A Double Feature Movie Review: Black Phone and Jurassic World Dominion

We went to the drive-in theater for the first time in over a decade recently for a double-feature of Black Phone and Jurassic Park Dominion, so I thought I would do a quick review of each for your edutainment!

Black Phone (2021)

Ethan Hawke does a great job playing a part-time magician who makes kids disappear by murdering them in his basement. It’s good. 7.5 out of 10. Go watch it. Also: be aware it has an incredibly realistic scene of a child being beaten near the beginning.

Jurassic World Dominion (2022)

Here we go. Take a deep breath, Prowell. Okay.

Not even Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum reprising their iconic roles could save this prehistoric dumpster fire. The fact that this movie has grossed 828 million dollars by stomping on the Jurassic Park franchise’s once great corpse so deep into the ground it would take a paleontologist to find its fossilized remains again.

To paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm: This is one big pile of shit.

First, it clumsily references or outright copies every cool thing the writers liked. Indiana Jones? Check. James Bond? Check. Star Wars? Check. Wolverine? Check. Mission Impossible? Check. Apple’s Tim Cook? Check. The Bible? Check. The first Jurassic Park movie? Holy shit, it’s everywhere, and it’s Ham-fisted like a fist literally made of ham. It’s not even its own movie. It’s a horrifying Frankenstein’s Monster of other, better films.

Then, everything that made Jurassic World terrible in the first place is back in droves. Do you like terrible non-jokes that are just lazily written quips that sometimes don’t even make sense? This movie is chock-full of ‘em. Do you like boring car chases and people fighting and shooting at each other? Dominion has plenty of that, too.

Do you suffer from brain damage and believe Chris Pratt is a good dramatic actor? He’s in the movie, too. He rides a motorcycle and holds his magic, dino-pacifying palms up the entire time. He’s just not good at serious roles. He’s not a Tom Hanks or a Jim Carrey. He can’t do comedy and drama. Just comedy.

His counterpart, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is even worse. I don’t mean the acting, though, I mean the character. Claire is only allowed to do three things in the whole movie: get told what to do, scream, and fall down. That’s it. This character wasn’t especially compelling in any of the films, but at least in the first one she did more than flop around like a limp noodle looking sad all the time.

The rest of the cast did fine, I guess. They just kinda phoned it in. None of the personality or charm of the characters comes through at all. The writers also thought it’d be the best idea in the world to have characters in their 70s talking in Gen Z slang. You know, like real 70-somethings do in real life. It’s pathetic.

Oh! I almost forgot the main draw of this tar pit of a movie. Do you like dinosaurs? Too fucking bad! They are barely present. It’s all locust swarms and people shooting at each other like assholes. We get one or two attempts at dinosaur scenes, and they somehow managed to make them boring and lame. The final fight? The Gigosaurus bites the Allosaurus or T-Rex or whatever (it wasn’t very clear) on the nose and the little dinosaur runs away. Then another one with Wolverine claws shows up and they tag-team the Gigantomegalosaurusodon in 10 seconds. That’s it. And souped-up Raptors attacking people by laser-pointer is the stupidest thing I can imagine. Now they’re just cats.

The real sin here is that they named the evil corporation Biosyn. I wish I were joking. This ranks up there with Unobtainium and Transformium in lazy naming. Their goals were unclear, but they were destroying crops and stealing dinosaurs or some shit.

The original Jurassic Park was a wonderful horror movie with action, charm, humor, and a great cast of characters who each had an engaging character arc. Jurassic World Dominion is just a horror.

It’s also two and a half hours long. Fuck the writers and director who ruined what could have been a classic, timeless franchise just to make a couple billion dollars. You are everything that is wrong with this world.

-W. L. Prowell (2022/7/4)