Ever since the original Jurassic movie in 1993, I’ve loved the films, even the reboot of Jurassic World. I was especially excited for Jurassic World Dominion with the inclusion of Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, who are all excellent performers, and I was hopeful that their return to the characters from Jurassic Park would tie together the film. After watching the film, I found the movie entertaining. The characters and acting were as enjoyable as ever, especially when the spotlight was on Sam Neill, Laura Dern, or Jeff Goldblum, and the dinosaurs were as exciting as ever. However, the film leaned very hard into the predictable model they’ve used since the first movie, there was too much repetition of critical elements, and there were too many contrivances to move the plot forward, and while there was an attempt at extending the ecological themes, there was too much left undeveloped.
Jurassic World Dominion the final in the “Jurassic World” trilogy, is directed by Colin Trevorrow who also co-wrote the film with Emily Carmichael, and concludes the storyline that started in the original “Jurassic Park” trilogy. In the movie, set four years after the events of the film, Fallen Kingdom and dinosaurs are now living alongside humans around the world leading to a fragile balance and an ecological system that could implode at any moment. While some, like Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) continue to protect the dinosaurs while raising Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), there are others who would poach and use dinosaurs for their own purposes. When huge locusts begin swarming and ruining farms, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) is brought in to figure out what has happened to throw things out of balance. She seeks out the assistance of her old friend, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) as well as Dr.Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), now working for Biosyn Genetics, a company that has created a dinosaur preserve while exploring the genetic makeup of the creatures for solutions to illnesses. Malcolm also has the aid of scientist Ramsay Cole (Mamoudou Athie) and CEO of Biosyn, Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott). In the meantime, Maisie is kidnapped along with Blue’s offspring and brought to the lead geneticist of the dinosaur cloning programs, Dr. Henry Wu (B.D.Wong). Owen and Claire seek assistance from friends Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) and Barry Sembène (Omar Sy) along with a new friend, pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise). In the end, will all of them survive to find a solution that will allow humans to coexist alongside history’s most fearsome creatures?
Let’s start with the aspects I enjoyed. While I may have had issues with some of the film, I was really entertained, especially when I let myself be immersed in the excitement and adventure. For starters, the dinosaurs are really well designed and still pull from me that same sense of wonder from the very first time I saw one on screen. The dinosaurs will thrill you in every scene, from the old and familiar to new designs, especially Blue the raptor or Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
When you let go and immerse yourself in the action, you will find the story exciting and entertaining. The story does a great job of blending the new and old, as it brings you the old characters you love and the new characters from the Jurassic World films. I found the characters engaging since I was familiar with all the disparate threads. The movie does not spend time delving far into the backgrounds of any one character, even the new characters introduced in this movie. However, the film does develop a wonderful redemption arch for one of the characters. It is well written and, for me, the best part of the film’s final resolution. In developing new and old themes, the story also brings up new ecology concepts, such as competing predators and how different species might impact the global economy and food resources.
The actors themselves bring their best performances. I did find myself loving Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. Not only does the film capitalize on the nostalgia, but there are several callbacks to the original Jurassic Park that was exciting for a fan. All three actors slip back into the skins of their characters without meeting a beat. The skill of these three talented performers is evident in how engaging all three are in the movie. The dynamic between Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard was also compelling, as was the chemistry between their characters and the actress Isabella Sermon who plays their adoptive daughter Maisie. Secondary performances by B.D.Wong as Henry, Campbell Scott as Lewis Dodgson, Mamoudou Athie as Ramsay Cole, Omar Sy as Barry Sembène, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, and DeWanda Wise as Kayla are equally engaging, no matter how big their role. That, to me, is one of the film’s strengths, that secondary performances are as strong as the primary roles. Mamoudou Athie and DeWanda Wise were incredibly charismatic and compelling, their characters instantly engaging.
What I missed were some of the basic storytelling tools. For example, even though some wonderful concepts were raised, such as what would happen with two Apex predators in one area, the film fails to delve far enough into those ideas and what would happen if competing species lived in the same area. There would be a widespread impact, and it would spread far beyond just large locusts eating up food supplies. Unfortunately, the movie does not develop this idea or most of the characters’ backgrounds far enough because they spend too much time trying to put in all the references to the original film. While I love some of the callbacks to the original Jurassic Park, like the open neckline on Jeff Goldblum, there are far too many repetitive scenes, including the final ending for the antagonists in the movie. Instead of creating new content, the film relies on old ideas and tropes.
One of the other issues is the multitude of conveniences of bringing together different plot elements. While some convenience is necessary for the sake of the story, there are far too many in this film, and it makes the film feel forced. Rather than feel like you’re on an enjoyable ride, you feel like a train forced down one track. And this forcing leaves many brilliant ideas undeveloped. But, of course, this also leaves the film very predictable. So if you’ve watched one dinosaur movie, you will be able to pick out every plot point before it happens. So while I was still able to enjoy the film, it did leave me disappointed with some of the repetitive and predictable choices.
If you love the Jurassic movies, dinosaurs, and any of the actors, though, you will still enjoy the movie, especially if you let go and let yourself be immersed in the film. It is a solid ending to the trilogy, and there is just enough left unexplored to make you wonder if there might be more. Go for the dinosaurs, especially Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Blue, the raptor. Both have their moments to shine, and even the rest of the creatures will keep you entertained. The nostalgia level is high, and I adored seeing all three original actors, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, on screen. Even though I had some disappointments, I did not find any of the actors or the dinosaurs less than extraordinary. And I still felt all the old wonder of experiencing dinosaurs on screen.
Rating: 3.5 raptors out of 5.
Official Website: Jurassic World Dominion | Official Site | June 10, 2022
Jurassic World: Dominion
This summer, experience the epic conclusion to the Jurassic era as two generations unite for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are joined by Oscar®-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION, a bold, timely, and breathtaking new adventure that spans the globe.
JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION opens in theaters on Friday, June 10, 2022.
ONE-LINER: The fragile balance between dinosaurs (who now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world) will reshape the future and determine, once and for all, whether human beings are to remain the apex predators on a planet they now share with history’s most fearsome creatures in a New Era.