This is a spoiler free review of Jurassic World: Dominion.
Do you like dinosaurs? Are you a fan of outrageous globe-trotting action? Are your fave parts of the Jurassic Park franchise the gruesome kills? If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, then rejoice as you’ll probably have a ton of fun watching Jurassic World: Dominion.
Rebooting a franchise as iconic as Jurassic Park was never going to be easy. But in 2015, Colin Trevorrow did just that with Jurassic World. After handing the reins to J.A. Bayona for the second—or fifth, depending on how you look at it—entry, Trevorrow returns to finish the trilogy he started with the ambitious and often ridiculous (in a good way) Dominion.
Following directly on from Bayona’s massively underrated hard sci-fi sequel Fallen Kingdom, the film continues the story of Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), and their unexpected new family unit. Oh, also, in case you didn’t know from the trailers and the previous movie, dinosaurs live among us now, like everywhere. In the park, in the desert, in the sea! It’s great if you love dinosaurs but terrible if you enjoy being at the top of the food chain.
The notion of a true “Jurassic World” was something this movie was sold on, but it struggles to deliver. While there are a few stunning—and very fun—examples of the dinosaurs at large in the wild, the movie once again reverts to a more classic Jurassic Park formula in the second act. And that’s not a complaint from this reviewer. However, I can imagine that for some viewers, it may be a letdown based on the promotional materials. But while you may not get too many dinosaurs in the wild, we do get a lot of wild dinosaur action. In fact, this likely has more dinosaurs than any other Jurassic Park or World movie yet. And they’re understandably angry that they’re un-extinct.
While much of the focus is on the original returning cast—Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum—and they are great, newcomers DeWanda Wise and Mamoudou Athie offer standout performances. Athie’s Ramsay Cole has one of the movie’s most interesting and satisfying arcs. And Wise gets some of the best dinosaur setpieces. Meanwhile, when it comes to those returning icons; their chemistry is stronger than ever. Every moment they’re on screen wraps you in the warm toasty embrace of nostalgia. And, of course, even playing against three of Hollywood’s most beloved performers and the film’s startling newcomers, Howard is a constant delight. Her journey from corporate shill to reluctant mother figure to radical dinosaur lover has been a rewarding one. She delivers a nice ending for the character here.
Something that was particularly exciting for this reviewer was the way this movie connected to the original Jurassic Park—both film and novel—in unexpected ways. The only real issue I had came from an ill-conceived plotline about the morals of genetic editing. It not only contradicted much of the established Jurassic Park morality code but also smacked of ableism at worst and thoughtlessness at best. It was a moral dark shadow over an otherwise rip-roaring dinosaur action movie.
Jurassic World: Dominion hits theaters on June 10.