The final entry of the Jurassic World series leaves the franchise hopelessly mired in the past. Despite the imaginatively strong Jurassic World (2015) and the bold risk-taking of Fallen Kingdom (2018), Dominion refuses to be remotely memorable or inspired.
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Runtime: 146 minutes
US Theatrical Release: June 10, 2022; Universal Pictures
The movie takes place after Fallen Kingdom, in a new world defined by the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs. Surprisingly, the world’s ecosystems have not collapsed and the humans have managed to contain respective dino populations in parks, reserves, and sanctuaries. One such reserve belongs to Dodgson (Campbell Scott) – yes, the Barbasol-loving undercover agent from the original – now leading a transnational genetic research company. His secret master plan is to release genetically enhanced locusts on the earth’s grain supplies, thereby forcing consumers to buy only his grain.
Wait, are we in a James Bond movie? Where are the dinosaurs?
Dr. Sattler (Laura Dern) suspects something is up and convinces a heartsick Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) to travel with her to Dodgson’s dinosaur-laden research park high in the Swiss Alps. There they reunite with Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) who happens to be lecturing for the company. Meanwhile, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) are in a committed relationship and caring for the clone-girl from Fallen Kingdom (Isabella Sermon), who is promptly kidnaped by the omnipresent Dodgson corporation. In Grady and Dearing’s quest to save the girl, they inevitably cross paths with Grant & Company. Dinosaurs escape, chaos ensues, the usual. Would honestly make a stunning James Bond flick. Jurassic Park? You lost me at “the world’s ecosystems have not collapsed”.
Yes, familiar faces are back; it is genuinely refreshing to see the band back together with Neill, Dern, and Goldblum reprising their Jurassic Park roles. Unfortunately, the script by Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow is never interested in propelling the characters further as human beings – instead turning them into bumbling wannabe spies.
Regarding other characters, the ostensible leads of the franchise – Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard – are given shorter shrifts. Pratt is only here to talk to velociraptors and while Howard’s character has grown tremendously since Jurassic World, it leaves you wanting more investment in her character. That falls on the writers and directors, who overstuff the film with too many supporting characters; each is interesting in their own ways but given far too little screen time. This lack of focus bleeds into the overall tone. Dominion hovers between light action fare and gruesome terror – leaving you dissatisfied with both.
Despite the overwhelming drawbacks, certain elements work well. The film commendably utilizes more animatronics than its Jurassic World predecessors. Additionally, while the anticipated dinosaurs-in-the-real-world hype was a complete letdown, we were given several satisfying moments. The whole Malta set piece is instantly memorable, from the black-market menagerie to the raptor/motorcycle chase – one can’t help feel this is the movie promised.
Jurassic World Dominion offers some fun moments but ultimately ends in a baffling disarray. The series has never felt further from the taught, horror-thriller of the original; it has officially jumped the mosasaurus.