Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

COLIN TREVORROW

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA/, 2022. , , , . Story by , Colin Trevorrow, Screenplay by , Colin Trevorrow. Cinematography by . Produced by , . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

The promotional material tells us that this sixth movie in the franchise (and the third in the reboot that began with Jurassic World in 2015) is the ultimate grand finale and conclusion of the saga that began in 1993, and while none of us believe that for a second, we’re willing to see what fun can be had from bringing together the major casts of both series in a Star Trek Generations kind of way.

In the time since the events of Fallen Kingdom, that exciting Jurassic Park movie that took place entirely in a basement, the prehistoric creatures have spread out over the earth and are causing no end of havoc, construction sites are routinely held up by the odd confused brontosaurus and I don’t know how anyone will ever swim in the ocean ever again. Most concerning is that swarms of ridiculously large locusts are moving their way across the globe, consuming crops and threatening a worldwide famine, but food activist Ellie Sattler () happens to notice that they’re not devouring the plants grown from seeds sold by Biosyn, a biotech company run by sniveling mad scientist and Barbasol can collector Dr. Lewis Dodgson (, filling in for Cameron Thor from the original film, his 2016 conviction for sexually assaulting a thirteen year-old girl making him, by way of a six year prison sentence, unavailable to reprise the role).

Ellie reunites with her old friend Dr. Alan Grant (, looking the best that any seventy-four old has a right to) and asks him to come with her to Biosyn’s combination headquarters and nature preserve in Italy’s Dolomite Mountains, to get proof that they are poisoning the world’s food supply for profit; their visit is facilitated by an invitation from the company’s Nutty Professor In Residence Dr. Ian Malcolm (), who still makes sure his shirts are open one button too many.

Meanwhile, Owen Grady () and Claire Dearing () are holed up in the Nevada mountains with their little clone friend and surrogate daughter Maisie (), hoping to hide from the world’s curiosity, their grounds frequently visited by Owen’s old raptor friend Blue who has mysteriously given birth to a baby without any assistance from a mate. When both Maisie and the Raptor baby are kidnapped by poachers who turn out to be headed to Biosyn, Owen and Claire follow them first to Malta, where we get the dinosaur upgrade to The Bourne Ultimatum we never knew we needed, and there join up with the film’s Han Solo, a mercenary pilot named Kayla Watts ().  Her character’s sexuality has been carefully sublimated to make sure the film plays on the world market, but hers is still the only performance in this entire film that feels indulgent, fun and aware of the surroundings (as opposed to doing Ibsen while clutching his blankie in every scene).

The three of them soon find themselves on the same compound where our other heroes have gone and, after a number of skirmishes with dangerous beasts and even more dangerous human greed, they clump together and work towards the goal most important in every Jurassic Park movie, getting the F out of there with all their limbs intact. Of course, the visual effects are great but, sorry to say this to the artists who work so hard to get things right with such consistent success, that’s not the least bit surprising or astonishing anymore.

What continues to disappoint in this entire franchise, and which has never matched up with the original film’s power, is the sense of wonder and richness of character that made the technical wizardry that much more vibrant. Maisie’s issue with her identity is rote and underdeveloped, Ellie and Alan’s reunion has no spark and the constant barrage of climate change concern is both painfully trite and also a bit nonsensical (in the end, we get platitudes about learning to co-exist with animals that could stomp on our cars or knock a plane out of the sky whenever they feel like it). Once things reach the third act and everyone gets together, the film becomes another in a long line of reboots that spend their entire time recreating moments from the past simply for the sake of dimwitted nostalgia that no audience needs (see Ghostbusters Afterlife for another sterling example), as if I’ve spent thirty years with no other desire but to see Ellie reboot the park again or watch someone hold a flare in front of a dinosaur’s eyeball.

It doesn’t help that these re-enactments are done with absolutely no soul and too many of the film’s lines feel specifically designed to go viral in clip form on the internet, but this one at least has more imagination than the last one, and the production design is gorgeous. If we’re going to move to Jurassic Planet next time (and you know we will), please for goodness’ sake have them go in a new direction, do a musical number with Lady Gaga or something (she can duet with the one with the pretty feathers), as this stuff is getting very routine.

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