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'Jurassic World Dominion': A Fun but Soulless Bookend

A fun summer movie that is pure escapism. If only 'Jurassic World Dominion' had maintained a singular focus. It incorporates climate change, genetic engineering, and man vs. nature without the weight of steady, affecting storytelling. This is by far the most anemic film in the series.
Jurassic World Dominion. Courtesy Universal Pictures.

Jurassic World Dominion. Courtesy Universal Pictures.

When Jurassic Park came out in 1993, it was a spectacle. It substantiated why movies are made for the precious big screen. The T-Rex and the vicious velociraptors seemed within reach as they battled for domination, over each other and man. The first installment in the series wasn't just about special effects, though. It questioned the concept of man vs. nature and introduced the foundational characters of the franchise: Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). The dinosaurs’ CGI was a novelty at the time and the storyline easy to follow. In this final and sixth chapter, Jurassic World Dominion, the notion of man trying to live in harmony with dinosaurs is sidelined for most of the film and instead there are two banal subplots that incumber the main plot.

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Isaac Newton said, “Nature is pleased with simplicity.” Unfortunately, the writers of Jurassic World Dominion didn’t take this into account when writing this screenplay. What made the original, and even the last World movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, intriguing was the focus on certain characters and particular scenarios. In Fallen Kingdom, the villains were trying to traffic dinosaurs to make big bucks. If only Jurassic World Dominion had maintained a singular focus. It incorporates climate change, genetic engineering, and man vs. nature without the weight of steady, affecting storytelling. This is by far the most anemic film in the series.

The original actors return in the roles of Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, and Dr. Malcolm and engender nostalgia. However, they’re all terribly underused. Goldblum’s drollness adds levity to every scene he’s in. Christopher Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing. They are as engaging as ever but rarely do they have a quiet moment together. Grady’s relationship with Blue is tested and progresses, ending with a touching scene of mutual trust. But Blue’s relationship to the power of genetics is made convoluted by being intertwined with another unnecessary and empty storyline involving young Maisie, played by doe-eyed Isabella Sermon.

[L-R]  DeWanda Wise as Kayla Watts Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler in Jurassic World Dominion. Courtesy Universal Pictures.

[L-R]  DeWanda Wise as Kayla Watts Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler in Jurassic World Dominion. Courtesy Universal Pictures.

DeWanda Wise’s Kayla Watts is a fresh new ally to our dinosaur specialist crew. She’s never really given a chance to shine as the sparkplug she’s supposed to be. Her one-liners relegate her to being an ornate sidekick.

Despite the tedious storytelling, there are some fun moments in the film. Several new prehistoric creatures are introduced, including the Giganotosaurus, and they give our protagonists a run for their money. The dinosaurs are not the bad guys in these films, despite them being antagonists to our heroes. Mankind is the villain.

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Campbell Scott’s Lewis Dodgson heads up evil corporation BioSyn, which is trying to use Blue’s DNA to take over the world. Most of the action takes place in the BioSyn Valley instead of Isla Nublar. There are some scintillating action sequences as well as ones that look rushed and a little shoddy. The CGI isn’t as crystal clear in some instances as in the previous films and the animatronics are at times painfully obvious. However, director Colin Trevorrow makes sure that there’s not a dull moment in the film. Although, that’s in lieu of having a gripping story.

This is a fun summer movie that is pure escapism. It’s evident, though, that this movie franchise has run its course because it’s lost its heart. This Universal Pictures release comes out only in theaters on June 10, 2022.


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