5 monster movies to watch at home instead of seeing Jurassic World: Dominion

There’s no need to subject yourself to a movie that will make you mad to get your big-monster fix.

We’ve hit peak blockbuster season, and while Top Gun: Maverick continues its dominating run, the audience’s love affair with big spectacle cinema may be short-lived. Reviews of Jurassic World: Dominion, the conclusion of the new Jurassic Park trilogy, have been universally terrible. Is anyone really surprised? The franchise was DOA, a vapid reboot of a franchise that was already 1 for 3 (though, in retrospect, Jurassic Park 2 was likely better than most of us gave it credit for). 

While I believe in the sacred experience of watching movies on the big screen, you’d do much better heading to one of the smaller film theatres this week to check out a more intimate and transgressive film. You’ll have a much better time! And even if you hate whatever you see, it’ll likely add more value to your life than anything Colin Trevorrow has brought to the table.

That being said, some of you can’t resist the lure of big monsters go smash. Dinosaurs are cool. It’s one of the reasons why we continue to have hope in the Jurassic Park franchise. But there’s no need to subject yourself to something that will make you mad to get your big-monster fix. 

While the original Jurassic Park isn’t currently streaming, I’ve hand-picked five big monster movies that might tide you over until next week when Lightyear comes out. You’ll have forgotten all about Owen Grady and his velociraptor-herding techniques. 

Godzilla (Ishirō Honda, 1954)

Godzilla monster movies Jurassic World: Dominion

Godzilla, the radioactive creature that started it all! While the pacing may be plodding for some modern audiences, there’s a reason why Godzilla has a continued to hold an enduring appeal. The film mixes then-state-of-the-art monster effects (retro now) with a bureaucratic thriller that captures the anxiety and uncertainty of dealing with an unprecedented, catastrophic event. It’s also a not-so-subtle allegory about the aftermath of the atomic bombs dropped by the USA on Japan during WW2. The movie is far darker and more political than you’ve been led to believe, while its film-noir-inspired imagery is far more beautiful and mysterious than you might expect from an early monster flic.

Streaming on the Criterion Channel and Crave.

Pacific Rim (Guillermo Del Toro, 2013)

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a decade since Pacific Rim was released and introduced the world to the giant monster movie we needed. Del Toro’s take on the Kaiju monsters of Godzilla was infused with his gothic and comic touch in a steam-punk future world where giant monsters fight giant robots – the future of humanity hanging in the balance. While many Hollywood filmmakers have tried and failed to recapture the big monster madness made famous by Japanese filmmakers, Del Toro’s innate affection for the monstrous gave him a leg up. He captures not only the big dumb elements of the Kaiju films but also inflects them with his own strange horror obsessions. While even in 2013, Del Toro was an outlier for bringing an original screenplay to blockbusters, it still harkens to a time when filmmakers were not only willing to take risks but given permission to do so. 

Streaming on Netflix and Tubi

The Host (Bong Joon-ho, 2006)

The Host monster movies Jurassic World: Dominion
The Host

Over a decade before he directed the critically acclaimed best picture winner, Bong Joon-ho was down and dirty with some electric genre cinema. If you loved Parasite and haven’t checked out Bong Joon-ho’s The Host, you’ve been missing out. After dumpling gallons of toxic waste into a river, a strange squid-like creature emerges from the depths to cause havoc. As the monster snatches up a little girl, her family undertakes a mission to save her. Much like his more famous films, The Host‘s greatest assets are its sense of humour and morally ambiguous characterizations. The humans in this film are neither smart nor admirable, lending the film a misanthropic darkness. The film features incredible and unconventional creature effects and disturbingly raw scenes of carnage and destruction. 

Streaming on Tubi

Colossal (Nacho Vigalondo, 2016)


You might be interested in checking out Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal for something a little more intimate. While inarguably a little on the nose, the movie is an ambitious rethinking of the big monster genre as it reimagines a personal and individual motive for its monstrous allegory. Anne Hathaway stars as Gloria, a young woman falling apart at the seams, whose downfall seems directly linked to a giant monster terrorizing people halfway across the earth. Jason Sudeikis costars in an equally challenging role that adds a level of unexpected menace and stress to Gloria’s life. Not your typical monster flick, but a perfect fit if you’re feeling messy and need a little push to get better, without the more obvious and inauthentic “hustle culture” tropes.

Streaming on Tubi and CBC Gem 

Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988)

Akira monster movies Jurassic World: Dominion

Many potential animated films could have made this list (The Good Dinosaur, Dinosaur and Fantasia are all playing on Disney Plus). Still, if you’re in the mood for a Jurassic World-esque movie, things will have to get a little creepy and even a little weird. Akira is one of the most iconic anime films of all time, and its reputation is well-earned. Set in the future in Neo-Tokyo, Akira focuses on a secret military project that turns a biker gang member into a psychic psychopath who can only be stopped by a teenager and his biker friends. Featuring incredible animation, the movie builds on Japan’s previous nuclear fears. Bursting with energy and one of the greatest movie scores of all time, Akira has earned its reputation as one of the best and most disturbing animated films. 

Streaming on Tubi

Jurassic World: Dominion, directed by Colin Trevorrow

Jurassic World: Dominion opens in Montreal theatres on Friday, June 10.

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