JUARSSIC WORLD: DOMINION
June 10, 2022 / Universal Pictures Canada
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern
Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
Four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar, Biosyn operatives attempt to track down Maisie Lockwood, while Dr Ellie Sattler investigates a genetically engineered swarm of giant insects.
Written By Darren
Rating 4 out of 5
Jurassic World: Dominion brings back the legacy characters from Jurassic Park for an exciting conclusion to the Jurassic World trilogy that delivers all the dinosaur madness that you could want from a Jurassic Park film.
Bringing back legacy characters seems to be all the rage now between the Star Wars sequel trilogy, Scream, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, so it was only a matter of time that the Jurassic Park franchise did the same. But seeing Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum return to their iconic roles is more than enough reason to check this film out on the big screen. While the three of them were front and centre of the film’s marketing, there was the question of how much of the film they are actually in with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard returning as the Jurassic World trilogy leads. But I am happy to report that not only do they have a substantial amount of screentime, they are there from the beginning and are as vital to this film as Pratt and Howard.
Both sets of characters have their own storyline. Ellie Sattler has been studying locusts and their effect on farmlands, discovering that the company at the forefront of dinosaur research may be harbouring a dark secret, which reunites her with Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm. At the same time, Owen and Claire are living quietly in the countryside, but after Blue’s baby raptor and Maise are kidnapped, they embark on a globe-trotting adventure to rescue the two of them. Naturally, the two storylines meet up, leading to the teased combining of the legacy character and the characters of the Jurassic World trilogy. It’s an exciting moment in the film, that even if it takes too long for it to happen, it’s well worth the wait as it results in an exciting third act.
The story itself is a little messy, as it could have been better focused and trimmed down as there is a lot going on. It’s disappointing that for a film about dinosaurs, that the actual plot is not focused on the dinosaurs at all. Not helping is the awkward news report narration which begins and concludes the film. While at the beginning it is excusable to film in the time gap between this film and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the ending narration is out of place and squanders the epic tone the film needed to end on. I see why narration was chosen, but there were other options for that narration other than the cheap newscaster report they went with, as this type of narration to end an epic trilogy can work as it did in The Dark Knight Rises. Also, the film’s villain gets on your nerves as the writers and actor Campbell Scott craft an awkward, tech mogul akin to Steve Jobs, which never reached the menacing levels that the story required of him.
But, once the dinosaur mayhem begins, any concerns about the run time and the plot quickly erode away as these sequences are excellent, giving fans exactly what they want. Especially in the third act, the scenes for Howard are absolutely chilling, with the most terrifying moment being her encounter with the Dilophosaurus which had me shaking in my seat thanks to the great sound design making it feel as if the dinosaur is sneaking up behind you. Colin Trevorrow’s direction of the film prevents it from being as terrifying as Jurassic Park and Jurassic World throughout the film, as he has crafted an action film instead of the horror experience that the franchise is rooted in. This works incredibly well for the action sequences, especially the sequence in Malta which is easily one of the highlights of the film, but also plays well for some of the dinosaur moments too.
Like the previous two films in the franchise, the film is infused with tons of callbacks to the original film. Some of them are obvious, like the inclusion of the Barbasol can, the return of Lewis Dodgson as the film’s antagonist, or Golblum waiving a flaming stick to distract a dinosaur, but it is the more artistic callbacks that left the biggest smile on my face. These were most notably the introduction of Ellie and Alan in the film. For Ellie, Trevorrow and Dern recreate that iconic shot of Ellie removing her sunglasses and seeing a Brachiosaurus for the first time in Jurassic Park which is a beautiful recreation, while Neill’s first scene in the film practically mirrors his entrance in the original film.
As you can already guess, the film is stolen by Dern, Neill and Goldblum. From the second she appears on screen, this is Dern’s film. Capturing the audience’s heart once again as Ellie Sattler, Dern continues to be one of the greatest actresses currently working. In every scene, she is vibrant and playful as you see her interact with the dinosaurs, while also bringing a hardened steel to Sattler as she tries to prevent the end of humanity as we know it. Neill somehow looks even better than he did in the original film, once again capturing the soul of everyone’s favourite paleontologist with a bit of an attitude. Watching him reunite on screen with Dern is amazing, and the romantic chemistry between the two of them is phenomenal! If there is anything I learnt from this film, I need more films starring both Dern and Neill! Goldblum brings the comedic relief to the film as Ian Malcolm, never failing to deliver a hilarious line whenever he is on screen. While he has the least amount of screentime of the original three, he squeezes every moment of screentime to remind you why you fell in love with his character all those years ago.
Howard once again is excellent as Claire, giving her best performance of the trilogy as her character is put through the ringer. DeWanda Wise is a great addition to the cast as Kayla Watts, bringing a great energy to the film and taking on the personality that Pratt had in the first Jurassic World film. As for Pratt, he is largely sidelined for the film. Yes, he is front and centre for the action sequences, but you can feel his character’s storyline was pushed aside for Dern, Neill and Howard’s, which did not bother me for a second.
Michael Giacchino returns as composer for the film, and once again his musical score is outstanding. It may just be his best musical score of the trilogy, perfectly blending all of his new musicals themes with John Williams’ iconic Jurassic Park themes, that help make the return of Dern, Neill and Goldblum the majestic experience fans wanted from the film. Being a Jurassic Park film, it comes as no surprise that the film is a visual marvel. The combination of CGI, animatronics and practical effects to bring to life the dinosaurs once again stuns and helps the danger and wonder of these long extinct characters jump off the screen. The CGI for the Malta sequence is outstanding, and the use of animatronics in the third act adds a true sense of urgency to the film as you watch the film’s main characters be hunted by multiple dinosaurs. It’s the cinematic spectacle that demands to be seen on the biggest screen imaginable, so I highly recommend checking it out in IMAX as that is the best way possible to experience this thrilling conclusion to the Jurassic World trilogy.
While the internet is complaining bitterly about this film, I am so happy to say that I highly enjoyed Colin Trevorrow’s concluding chapter of the Jurassic World trilogy. While it was not the film I was expecting or hoping for, I still had a ton of fun with some truly frightening moments and all the Jurassic Park nostalgia I could ever want. Jurassic World: Dominion will have audiences rushing to theatres for the dinosaur spectacle, but it is Laura Dern and Sam Neill who steal the show with their triumphant return as Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant, resulting in a satisfying and exciting conclusion to the Jurassic World trilogy.