Exclusive: Jurassic World Dominion Creature Effects Supervisor John Nolan responds to why he doesn’t care about the film’s poor reception.
Jurassic World Dominion Creature Effects Supervisor John Nolan comments on why the film’s negative reviews don’t bother him. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Dominion wraps up the Jurassic World trilogy while folding the Jurassic Park trilogy’s legacy cast Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum into the mix. Four years after the events of Fallen Kingdom and now in a world where dinosaurs and humans precariously co-exist, the film follows doctors Grant, Sattler and Malcolm as they attempt to solve a crisis involving genetically modified locusts that are wiping out crops. They eventually team up with Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) on a mission to rescue a velociraptor named Beta and Owen and Claire’s young charge, Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon).
Fans of the series and audiences craving a blockbuster experience flocked to the theaters for Jurassic World Dominion’s June 10, 2022 premiere. The film raked in $143 million on its opening weekend and has grossed over $979 million worldwide to date. Its colossal success has not however translated to positive reviews. The film’s stars Dallas Howard and DeWanda Wise have previously spoken about Dominion’s franchise worst reviews. Sitting with a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics faulted the film for its unexciting action, underwhelming writing, excessive runtime, and a missed opportunity with a plot that focuses on locusts over what makes the series truly sing: dinosaurs.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Nolan hares his thoughts on the negative criticisms that have been lobbed at it. A film of this size is no small undertaking, and even with all the naysayers, Nolan’s focus is primarily on the hard work that went into making not just this film, but every Jurassic movie, a reality. He also hints at how fruitless it is to compare the rest of the series to a stone-cold classic like the Steven Spielberg original. Check out his quote below:
“I don’t mind really, to be honest. I only care about what my daughter thinks and kids. I don’t think these films are for certain, I’m not even gonna name certain critics, but what a tough job to do, anyway. You could always look and say, “Well, Steven Spielberg and Jurassic Park is just the one of the best films ever written, one of the best films ever made, best films ever shot, they used the best animatronics team ever, ILM,” you could just go on forever criticizing the next five films that come out. But what an achievement from The Lost World all the way through to Dominion. That amazing work from Stan Winston, and from our side, and Neal Scanlan, and then you’ve got ILM. And just the development of characters, as well, you see the velociraptors changing over time, you have Velociraptors with red eyes in one film, you have Velociraptors with blue eyes in another film, and the Velociraptors in the first film are evil and angry, and they’re horrible characters, then suddenly, you’ve got a fan-favorite, lovable character like Blue. So you’re always going to get people that are going to critique that and have a problem with that, so I don’t care. Jurassic is about man versus dinosaur, of course, then it’s about loving dinosaurs and just having that many dinosaurs on screen in Dominion doesn’t disappoint. It’s like an explosion, you look at the original film, you don’t see a dinosaur for an hour, this film, you start off with the Mosasaurus eating a boat within the first 10 seconds. So, you know, you’re gonna have people that like that, and you’re gonna have people that don’t like that, I don’t care. What an honor to have done it and it was just an amazing experience, and every kid I’ve spoken to just goes nuts for it, and that’s all I care about.”
While many critics took issue with the film, one area they didn’t was with the one Nolan himself oversees. Jurassic World Dominion used animatronics over CGI for a surprising number of shots, as much if not more than the other two Jurassic World films combined. The two were often blended seamlessly together in post-production, with Trevorrow favoring the use of practically made dinosaur heads in scenes in order to give the actors something more authentic to react against realistically. For his part, Nolan seems humbled and proud to have worked on the project, no matter what the critics say, and he should be.
Nolan would be happy to know that most people who took issue with the film wanted more of what he had to offer– people fighting dinosaurs– and less of the corporate espionage elements that take up the film’s runtime. He is right about one thing; a massive number of artists and professionals of various departments worked on Dominion, so when it bombs with critics for not succeeding in certain ways, it feels like the critics are discounting all the rest of the work that’s been put into it. While Trevorrow found the editing process traumatic, an extended cut of the film that fixes some of the film’s faults by adding more dinosaurs and more character depth is premiering on Peacock next month. Perhaps Trevorrow and Nolan would both be happy to know that according to early reports, the Jurassic World Dominion extended cut has fared far better with viewers.