoy director Matt Reeves’ take on the character and I cannot wait to see where he takes Bruce Wayne and Gotham City in the future.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Matt Reeves – Director / Writer
Peter Craig – Writer
Michael Giacchino – Composer

Robert Pattinson – Bruce Wayne / The Batman
Zoe Kravitz – Selina Kyle / Catwoman
Jeffrey Wright – Lt. James Gordon
Colin Farrell – Oz / The Penguin
Paul Dano – The Riddler
John Turturro – Carmine Falcone
Andy Serkis – Alfred
Peter Sarsgaard – District Attorney Gil Colson
Jayme Lawson – Bella Real
Alex Ferns – Commissioner Pete Savage
Rupert Penry-Jones – Mayor Don Mitchell, Jr.
Hana Hrzic – Annika
Oscar Novak – Young Bruce Wayne
Luke Roberts – Thomas Wayne
Stella Stocker – Martha Wayne