Entertainment

Thankfully 'Jurassic World Dominion' Is the Last One

Please let this franchise go extinct.

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

To find Jurassic World: Dominion session times near you, head to hoyts.com.au.

Towards the climax of Jurassic World Dominion, touted as the epic conclusion of the Jurassic World trilogy that started with Colin Trevorrow’s inconceivably successful 2015 film, a giant Tyrannosaurus rex (because there’s always a Tyrannosaurus rex) steps behind a sculptural fountain in the middle of a courtyard, its head for a moment appearing in profile within the fountain’s circular ring. Even if you’ve never seen a Jurassic movie before in your life, you’ll recognize the iconic logo that has been the franchise’s calling-card since the 1993 original. This is the kind of movie that Jurassic World Dominion is: a corporate product that exists just to make more of itself, constantly reminding you at every turn of the beloved origins this series has warped beyond all recognition.

The world has been overtaken by dinosaurs. They gallop in herds across the fields of middle America, they trudge alongside elephants across the floodplains of Africa, they nest at the tops of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. With these novel interlopers comes human greed: Dinosaurs are big business, bred like cattle, haggled over in underground bazaars, bought in bulk by pharmaceutical companies hoping to find ancient cures for modern diseases. Former raptor trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and former dinosaur park pencil-pusher Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) live in a chemistry vacuum-excuse me, a cabin, protecting the human clone Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) whom we met in the previous movie from, I guess, bad guys.

Across the country, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) discovers fields supposedly ravaged by prehistoric locusts, and enlists Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who is doggedly pursuing paleontology even though dinosaurs live and breathe in the world all around him, in taking a trip to a new high-tech bio-synthetics company (never a good sign) in order to prove that they’ve been breeding superbugs to engineer a monopoly on the world’s grain supply. At the same time, the Velociraptor Blue‘s new baby and Maisie are both kidnapped by mercenaries and spirited away to the company’s remote facility managed by a bland Elon Musk type (the building even has a Hyperloop) where they keep a menagerie of dinosaurs in a man-made preserve. After a slew of ultraloud action setpieces, Owen, Claire, Maisie, Ellie, Alan, and celebrity chaos theorist Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) converge on the facility and havoc is wreaked.

Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

I don’t know if Dominion is the worst of the new trilogy of films because I haven’t revisited either of the previous two after the first time I saw them. Once was more than enough, and the same goes for this instalment, which is one of the most unpleasant experiences I have had in a movie theatre in a very long time. You can feel the life drain out of this movie with every uncomfortable line delivery from actors pacing around cramped sets and every incoherent action scene that goes on for 10 minutes too long and exists only to pad the movie’s two-hour-plus length.

There is no real reason for any of it. The trio from Steven Spielberg’s classic are brought back seemingly because it takes actual physical strain to care about Pratt’s and Howard’s characters, whose names I have already forgotten. Many have lauded this film for its use of practical puppets in the place of some CGI dinosaurs. Spielberg built a mechanical Tyrannosaur model because it was the best way at the time (and remains so) to get across the sheer scale of what was on the screen. The only reason puppeteered dinosaurs exist in this movie is because… they did it in the original. Everything is just a callback to something better, while trying hard to ignore or overshadow the things that are worse. Most of the actually better things (for one, DeWanda Wise’s gruff airplane pilot who looks like she stepped out of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow) aren’t given enough time to make more than a broad impression.

While the first Jurassic World was merely cynical and cruel, the treatment of dinosaurs in this film is downright hateful. The animals are beaten with clubs, run over with cars, electrocuted with cattle prods, shot at with guns, burned, kicked, punched, and, in one case, thrown out of an airplane. It’s implied at one point that all the dinosaurs kept in the preserve are fitted with electronic chips that herd them around the enclosure with electric zaps. Jurassic Park gave its characters time to marvel at herds of Gallimimus, to reach out their hands and pet the snouts of hungry Brachiosaurus. Dominion‘s Therizinosaurus, a herbivorous theropod with comically long claws, abruptly and violently kills a deer grazing peacefully on a bush. If I had watched this movie at the age at which I saw the original, I would have left the theatre in tears. I can’t imagine the kind of person who would derive pleasure from any of it, and I would not want to meet them.

Because my Critic Brain does what it does, I can’t help but think of all of this as a bigger metaphor for this studio’s treatment of what has become a franchise, which exists seemingly because of the name recognition of its predecessor. Universal’s plan for its Jurassic films is akin to locking something beautiful and tender inside a cage and twisting and squeezing the life out of it, one blockbuster film at a time. Will movies like this finally, finally go extinct? We can only hope that life finds a way.

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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