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‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ review

The wait is finally over for the original cast members of the most popular dinosaur blockbuster of all-time to unite with their modern reboot counterparts in ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’. Pitched as the finale of the ‘Jurassic World’ era of movies, we have now had two hugely successful trilogies of films that have entertained and wowed audiences for almost 30 years. There have been a lot of negative reviews for this film, but I genuinely enjoyed ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ immensely. If you go in with tempered expectations I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride a lot more for what it is – a huge blockbuster matinee full of amazing action spectacle, some nail-biting chase sequences and a brilliant marriage of the old and new stars of this series.

After the events of ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’, the unthinkable has happened and now dinosaurs are on the loose. Will humankind be replaced as the apex predators of this world? In a frantic bid for survival, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) team up with original franchise heroes Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) as they investigate a mysterious new company named Biosyn, who might be using the situation to manipulate global supply and demand.

It was very clear from 1997’s Jurassic Park sequel ‘The Lost World’ that nothing was ever going to come close to the brilliance of the classic original. Parts 2 and 3 have their moments but are largely forgettable. ‘Jurassic World’ promised much but it was quite apparent that the formula wasn’t drastically changing any time soon. By the time ‘Fallen Kingdom’ came out it was obvious that these movies are just a quick fix of fun, playing its nostalgia card frequently and without shame. So going into ‘Dominion’ with lowered expectations certainly helped me. This was never going to deliver a legacy sequel worthy of the first film, but it does play its beats very well, crafting an energetic and lively movie that has an interesting angle. On that basis, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a lot of fun.

There was plenty of potential story paths that this third ‘Jurassic World’ movie could have taken. For all of its faults (and its quite ludicrous finale where the black-market value of a dinosaur was on-par with London property prices), ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ did end on an interesting premise. With Dinosaurs now freely roaming the planet, what of humankind? The start of this film begins to show the impact on the world that this situation has had in the intervening years. But this story is soon switched up to a genetically modified locust threat that has the potential to end global food supply. That story (in itself) I found interesting, and it made for a nice change from the norm, however ‘Jurassic World’ seems to have abandoned its trilogy vision at the final hurdle, which is disappointing whichever way you cut it. I wanted to see the true ramifications of humans and dinosaurs having to co-exist and how that would look, but that is not explored in any true depth with ‘Dominion’.

I made my peace with these Jurassic movies awhile back, so approaching it with a healthy dose of pessimism certainly aided my enjoyment of ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ a lot more as a result. This was never going to be as good as the first film, and whilst ‘Jurassic World’ was enjoyable, it was just a rehash of ‘Jurassic Park’. ‘Dominion’ is without doubt a much better film than ‘Fallen Kingdom’ – it knows exactly what it wants and moves from A-Z in a feisty and exciting way, with assured confidence. It also helps that the original cast are all here for the ride, which undeniably helps when it comes to buying into this whole movie and its narrative.

It was wonderful to see Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) onscreen together again. That alone is worth the admission price. They steal their scenes, their chemistry is fantastic and, if anything, they should have been used a bit more. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are good leads, but I think they haven’t been too lucky with good scripts during their run in this trilogy. But seeing them together onscreen with the original cast is what every ‘Jurassic Park’ fan ultimately wants. They work well together and the finale utilises all of their respective skills to good effect. BD Wong, Omar Sy, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda lend good support. Isabella Sermon does really well in an expanded role as Maisie Lockwood and carries a lot of the film’s weight on her shoulders which is no mean feat. Campbell Scott plays Lewis Dodgson (the head of Biosyn), the token pantomime villain, with more than a passing nod to Steve Jobs/Elon Musk that’s enjoyable to watch unfold.  

The action set-pieces are what makes ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ a big success for me, which is why seeing negative reports to the contrary is so baffling. The chase sequence set in Malta is pure matinee gold, and a brilliantly constructed chase through the streets that leaves you breathless. There’s a cave sequence that utilises the dark exceptionally well and is full of great jump scares, the finale nods to many legacy moments from the entire 6 movie run in a fun and embracing way – as does the many Easter Eggs scattered around the film too. And ultimately, its still damn cool seeing a T-Rex square up to a foe on a giant screen. See this in IMAX for the full effect.

‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is an edge-of-your-seat action-adventure that fans will love, and an entertaining grand stage finale to this (second) Jurassic trilogy era. What this franchise needs now is a rest. I suspect in 10+ years we may be paying another visit to Jurassic Park, but hopefully in that time the writers can try something a bit more daring and experimental in terms of their ambition. This ‘Jurassic World’ trilogy has ultimately not set the world alight, but it’s provided decent blockbuster entertainment all the same. It would be nice if they aimed a bit higher in the future, because with a franchise as big as ‘Jurassic Park’, we are certainly destined for another visit very soon.

Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Isabella Sermon, BD Wong, Omar Sy, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Campbell Scott Director: Colin Trevorrow Writer: Emily Carmichael, Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly Certificate: 12A Duration: 146 mins Released by: Universal Release date: 10th June 2022

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Jason Palmer
Jason Palmerhttp://www.entertainment-focus.com
Jason is a film contributor for Entertainment Focus (EF) bringing you the latest news and reviews from the movie world.

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