Movies

Movie Review: Jurassic World Dominion

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Dinosaur-centric island theme park in “Jurassic World” brought back the sense of awe and wonder, although nothing would ever capture the magical feeling of seeing the first dinosaurs in “Jurassic Park” three decades ago.  

In “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” humans face moral consequences of whether we are now responsible for the continuation of the lives of these previously extinct creatures since we brought them back to life.  “Jurassic World: Dominion” is the fallout of this evolution.  

Have you ever wondered if dinosaurs live among us?  Not just on an isolated island, but in modern civilization.  This what makes ‘Dominion’ different from all the other installments.  It’s a sight that you thought you’d never see.  All types of these prehistoric creatures are seen on skyscrapers, snowy plains, rocky canyons, open meadows, wooded forests, icy lakes and deep seas.  To manage containment, the government grants a worldwide contract to a biotech company, Biosyn Genetics.  Headed by a quirky head, Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), Biosyn predictably turns out to be an evil outfit.  

‘Dominion’ has two separate storylines, running concurrently.  The first one involves dinosaur  trainer Owen Grady (Chris Pratt, “The Avengers” series), former Jurassic World’s business manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon).  The second one reunites the main characters from the original “Jurassic Park,” world-renowned scientists Drs. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).  

Maisie now lives with Owen and Claire in a forest cabin, as their adopted daughter.  As revealed in ‘Fallen Kingdom,’ Maisie, a human clone, is special due to her scientifically engineered DNA, which makes her very much sought after to be studied.  Now a teenager, Maisie longs for freedom, which the isolated life couldn’t offer her.  When Maisie is inevitably kidnapped, Owen and Claire have to get her back.  In addition to Maisie, Blue, the velociraptor with a special connection to Owen, now has a baby, and the baby dinosaur is also captured.  

The rescue attempts take Owen and Claire on adventures around the globe, with the goal of getting into Biosyn island, the research facility where Maisie and Blue’s baby are held.  The  underground black market, city street running and rooftop jumping make ‘Dominion’ more like  action movies, like the “Mission Impossible” kind, only with dinosaurs thrown in the mix. 

Standout scenes include killer raptors, programmed to kill, relentlessly pursuing our heroes, and a wild motorcycle chase leaping into the back of an open door of a cargo plane taxiing for takeoff.  The plane is piloted by good Samaritan, former Air Force pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise).  

Entering into Biosyn island’s airspace and landing is far from a smooth ride, due to a concentration on dinosaurs roaming around, on land and in the air.  With monstrous creatures merely inches away, survival is often utterly sheer luck.  Even knowing the main characters would ultimately survive, they still do make hold-your-breath, jump-out-of your seat scenes.  

Alan, Ella and Ian end up on the Biosyn island on a different mission.  It has something to do with Biosyn’s efforts in creating and disseminating mutant locusts to wipe out the world’s food ecosystem.  It may be fan service, but it’s good to see the old-timers back together.  They are likeable, and their interactions are heartwarming and bring humor into the movie.  

There are moments where you might question the actions of certain characters but this is one of those movies where it’s more enjoyable when you don’t poke into holes.  The last third of the movie resembles the traditional ‘Jurassic’ series, where all hell breaks loose and humans are once again trapped in an island, trying to survive and escape from voracious dinosaurs.  

‘Dominion’ introduces cool-looking new species with gnarly teeth, long sharp claws, regal feathers and majestic wings, with roaring predators ferociously fighting for supremacy.  Most memorable are clawed therizinosaurus, feathered pyroraptor and gigantic giganotosaurus.  

The separate storylines make ‘Dominion’ less cohesive, and the main attraction of the movie, dinosaurs are on the backburner sometimes.  It’s also hard to believe how humans could co-exist or cities could be safe from destruction with these mostly fearsome creatures running around.  Some are clearly very dangerous, dominate and do not discriminate on what they attack, tear or eat into.

‘Dominion’ doesn’t necessarily offer a solution in the unprecedented present day, which is arguably least satisfying, and it ends more on a philosophical note.  Still, there’s plenty of fun to be had, particularly for fans of dinosaurs. 

Serving up familiar terrors and new thrills on a nostalgic platter, “Jurassic World Dominion” is a quintessential summer blockbuster.

Copyright (c) 2022. Nathalia Aryani

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic (rottentomatoes.com/critic/nathalia-aryani). She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

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