Jurassic World Dominion

  • 25 Jun - 01 Jul, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Reviews

Jurassic World Dominion picks up four years after the events of JA Bayona’s visually inventive Fallen Kingdom. In this strange new world, where monsters have been sprung from their island cages and spread across the globe, mankind and dinosaurs must coexist.

Also coexisting are the stars of the original Park trilogy (Sam Neill’s Dr Alan Grant holding a candle for Laura Dern’s conveniently single Dr Ellie Sattler) and the new World instalments (Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt), all reunited in variety-show fashion. As for Goldblum’s “chaotician”, he’s now working as “in-house philosopher” for Biosyn, a smilingly sinister genetics organisation whose Elon Musk-like founder (Campbell Scott) has been so preoccupied with whether he could use bioengineered locusts to control the world’s food market that he didn’t stop to think if he should. So nostalgia reigns as eco-catastrophe beckons, beasties rampage and our heroes pull together to save the planet – and hopefully discover their true selves in the process.

The original Jurassic Park and its sequel, The Lost World, were both adapted from source novels by Michael Crichton and directed by Steven Spielberg, giving them a kind of built-in quality control. Since then, things have been less surefooted, with the original trilogy ending not with a bang but a whimper in Joe Johnston’s Jurassic Park III. The subsequent Jurassic World movies often feel more like theme-park rides.

It doesn’t help that Dominion spends a good deal of time trying to figure out what story to tell and which genre to tell it in. One minute we’re in a sub-James Bond chase sequence through some scenically overcrowded streets and markets; the next, Pratt is driving a motorbike into the back of a plane, reminding us how much better Tom Cruise did this stuff in the Mission: Impossible films. There’s also a sly nod to Larry Cohen’s Q: The Winged Serpent, some Indiana Jones caving nonsense involving Neill’s hat, and a large amount of running around secret lair sets that seem to have been recently vacated by Austin Powers’s nemesis, Dr Evil.

All in all, this could have been fun, but there is something so arbitrary about it. And the essential thrill of the first Jurassic Park movie is completely gone: that vital sense of something hubristic and transgressive and wrong in reviving dinosaurs in the first place. It’s time for everyone involved to do some original thinking.