MOVIE REVIEWS

REVIEW: ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ brings 30 years of story and two blockbuster trilogies together for one final adventure

Jun 10, 2022, 12:41 PM
(from left) Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura D...
(from left) Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) and Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) in Jurassic World Dominion, co-written and directed by Colin Trevorrow.
(DeWanda Wise)

SALT LAKE CITY — Another hot summer week, another big movie sequel in theaters that lots of people have been waiting for.  This time it’s dinosaurs and Jurassic World: Dominion, the third entry in the Jurassic World trilogy, and the sixth in the Jurassic Park franchise that began way back in 1993.

This movie brings both trilogies together in a major way.  Once again starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, it returns many faces from Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, (the ones that haven’t already been killed by dinos, anyway) but this time it also brings together Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum—the stars of the first Jurassic Park trilogy.

Few summer blockbuster franchises can equal the cinematic legacy or dollars earned as this particular one, and with this movie supposedly the end of the series (yeah, right) the big question was whether it could regain the mixture of fun, fantasy and frightening moments the series produces when it’s at its best.

THE STORY

Jurassic World: Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed, and the dinosaurs have been let loose from the tropical islands where they spent around 25 years as attractions at two different theme parks.

Now they pretty much live among humans, doing pretty much whatever they want because, not surprisingly, it’s difficult to convince a T-Rex or Velociraptor to not eat your farm animals, or tell an apatosaurus that he needs to move because he’s blocking traffic.

The story picks up with former dino trainer Owen Grady (Pratt) and scientist Claire Dearing (Howard) living off the grid with a teenage girl (Isabella Sermon) who they rescued in the last movie.  There are powerful people looking for this girl, as her particular DNA may contain some vital information.

Blue, the velociraptor Owen trained back before the Jurassic World theme park was destroyed, has been hiding in the mountains near Owen and has managed to have a baby raptor of her own that the scientists also want to get their hands on.

Meanwhile, a plague of giant, prehistoric-looking locusts happens to be ravaging much of America’s crops but they have some strange behavioral patterns that has drawn the interest of Dr. Ellie Sattler (Dern). She thinks the giant corporation BioSyn and its charismatic leader Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) is behind it, so she enlists the help of her old friends Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) and Ian Malcom (Goldblum) to try and confirm it.

THINGS I LIKED

First and foremost, it was great to see Dern, Neill and Goldblum back together again in these particular roles.  Original Jurassic World director is back in the chair after only helping with writing the last film, and he seemed to understand how to juggle both the legacy cast members and the new cast members, without either one feeling unnecessary.

I also thought Dominion corrected one of the problems of Fallen Kingdom by having a more interesting story for the humans to be involved in.  Since dinosaurs can’t talk there are limits on exactly how much of the movie they can carry by themselves, and only so much they can even do which is where I thought Kingdom struggled.

Of course there is plenty of humans fighting dinosaurs, humans chasing dinosaurs, humans being chased by dinosaurs, and dinosaurs fighting each other.  There’s even a Mission: Impossible-style chase through the streets of Malta involving a motorcycle and some velociraptors which felt both familiar and somehow unique at the same time.

Speaking of that, the dinosaur action is as good as ever, even if there is isn’t too much new ground broken in the process (pun intended since there’s a scene where a dinosaur chases Owen on a frozen lake).  But there’s also not too much dinosaur action either, which can quickly just all blend together when overdone.

Finally, there was the nostalgia factor.  There were plenty of easter eggs that referenced all of the earlier films in the series, some you’ll catch and some you won’t.  A big one I didn’t realize until after the movie was that Campbell Scott’s character was the guy who gave Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) the hollow can of shaving cream to steal the embryos in the original Jurassic Park. Michael Giacchino‘s score was solid, but nothing brought the goosebumps like hearing the occasional musical cues from John Williams’ original Jurassic Park themes.

WARNINGS

Jurassic World: Dominion is rated PG-13 No surprise, people get eaten by dinosaurs, almost eaten by dinosaurs, and of course there are the aforementioned giant locusts, so keep that in mind if you have little kids.  My 9-year old twins seemed to do just fine watching it, for what that’s worth.  But parents of kids much younger than that might want to preview it first to see if they think their little ones can handle it.

The run time is a bit long, at 2 hours and 25 minutes and there are some moments where it drags just a bit.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Jurassic World: Dominion isn’t the best movie I’ve seen this summer, but it is still very enjoyable in its own right.  It’s a great summer popcorn movie, just like a Jurassic Park film should be.

I loved the connections to the original Jurassic Park and felt the legacy characters were used in a satisfying way, giving them their own story and not making it feel like they were just in the movie for nostalgic reasons.

While some of the scenes felt like they were right out of a ride at Universal Studios theme park, I’d still put the movie in the top 3 of the series.

Andy’s final rating: THREE out of FOUR stars

WHERE TO WATCH

Jurassic World: Dominion is playing exclusively in theaters.  This a movie that is enhanced by an IMAX screen and high-quality sound and are worth the extra cost, should you choose.


Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for KSL 5 TV in Salt Lake City and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on KSLTV.com.

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REVIEW: ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ brings 30 years of story and two blockbuster trilogies together for one final adventure