Opinion

Why is Jurassic World's big finale about bugs?

One of the summer's most-anticipated blockbusters took the 'buzz' a little too literally

Did Universal find a way to give the Jurassic Park series a satisfying conclusion? It may depend on what you're looking for, but hopefully, it's ... giant locusts?

Jurassic World Dominion caps the trilogy that began with 2015's Jurassic World, though it's also advertised as the conclusion of the entire Jurassic Park series. By the end of the last movie, Isla Nublar was decimated by a volcano and dinosaurs were moved onto the mainland before being set loose by a young girl who's actually a clone of a wealthy philanthropist's dead daughter. Yeah, long story. 

Hold onto your bugs

There are two key hooks with Dominion, one being that it's the series' first film to fully leave the island and center around dinosaurs on the mainland. But after this juicy setup from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, a common complaint among critics is that Dominion makes the bizarre decision to have its main conflict revolve not so much around dinosaurs but instead around … insects.

Yes, the plot involves giant, genetically modified locusts, which pose a threat to the planet's food supply. 

The film "inexplicably puts bugs at the forefront," making the dinosaurs "simply peripheral," writes Bloody Disgusting's Meagan Navarro, and Insider's Kirsten Acuna questioned the odd choice for the overarching plot in the finale of a dinosaur franchise to have "nothing to do with dinosaurs whatsoever." 

While there are "dinosaurs in basically every scene," notes io9's Germain Lussier, they "act as a mere distraction from the plot." So despite its predecessor's great sequel hook, Variety's Peter Debruge says Dominion doesn't really engage with the idea of dinosaurs coexisting with humans "in a meaningful way" like you'd want, and CNET's Richard Trenholm writes that the film "wimps out" on the premise that was teased. Besides, The Atlantic's David Sims notes locusts "make for a far less effective adversary than a good old-fashioned tyrannosaur." 

Plus, fans who were excited to finally get off the island in Dominion may be disappointed to learn the movie takes the characters to a remote dinosaur sanctuary — which, according to critics, plays out similarly to if they were just back on the island again. 

Well, there it is

Dominion's other big hook is that it's the first film since 1993's Jurassic Park to reunite Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), mixing them with the new characters like Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Thankfully, the original trio's reunion is as "delightful as one would expect" and doesn't feel "shoehorned," IGN's Amelia Emberwing says, and they "deliver in every way that fans might hope, effortlessly stepping back into their iconic roles," ScreenRant's Ben Kendrick writes

At the same time, The Associated Press' Lindsey Bahr argues bringing back the original characters reminds us "how little we have come to care about the new cast," and ScreenCrush's Matt Singer says their "innate likability" doesn't "change the fact that there isn't a single valid reason for any of them" to be here. The old and new heroes are involved in two separate storylines that eventually converge, but getting everyone together requires some plot "absurdity," CNN's Brian Lowry says — and it takes a while for them to meet. 

Despite its bug fixation, Dominion boasts "compelling and convincing" dinosaur action sequences throughout, says Forbes' Scott Mendelson. One highlight is a "truly spectacular" raptor chase in Malta, Deadline's Pete Hammond writes, and Nerdist's Rosie Knight thinks you'll have fun with this "rip-roaring dinosaur action movie" if your favorite parts of the franchise are the "gruesome kills." Other critics were less impressed with the action, though, with Mashable's Kristy Puchko saying much of it is a "murky mess" and the Los Angeles Times' Justin Chang writing it's "astonishing how little tension or even momentary menace" director Colin Trevorrow creates. 

The Jurassic franchise's Rise of Skywalker?

For some critics, Dominion felt like this series' Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: an underwhelming final chapter with plenty of fan service and nostalgia but that seems to ignore what the last film set up. It's a "comfort-food finale that plays a few fresh numbers," writes USA Today's Brian Truitt, "but mainly sticks to the hits," and by the end, it essentially turns into a "beat-for-beat re-creation of previous films' set pieces," according to The Washington Post's Thomas Floyd

Some reviews still deemed Dominion the best of the Jurassic World trilogy or even the second-best of the series after the original, while others slammed it as the franchise's new low point — and on Rotten Tomatoes, it has the worst score of any Jurassic flick yet. Clearly, ending a long-running series in a satisfying way is no walk in the park. 

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