Jurassic World Dominion is an epic thrill ride and satisfying conclusion to the arc that started almost 30 years ago with Jurassic Park.
While there are no mid-credits or post-credits scene, it’s worth it to stay through the credits because of everyone who worked on this film. Not only that but Michael Giacchino calls back a number of cues over the years and not just the classic John Williams themes. Over the years, I’ve come to enjoy his theme for Jurassic World and its a leitmotif that recurs here once again.
Jurassic World was a metaphor for corporations and wanting everything to be bigger and better. This time around, the film plays into what was going on in that film in focusing on corporations vs. science. But more than that, it’s really diving into the sort of things that Michael Crichton was writing about in his books. There is a bigger message at play here when it comes to the natural order of things. Humanity, in this movie, has to learn to live with the dinosaurs, for better or worse. But stepping beyond the frame, one of the core storylines in this film deals with climate change. This s something that we must fight in real life or we will go in the same direction as the dinosaurs. It won’t be an asteroid that kills us but our own damn ignorance. Science will always win.
I had so much fun watching this movie. It’s everything one has come to expect from a Jurassic movie. When I come to one of these movies, I expect plenty of fan service. When you look at this film and Jurassic Park III, this is the superior film. It’s everything that film couldn’t be. Obviously, we know why the third film had problems but that’s another story for another day. Even though this film was produced during the Covid-19 pandemic, you could never tell. That being said, it may have impacted the story they wanted to tell because of not having too many people on set at a time.
Listen, I can understand why none of the originals returned for the 2015 movie. They would be too much of a distraction while the story was setting up new characters to follow. When Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) appeared in Fallen Kingdom, I expected a larger role. Instead, he only served to bookend the film with a warning. This time around, Malcolm is joined by Drs. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Alan Grant (Sam Neill). The way that Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) meet up with them is something that you couldn’t write better if you tried. It is a classic moments of fan service. When you’re a member of the Jurassic Park generation, you get nostalgic for the fan service. I keep saying fan service because it’s a main ingredient. Plus, I fell in love with dinosaurs because of these movies!
The legacy cast is not just here to play babysitter. They have their own mission that brings them to Biosyn, an investigation that sees both Sattler and Grant reunite and catch up with each other. Before we know it, they join up with Malcolm, who is weirdly now under Biosyn employment. That’s one of the moments that you have to see it to believe it. Here’s a guy who probably would never return back to Isla Nublar or Sorna. He certainly would not go back on his own free will. But anyway, the new and legacy cast, including Masie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), will find their storylines intersecting in Biosyn Valley. They are joined by Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) and Ramsey Cole (Mamoudou Athie) and take this film in the one singular direction. Here’s the fun part: the uniting between the two casts never feels forced.
Maisie is an important character this time around. Her backstory is more important than we think. She is, more or less, why the two casts join in action. That’s all I’m going to say for now.
Biosyn is the major player in this film. Naturally, Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) returns for the first time since 1993 as the company’s CEO. Remember the Barbasol can? That’s the guy. We’ve got Dodgson here! See, nobody cares. But I digress. Anyway, Campbell Scott takes over the role because the original actor is now a sex offender. On the outside, Dodgson looks like a guy that cares. He is giving these dinosaurs a habitat where they can roam free without any human interference. This is a guy that meant bad news in the first film and even when you go in without watching trailers, you just know something is off.
If there’s someone to feel bad for, it’s geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong). Wu is back and you get this sense of guilt and wanting to make up for his wrongs. Look at his wardrobe this time around. He has really let himself go as a person. So what does he do this time around? Well, you just have to see for yourselves. I’m not even sure what to write here because of potential spoilers.
We get new dinosaurs during this go-around–ten new species that we’ve never seen in a Jurassic film before and as many that are animatronic. Every dinosaur comes from extinct species and aren’t another repeat of the Indominus Rex. It’s because of this that there’s never a minute where there isn’t action taking us from point A to point B. Don’t expect many moments to slow down because there aren’t many, if at all. It wouldn’t be a Jurassic World movie without Blue or Rexy. This time around, Blue has given birth to Beta. Blue wants to protect her much in the same way that Owen and Claire want to keep Maisie safe. Outside of that, Giganotosaurus gives Rexy a run for the movie but never count Rexy out. Therizinosaurus might be a herbivore but there’s more here than meets the eye.
Visually speaking, John Schwartzman returns as cinematographer. He pays homage to the earlier films by using a Panavision camera and filming in both 35mm and 65mm. Of course, the film goes digital on occasion to make things easier on the visual effects teams. Compared to 2015, this film is vastly different in that it uses 112 sets rather than 50. Moreover, they go for location and practicality when possible and production designer Kevin Jenkins has some fun with it. The less green screen, the better. As someone who has been on a Western kick of late, I like the early scene in the film where Owen goes cowboy on us.
Colin Trevorrow is back in the director’s chair and he’s joined by producers Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley. While Steven Spielberg probably has his notes for the film, it’s Trevorrow who is shepherding the franchise further into the 21st century. Years from now, someone will meet Colin Trevorrow at a film festival or awards show to say thank you for inspiring them. G-d only knows that I’m still waiting for my Spielberg moment and the chance to say thank you in person. I had my moment to say thank you to Frank Marshall during SXSW 2019 and it’s forever going to be one of the highlights of my life. It’s not often that you get this chance to say thank you to the iconic filmmakers who played a large role during your childhood.
Indiana Jones and the original Star Wars trilogy may have predated my birth but Jurassic Park came about at the right time. There was a time when I never thought I’d see another movie in any of these franchises. And lo and behold, two of them came back to life in 2015! First, Jurassic World and second, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But again, it’s the love of the franchise that keeps me coming back for more. In watching this film, you get this sense that it’ll inspire someone else to become a paleontologist or filmmaker. The sky is the limit! Well, if you decide you want to become a geneticist and bring back dinosaurs, please tread carefully and only bring back the herbivores.
There’s no shortage of nostalgic fan service in Jurassic World Dominion and that’s just one of many reasons why it’s a thrilling blast on the big screen. This isn’t the end of the road though because one more season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is hitting Netflix this summer.
DIRECTOR: Colin Trevorrow
SCREENWRITERS: Emily Carmichael & Colin Trevorrow
CAST: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, Justice Smith, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, Daniella Pineda
Universal will release Jurassic World Dominion in theaters on June 10, 2022. Grade: 5/5
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