Ever since Jurassic Park made its way to huge box office success in 1993, the dinosaur-focused movie franchise has been eager to recapture a similar high. The series’ multiple films have tried and failed to replicate the iconic sci-fi action-adventure film and, quite frankly, the trajectory of the series has taken a downward turn with each passing entry.
So for Jurassic World: Dominion, the pressure is really on. The sixth and seemingly final feature in the franchise is tasked with simultaneously bringing down the curtain on a series that has lost its luster, capping the two film trilogies and delivering more titanic and thrilling dino-on-dino action .
However, much like the catastrophic event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, Dominion is a kind of extinction level for the Jurassic movie franchise. A ‘by the numbers’ and boring film, Dominion hits the final nail in the coffin of the Jurassic film series with a story full of semblance of style but very little substance. And that’s a shame – there are some really good moments that, had they been expanded, could have made for a more compelling watch. As they are, even this Jurassic World can’t save Dominion from what it is: a movie that’s too full, too long, and too predictable.
Life, uh, finds a way – unfortunately
Four years after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Dominion discovers that humanity is trying and failing to coexist with the dinosaurs freed by Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), and Maisie Lockwood (Isabella). Sermon) during Fallen The Height of the Kingdom.
The trio now live in a remote location to keep Maisie safe – she’s a clone of Charlotte Lockwood, aka her mother, and nefarious organizations and mercenaries are looking for her so they can unravel the secrets of her DNA. Despite Owen and Claire’s best efforts, the now teenage (and rebellious) Maisie is kidnapped along with Beta – the baby of Blue, the velociraptor Owen trained in Jurassic World. Like Maisie, Beta is an identical copy of Blue – who managed to reproduce without a partner – so his DNA is just as special as Maisie’s.
Meanwhile, the US is grappling with a gigantic swarm of GM locusts that are starving to destroy crops at the heart of agriculture – that is, apart from the modified crops owned by Biosyn, an evil genetics company. Convinced that Biosyn is responsible for creating the locusts so it can control the world’s food supply, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) enlists the help of fellow paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). ) to investigate further.
As the groups race to rescue Maisie and Blue and stop Biosyn founder Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) from carrying out his master plan, it isn’t long before they collide and are forced, by proxy, to decide the fate of humanity. , their dinosaur brethren and the world itself.
If Dominion’s plot sounds a little stuffy, it’s because it is. It’s easy to follow – this is definitely a movie where you can switch off your brain – but it tries to do too much narrative. Dominion is overloaded with plot exposition, unnecessary detours, and countless action sequences that don’t excite or delight; factors that make it bogged down and offer nothing substantial to the scenarios that arise. They’re included for the sake of it and make Dominion feel like it’s just going through the motions.
Of equal frustration are the film’s contemporaneous storylines. The trailers show Owen and the company joining forces with the film’s original trio much earlier in the proceedings, but it’s not until the film’s final stages where the plots become intertwined. By the time we really start to see the chemistry between the film’s major players sparking and crackling, it’s too little, too late. Their desperation to survive and flee Biosyn’s headquarters becomes the main driver of the plot, preventing meaningful interaction with the characters.
Dominion’s overarching plot is also unnecessarily formal and predictable. It’s easy to figure out where the story goes next — an aspect not helped by the amount of explanatory information provided by the cast. And while the movie’s A-listers are put in dangerous situations all the time, you never get the sense that any of them are actually in danger. It removes any semblance of tension from the film’s more tense action sequences and you just get the feeling that by the finale all the major players will be fine.
With so many unnecessary additions, Dominion’s two-hour, 26-minute runtime feels like a chore. There’s a serious argument for shaving off 30 minutes of content here; a decision that would have made for a tighter, more cohesive story. As it is, Dominion is a grind largely devoid of edge-of-seat moments and efficient character development.
Let’s get the gang back together…
Given how much loved the original Jurassic Park movie is, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that the best bits of Dominion are those steeped in nostalgia.
The reintroductions of Neill, Dern and Goldblum are delightful, each bringing their characters’ signature sarcasm, brutality, charm and bravery into the process in a satisfying way. It’s a truly crowd-pleasing moment when all three are also reunited, Dominion marking the first time they’ve shared significant screen time since the 1993 film.
For a movie that likes to hit the sentimentality button as often as possible, Dominion is laced with nods, callback requests, and references to Jurassic Park itself. Sure, the former dinosaur-based attraction is mentioned by name, but it’s other parts of Dominion’s plot that are sure to make fans smile. To spoil them here would ruin the surprise, but rest assured, you’ll recognize them when you see them.
Oddly enough, Jurassic World: Dominion is also a funny movie, sometimes unexpectedly. Yes, Goldblum’s signature jokes and Neill’s sarcastic sensibility inevitably bring laughter, but there are parts of Dominion that probably weren’t positioned as humorous affairs that end up being far more amusing than intended. For a film as serious and dramatic as Dominion, its humor is an underrated but welcome addition.
Speaking of weighty content, Dominion isn’t afraid to push its thematic exploration into the faces of viewers. The environmental message is important, albeit a little on the nose, while the ‘humanity is bad, and here’s why’ agenda can be clearly seen. The latter is a theme that serves as a common thread throughout the Jurassic series and while it’s somewhat annoying to hear about it for the umpteenth time, at least it’s a theme that’s consistent across an inconsistent movie franchise.
And what about the action? Unsurprisingly, Dominion’s most beautiful physical encounters are those where two or more dinosaurs go toe-to-toe. We’ve been working on the Jurassic movie franchise for nearly 30 years, but it’s still just as fun to watch the series’ iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex battle it out with another apex predator. It might not be to the taste of some movie buffs, but it’s the kind of big, stupid fun that Dominion needs.
It’s equally entertaining to watch those same dinosaurs pull a piece or two (or should that be several?) out of their fleshy human prey. It shouldn’t be so much fun watching these giant reptiles eat humans that get in their way, but it still is. Given the laborious nature of the film’s human-versus-human action, it’s gratifying that, 29 years and six films later, the Jurassic series is still delivering crowd-pleasing dino-on-dino or dino-on-human confrontations.
Jurassic World: Dominion feels like a fitting ending to the dinosaur-based movie series. Aside from the 1993 original, the franchise was a mishmash of messy and bloated storytelling, slightly sloppy dialogue, and a safe reinterpretation of the same tired, formulaic stories.
There are some redeeming features about Dominion. The return of Doctors Grant, Sattler and Malcolm is gratifying, it’s a funny and at times tender affair, and some of the action scenes – mostly those involving carnivorous dinosaurs – are suitably entertaining.
Unfortunately, there are just too many missteps with Dominion to consider it a good movie. Some fans won’t care if the story is Oscar-worthy, the themes highly meaningful, or the long running time – they’ll just love the fact that Dominion delivers more over-the-top, dinosaur-based action with some humor and heartfelt moments along the way.
Still, Jurassic World: Dominion doesn’t come close to capturing what made the series’ first movie so special. It’s an unoriginal watch that doesn’t say anything valuable or new, nor does it make good use of its time. Like the dinosaurs featured throughout the series, Dominion shows that the Jurassic film series belongs to these gigantic, awe-inspiring reptiles from now on: in the past.
Jurassic World: Dominion opens exclusively in cinemas from Friday, June 10.