Movie Review, Jurassic World Dominion


Story by Alex Paulino, Arts & Culture Editor

Steven Spielberg challenged what was possible with visual effects when he released Jurassic Park in 1993. Giant, sweeping, almost life-like monsters dominated the screen, mixing a sense of ecstasy with horror to create one of the most authentic film experiences of the decade. Ever since 1993, Jurassic Park has spawned a multitude of sequels as well, creating not just a series but a franchise. In 1997, Spielberg returned behind the camera to deliver The Lost World, and then in 2001, we received Jurassic Park III. As typically expected, these sequels were not nearly as bombastic as the original 1993 film. However, the idea and nature still resonated with these films. Audiences wanted soaring landscapes, with loud beasts, and an incredible amount of spectacle. 

Come 2015, director Colin Trevorrow would bring the Jurassic Park franchise back to its roots with Jurassic World. Whereas Park focused more on animatronics and spectacle, World was more honed on utilizing computer effects and rekindling what made the fun of the original film. In 2018, a sequel was released titled Fallen Kingdom, which essentially did the same thing. And now, in 2022, a final installment in the Jurassic World trilogy released. This film promised to be the ultimate culmination of both the Jurassic Park and World trilogies. Trilogy regulars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard returned, and the stars from the original Jurassic Park film, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, reprised their roles. With new and old stars returning, a brand new plot, and a continuation of the cliffhanger from Fallen Kingdom, this new Jurassic World film promised to be granular. Something memorable. Something awesome. This was Jurassic World Dominion.

From left to right: Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Isabella Sermon, and DeWanda Wise as they appear in the film.

Jurassic World Dominion is one of the strangest attempts at capitalizing on nostalgia in recent memory. The intent was obvious, it was clear what was being done especially with the return of the previously established characters and their actors. Unfortunately, not even Jeff Goldblum’s dynamic personality can save how much of a mess Dominion is. The disappointment is not much of a shock, considering the Jurassic World films are not very memorable in the first place. As mentioned previously, the first Jurassic World aimed to regurgitate what the original 1993 film was good at essentially. Unfortunately, the franchise is close to 30 years old at this point. Having dinosaurs chase recognizable actors is no longer in fashion, and repeating a dry formula is not producing new results. If only Universal caught the memo. 

While the idea behind another Jurassic World film is inherently boring, the premise was relatively promising. As stated previously, Dominion follows the events of Fallen Kingdom. Humans and dinosaurs now live in unity, which is sure to cause a cataclysm of problems for both mankind and the environment. For the entire franchise, there has been a constant in which humans had to fight dinosaurs. So to give Dominion the benefit of the doubt, a premise in which humans need to collaborate with dinosaurs does raise potential. However, Dominion absolutely fumbles in delivering any interesting ideas on this subject. When it comes to dinosaurs and humans coexisting, we do not get much besides dinosaurs lurking in the background. These gigantic, dangerous, and threatening creatures will just roam beside humans as if nothing ever changed. This is not inherently a bad thing, but for a series in dire need of innovation, it is shocking that it does nothing to change the status quo. 

During the events of the film, dinosaurs were captured and forced to hunt each other for the entertainment of others.

To give credit where it is due, some passion for this idea does shine through. There is a sequence in which we see dinosaurs in captivity, and forced to fight one another for the entertainment of the authoritative humans. A neat concept, but the second the sequence is over there is just about nothing else the film does to dive deeper into this idea. What is odd about Dominion is that it certainly pretends like it is doing something interesting, for example, the character Ellie Satler (played by Laura Dern) has a subplot regarding bio-engineered crops, but in case the mention didn’t hint at it enough, this idea is extremely boring. 

On the subject of Ellie Satler, I do find it interesting that Universal decided to bring back older characters for this installment. This is a common tactic deployed by studios, as most audiences love seeing recognizable figures reinvigorated in newer projects. The issue is that, like everything else, these characters do not bring anything new to the table. Sam Neill returns to his role as Dr. Alan Grant, which he previously played in the 1993 film and Jurassic Park III. It is fun seeing a 70-year-old Neill have some fun with the role, but the character of Alan Grant is virtually unchanged from the previous 2 films. The same applies to Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm. Goldblum supplies a lot of energy and his signature quirkiness, but he is still virtually the same. These characters have not changed in the past 30 years, which makes it hard to find them interesting because they begin to blend in with each other. I cannot find Alan Grant’s distaste for dinosaurs interesting when Chris Pratt’s character, Owen, preaches the same idea. These characters do not clash at all, which makes watching them interact extremely boring. We never get to see Alan, Ellie, or Ian’s experience or wisdom because all of these characters are essentially the same. 

Sam Neill gives a refreshing performance as Dr. Alan Grant once more. (Photo by Ian Brodie Photo)

Jurassic World Dominion is such a disappointment, they even forgot to include a colon after “World”. It’s a buggy, boring, borderline unfinished film that never truly feels like a true passion project. It supplies plenty of ideas but refuses to have the will to innovate within them to create something as inspiring and breathtaking as the original 1993 film. With Dominion released, it is possibly for the best if the Jurassic Park franchise stayed extinct. 



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