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Jurassic World: Dominion Review

“We're racing toward the extinction of our species. We not only lack dominion over nature, we're subordinate to it.” – Ian Malcolm


First Jurassic World Dominion reactions come roaring online


I saw this film at the multiplex on its first screening, but waited a few days to see what the world made of it over its opening weekend. That, and I needed to allow what I’d seen to fully percolate in my head so that I could write a clear review. There’s a lot to unpack over the movie’s two and a half hour running time.

I had (as is my custom) avoided all reviews before seeing the film, because I wanted to go in with high expectations of being entertained, and I didn’t want anybody else’s possible negativity to taint those expectations. And to be honest, because this is going to be an honest review, I was glad I had because a lot of reviews are pretty negative. And what I’ve noticed happens when pre release reviews are cynical in tone, is that the public tend to adapt that attitude as their own without seeing the film for themselves. It becomes a universal truth without being investigated.

That certainly seems to be the emerging case with this film from what I’ve read and what’s been said to me. And I notice this more and more these days. Sadly, it seems that cynicism is “cool” and enthusiasm is deemed childish at worst, or naïve at best. I was enthused to see the movie, having seen them all at the cinema since the original Jurassic Park in 1993. So, I guess there’s a bit of investment here.

This is set to be the last instalment in the franchise, so really the stakes are high as far as I’m concerned. The whole thing needed a proper send-off.

I’m happy to say that I, at least, got my wish. I got my closure, some dangling strands that had bothered me for years were dealt with and I left the screening happy. I saw what I wanted, and hoped to see. And all in all, on reflection, I’d say it was a logical progression of the overall story arc.

I don’t know why the hostility toward this element of the movie exists. We were always headed down the road of the genetically reconstructed dinosaurs being loose in the world. It was inevitable from the second the fences went down in Isla Nublar halfway through Jurassic Park. We had a brief taste of a lone T-Rex on the loose in San Diego in Jurassic Park: The Lost World (1997) and more recently in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) where they’re free in the open world at the end of the film. We had had four and a half films of people stranded on an island where the dinosaurs run free, so it was a safe bet we weren’t going back to that.

Hence, as this film starts, we’re now living in a world where the ecological imbalance is established. Animals from 60 million years ago live among us, and not all of them are friendly. To give a few examples, Pteranodons nest among the skyscraper roofs of our cities, there are T-Rex out in the wild, occasionally wandering into populated areas – and as for fishing trawlers, they have their own set of problems.

And what do we humans do? Typically, what we would always do. We exploit any way we can. We poach, we factory farm, and we weaponize these marvels. I found this element of the story to be chillingly credible. So how do you weaponize a prehistoric creature? How about genetically engineering a strain of large locusts that will only target and destroy a rival company’s crops but leave your own unscathed and suddenly worth a lot more money? Or how about a squad of raptors trained so that of they see the red dot of a laser pointer on a person, they won’t stop until they kill that target.

That’s largely the basis of this film. The misuse of these creatures and the work of both the original Jurassic Park team Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Satler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and the more recent Jurassic World line-up of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Clare Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) with the addition of Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon).

It’s true that the locust plotline takes precedence in this outing, but that too is only to be expected as much of the “wow” factor of the bigger, better, more savage dinosaurs has faded over the years and there’s very little that can be done to keep that awesome, jaw dropping spectacle fresh. But all the old favourites are indeed there, along with the return of an old favourite from the original film in a scene that strongly echoes that first.

Indeed, several story beats from the first film are revisited here as the arc comes full circle, answering questions I’ve had since 1993. For close to thirty years, whenever I’ve watched these movies, I’ve wondered who was Nedry in Jurassic Park working for? He stole the embryos, and was dealing with a sketchy character called Dodgson. Was Dodgson a middle-man? Who was HE working for? Why was this hole never filled in? It bothered me.

But it didn’t bother me a fraction as much as what happened to the embryos Nedry stole, hid in the fake shaving foam canister, then lost in the storm. Surely that canister containing the embryos had to be found someday by someone?

Finally, I can sleep at night with my mind at ease.


Jurassic world Dominion final showdown | Jurassic Park | Know Your Meme

Another thing that bothered me, because I felt cheated, was it being strongly hinted, and by “hinted” I mean “shown” in the trailer for Jurassic Park 3 (2001) that a plane was brought down by a Pteranodon. But in the final version, the plane actually crashed into a huge Spinosaurus. FINALLY, that has been rectified, and the Pteranodon has its day.

All in all, I found Dominion to be far more satisfying that its predecessor Fallen Kingdom, which for all its visual spectacle left a sour taste with the haunting sight of first dinosaur we ever saw and loved in Jurassic Park baying in terror as it burnt to death in the volcanic blast on the island – and those improbable lava scenes. (The original review of Fallen Kingdom is here)  In order of preference in this trilogy, I’d place this ahead of Fallen Kingdom, but a notch below Jurassic World. If this IS indeed the final Jurassic film, then I leave the franchise feeling fully satisfied.

 

Rob Rating 9



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