The sixth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise goes full bore into nostalgia deep cut mining attempting to stir up some emotion. The park has been abandoned for dinosaurs romping around the world, until the last half of the movie is set at a secluded dinosaur preserve. Ultimately, Jurassic World: Dominion delivers what one would want in this series, dinosaur carnage. As one old veteran human character says when two giant dinosaurs are about to face off, “It’s not about us.” More appropriately self-aware words in the franchise have rarely been spoken.
Dinosaurs walk amongst the Earth again after the genetically engineered beats escaped onto the mainland. Although an even bigger threat has emerged with a swarm of giant locusts that threaten to consume the world’s food supply. When the genetically engineered teenaged clone, Maisie (Isabella Sermon) is kidnapped along with the child of the somewhat friendly raptor Blue, Maisie’s adoptive parents Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) vow to save them. Meanwhile, the locusts have been traced to the probably evil corporation run by Dodgson (Campbell Scott) so scientists and original Jurassic Park guests Alan Grant (Sam Neil) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) investigate. At Dodgson’s compound they find dinosaurs, more secrets, and their old associate Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Both groups collide at the scientific hideout, but dinosaurs combined with evil billionaires schemes may have deadly consequences.
The central notion, what if dinosaurs were a part of the real world, provides decent visual moments of dinosaurs screwing up everyday life. This was teased back in Jurassic Park: The Lost World when the T-Rex started stomping down a public street. It was more menacing and crazier in Lost World but in Dominion dinosaurs are a bit commonplace. There is a nice scene where a bunch of loggers lead out two brontosaurus that have camped out at their worksite which is both sweet and silly.
The cataclysm promised in the earlier Jurassic Park movies that dinosaurs would cause the collapse of humanity never quite develops; they’re more like loud annoyances that bad guys herd and sell for profit. The developing global apocalypse is a giant genetically engineered swarm of locusts that will eat humanity’s crops. Like something out of the bible. Later, the same locusts are on fire, just to hammer home the hellish metaphor. With the Jurassic series having a lot of evil and stupid billionaires, Scott’s Dodgson may be one of the dumbest and Campbell makes him easily hateable. His locusts are going to starve the world to death which is short sighted because unless he has some sort of rocket ship to space, he’s going to starve too. Dodgson in the first movie gave Nedry the shaving cream can to steal dinosaur embryos and there’s a cool shot showing Dodgson has the shaving cream can 30 years later. BD Wong’s Doctor Wu pops up again but gets a redemption arc. There’s a lot of Wu talking to the Clone kid Maisie about her origins that the movie thinks is more interesting than it is, but BD Wong can make anything compelling.
There are two separate character plotlines and Owen and Claire’s plotline is a lot more action-centric. Alan and Ellie’s plotline coasts on the nostalgia of seeing the original Jurassic Park characters again as they do more investigative stuff. As much as the first plot features all the cool dinosaur stuff, getting back to Alan and Ellie and Malcolm is more enjoyable, probably because they were in the first, best Jurassic Park movie. Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm is still prone to many long rants about the forthcoming chaotic disaster that Goldblum always delivers with some entertaining weirdness. The absurdity of Owen making a promise to Blue the raptor to find its child is nicely snipped at by Malcolm just asking, “You made a promise to a dinosaur?” Owen, Claire and Maisie aren’t as engrained in the Jurassic mythos as the original three, even if the World series crew had more screen time. The moment when Grant’s group crashes into Owen and Claire has the original three emerge as the Jurassic Park theme dramatically plays, hammering the nostalgia button until breaking. It doesn’t quite land because Owen and Claire have no idea who these people are, only the audience does.
But one thing the audience does want to see, and Dominion provides in spades, are dinosaurs, lots of them. The world involving dinosaur poachers is a cool idea featuring a scene where Owen finds a dinosaur underground market as naturally the dinosaurs break loose. One of the best bits of carnage is when a baddie has both of his arms eaten by two dinosaurs at once. Also, a dinosaur merchant tags targets with a laser pointer for raptors to attack which leads to some great action with raptors chasing after motorcycles. The finale features a dinosaur slugfest that sort of copies the dinosaur slugfest of Jurassic World but looks cool.
Jurassic World: Dominion is billed as the epic conclusion to the second Jurassic trilogy but it doesn’t have a sense of finality. It feels like another installment in the Jurassic Park IP in between the inevitable seventh movie. But having the original characters show up again earns goodwill as dopey yet entertaining large-scale dinosaur and locusts chaos makes it a serviceable, if forgettable, franchise entry.
Jurassic World: Dominion
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, BD Wong, Omar Sy and Campbell Scott