Director: Colin Trevorrow
Writers: Colin Trevorrow, Emily Carmichael
Cast: Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, DeWanda Wise, Isabella Sermon, Campbell Scott
There are some sequels that are even better than the films that came before them. A sequel can wow an audience and breathe new life into an already established property. It can deepen the character building and expand the world to new frontiers and even gain younger fans. If that’s what you’re looking for, I’d recommend Top Gun: Maverick. If you just want to have some fun watching dinosaurs, then go see Jurassic World Dominion.
Director and co-writer Colin Treverrow does not have a great track record in his career and this is no shining exception, though it is a step above the previous Jurassic World movies. The film picks up several years after 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom as dinosaurs and humans are still learning to live side-by-side. The corporation Biosyn Genetics has created a sanctuary where dinosaurs can live peacefully and genetic testing can occur. Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) are working to rescue dinosaurs from the wilderness and illegal breeding facilities and send them to safety.
They’re also trying to keep Maisie (Isabella Sermon) safe from those who might want to study her genetic cloning. However, typical teenage problems arise as Maisie chafes against the close boundaries her adoptive parents have given her, wishing to see more of the world beyond the cabin in the woods that they live in. The film takes a turn as Maisie and Blue’s raptor baby are kidnapped by poachers.
Meanwhile, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) suspects that Biosyn might have something to do with the swarms of giant locusts that are destroying crops across America – except for those planted with Biosyn seed. She goes to see Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to ask for his help on her visit to Biosyn, which she obtained through Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).
Ellie is now divorced and an empty-nester since her children at in college and sparks fly between her and Alan. The film allows the pair a chance to rekindle the romance that never quite was and their chemistry only serves to highlight how little there is between the established couple of the franchise, Claire and Owen.
At Biosyn, the pair are greeted by Lewis Dodgeson (Campbell Scott), the CEO of Biosyn whose eccentric mannerisms and enthusiasm for progress can’t help but remind me of a certain other billionaire CEO whose last name rhymes with “dusk.” Lewis tells them how the research they’re doing might be able to cure diseases and even cancer, but Ian is ready to help Ellie and Alan find out the truth behind the locust issue.
In Malta, Claire and Owen are having a very different experience with dinosaurs as they try to track down the people who took Maisie. It results in a series of chase scenes, and the introduction of Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise), a quippy pilot who steals every scene she’s in. This part leans a bit too far into being an action film and is one spot in which the bloated run-time is all-too-obvious.
The film peaks as the two sets of adventurers meet up in the dinosaur sanctuary. It’s not surprise since the dinosaurs themselves are part of what has always set the Jurassic films apart from others in their genre. This film marks the first time since the original film in 1993 that the franchise has reunited Dern, Goldblum, and Neill and they are all still excellent in their roles. For those with nostalgia for Jurassic Park, it may be enough to coast on to make the movie enjoyable.
No, Jurassic World Dominion is nowhere near the masterpiece that Jurassic Park is. But at this point, do we even expect that from this franchise? There’s plenty of humor and a few genuinely scary moments and lots of dinosaurs. Jurassic World Dominion is an entertaining reunion for these casts and a fitting farewell to a franchise that is ready for extinction.
Nicole Ackman is a Public History graduate student at NC State University and a film, television, and theatre critic. She is Rotten Tomatoes and Cherry Picks approved and is a member of the NCFCA and OAFFC. You can find her on Twitter, probably talking about period dramas or Andrew Garfield, at @nicoleackman16.