Review: Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

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Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

Directed by: Colin Trevorrow | 147 minutes | action, adventure | Actors: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott, BD Wong, Omar Sy, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Scott Haze, Dichen Lachman, Kristoffer Polaha , Caleb Hearon, Freya Parker

After going extinct 65 million years ago, Steven Spielberg breathed new digital life into dinosaurs with ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993). We still remember the childhood wonder and fairytale enchantment of running with the Gallimimus, of flying with the Pteranodon and of roaring with the Darth Vader of the dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. ‘Jurassic Park’, based on Michael Crichton’s book of the same name, broke the impossible record set by ‘ET. The Extra-Terrestrial’, the highest-grossing film of all time to date. The dominance of ‘Jurassic Park’ was felt like the shock of a running Triceratops. In 1994, the blockbuster won three Academy Awards, including one for visual effects. Also, the American Film Institute ranked Jurassic Park as the 35th Most Thrilling Movie in American Cinema. It is therefore not surprising that ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is the sixth installment of the Jurassic Park series, and certainly not the last. ‘Jurassic Park’ is a meter high wave that others are surfing now and will continue to surf until it has died down to just a ripple. However, where the first part had the advantage of being the first, the sequels have the arduous task of taking on the Indominus Rex of the movies. And none survived. Not this one either.

‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ takes place four years after the volcanic eruption on Isla Nubar (what ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ is about). Dinosaurs are part of everyday life and regularly make the news when another tourist or camper van is attacked, leaving it bleeding and dented. Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) live with Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), Benjamin Lockwood’s cloned granddaughter, in the remote Sierra Nevada mountain range. Also Blue, Owens trained Velociraptor with a blue stripe along the head, lives and hunts with her child, Beta, in the surrounding woods. Elsewhere, on an unknown American ranch, two children are attacked by a plague of mega-sized locusts. Nobody knows where they come from. Nobody knows where they are going. But one thing is certain: if this continues, a global food crisis will follow. Then Maisie Lockwood and little Velociraptor, Beta, are kidnapped, and Owen and Claire go after them to get them back. At the same time, the plague of locusts sweeping across America like a Tasmanian devil has caught the attention of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), a paleobotanist, who wants to solve this riddle. And for this she enlists the help of none other than paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill). When these “Jurassic Park” veterans, world-renowned mathematician Dr. Meeting Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) at Biosyn Genetics, the old crew is complete. All of these storylines are on a collision course as the new and the old, together, face the utter chaos and threat of dino aggression and capitalist leeches masquerading as humanist innovators.

‘Jurassic Park’ is a movie about dinosaurs with action in it. Jurassic World: Dominion is an action movie that features dinosaurs. The storyline is standard with the pharmaceutical industry working towards world domination through seedy backroom practices. The small and the weak are used as means, but luckily they also have a fist. In terms of storyline, the dinosaurs have less of a story-technical role than the earlier films and act as the general danger, just like in zombie films. This is the essence that makes this part different from ‘Jurassic Park’. Please note: the action scenes are of top quality and the film is chock full of suspense. But because of the standard formula in which storylines are poured these days (Hollywood blockbuster material in particular suffers from this condition), we already know in advance how the protagonists will work their way out of sticky situations. And that’s okay. We pay for flaming action so we give our jaws a reason to chew on stale and chewy popcorn. However, it is clear that the spark, the infatuation that we felt in 1993, is not here. Jurassic World: Dominion is like a perfect-looking woman with no sex appeal.

It must be admitted that the reunion of the old ‘Jurassic Park’ crew, Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, is reminiscent of a meeting with a loved one from the past who still makes our hearts beat faster. Laura’s disarming smile and Sam’s trustworthiness transport us back to the time when we entered the wonderful world of the dinosaurs with them. They are like old wine that now tastes better because of the age. That’s not to say the new crew, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, aren’t doing well. They are perfect for an action movie: they run, jump and scream. But where they symbolize the youthful energy, the old crew is the wisdom and the nostalgia, the spirit of the past that lays a warm hand on our shoulder. Also BD Wong, as the always conflicted and internally tormented Dr. Henry Wu, joins again and is very welcome in this one. Campbell Scott (as Lewis Dodgson) and DeWanda Wise (as Kayla Watts) performances are surprising. Dewanda Wise, in particular, is a fine presence on screen and, with her sultry gaze and copper-colored eyes, knows how to keep our attention.

Even though ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a standard action movie, the scenes are very well put together. It goes without saying that the special effects are seamless and without errors. There are also moments where the camera work really earns points, purely because of the perspective with which some scenes were shot. On this aspect, director Colin Trevorrow has done a good job.

‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a beautiful action film with tasty special effects, a high entertainment value but with a standard storyline. This movie doesn’t capture the essence of what made Jurassic Park special for so many. And that’s okay. Ultimately, a film is worth as much as the value you assign to it. It is forgiven any mountain not to be as high as the Himalayas. Don’t expect complex storylines or deep characters. But action, special effects and noise. Enjoy it!

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