Remarkably formulaic, but ultimately exactly what it’s supposed to be, Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion injects much-needed life into the franchise with its legacy players, despite following the same expected beats of its predecessors.
Chris Pratt and Bryace Dallas Howard star as as Owen and Claire (from the first Jurassic World). Following the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, dinosaurs now intermingle with the rest of the world. Owen and Claire live off the grid with Maisie (Isabella Sermon – from Fallen Kingdom) in the rural woods. Hunters who have been searching for Maisie (due to the fact she is a clone…obviously) capture her and also capture the baby of velociraptor Blue.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ellie Satler (Laura Dern – from the first Jurassic Park) is investigating gigantic locusts ravaging American farmland. She recruits old friend Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neil – also first movie) to investigate at the labs of Biosyn Genetics, in the middle of the dinosaur safe zone in the mountains. There, they meet old friend Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum – also also from the first movie), who attempts to expose Biosyn for what they really are.
If these storylines don’t sound like they have much in common, they really don’t. You can tell from the outset the merging of storylines. Essentially, there is this idea for the newer cast (Pratt, Howard) to go on this adventure having to do with clones and DNA. On the other side, there is the legacy actors who go on this separate adventure with the locusts. The groups only come together as a whole in the last 30 minutes.
I know what you are thinking. I’ve mentioned locusts twice in the first few paragraphs. It’s can’t be that important. Let me tell you: it’s absolutely is. In this film, the world doesn’t have a dinosaur problem. It has a locust problem that dinosaurs happen to be in. Of all the potential narrative ways dinosaurs interacting with the real world could have gone, I wouldn’t have guessed genetically engineered locusts.
There are some new faces like Campbell Scott’s totally-not-imitating-Tim-Cook Dr. Lewis Dodgson; the absolutely normal, in no way weird as hell CEO of Biosyn. On the plus side, DeWanda Wise plays Kayla Watts, a interesting and cool pilot who has a crisis of conscious and helps the group. Besides the three actors from the original, Wise is the most welcome presence of the cast.
Neil, Dern, and Goldblum seem to know what they are in to. Their characterizations are roughly the same as they were in 1993, but with the smirk of knowing this film is nowhere in the territory of that film’s quality. It’s still a welcome sight to see the three actors with their ample experience back in the roles that launched them into superstardom.
Pratt is on cruise control, not because he is bad, but because he doesn’t have to do too much. Sermon probably has the most screentime, but she (her character) is mostly just annoying. Howard’s characterization has grown the most since her first appearance, but she also doesn’t have much to do.
The dinosaurs are the attraction, and they don’t get much of a showcase. We do get introduced to the Giganotosaurus and the Therizinosaurus, but the real dinosaur stars are the ones we always want to see. The mighty T-Rex, the raptors, and even some Dilophosaurus show up. It’s all very nostalgic rather than being good.
Jurassic World: Dominion is harmless, forgettable, and disposable. It’s the nostalgic dessert you ate as a kid. It isn’t good, but it holds good memories.
Jurassic World: Dominion is now playing in theaters.
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