In 1993, a film was released based on a Michael Crichton novel that explored the concept of what would happen if humans found a way to bring dinosaurs back. Not only did that film, Jurassic Park, become one of the greatest movies of all time, but it spawned a rather successful franchise that spanned several years. The latest installment of this exciting and clever series is Jurassic World: Dominion, which is said to end the long-running storyline. Is Dominion the proper ending of this beloved franchise that fans have been craving, or should this series have gone extinct years ago? Let’s research further to find out.
One of the most important elements of the Jurassic franchise is its commentary on humanity, politics, and ethics. Thankfully, that’s present here as much as ever. Humanity must learn to live with its mistakes and adapt. No matter how inconvenient everyday life has become, life of all beings is precious and must be protected. A corporation is altering the DNA of living beings and messing with food sources so that they can have power and control. We even get a look at how humans would mistreat dinosaurs for their own personal gain despite them being innocent living creatures. Like the original film, this one is extremely clever and makes valid points about the world we live in.
Just because there is smart commentary, it doesn’t mean that the dino-chomping action can’t have just as much focus. The action is especially suspenseful this time around, and they’re not afraid to get creative with it. There are instances of great human vs. human action, which is a lot of fun. There’s even a moment or two that have dinosaurs battle each other that feel like they’re straight out of a kaiju movie. Of course, though, the best action sequences are the human characters trying their best to live through their interactions with carnivorous dinosaurs. A dinosaur eats a guy while he’s one fire. Dinosaurs chase after a motorcycle. A group of fishermen have an unfortunate encounter with a Mosasaurus. We even see humans do more to defend themselves and fight back against the dinosaurs without destroying them. With six movies now made in this series, it’s great to see such entertaining and creative action.
Adding to how creative the action sequences are is how different the set pieces are than ever before in this series. With dinosaurs running along rooftops and in busy city streets, the filmmakers were able to play with them in ways they couldn’t before, and they take advantage of that. It helps this installment stand out from the others quite a bit. They do also have the dinosaurs in a tropical forest environment for those looking for a taste of what the classic movies offered.
This film brought back some of the scarier, horror-like moments that were featured in the original movie. There are scenes that genuinely make one fear for whether or not certain characters might make it out alive or not. A couple of the dinosaurs feel like true horror villains a few times, which leads to a lot of suspense. I found myself holding my breath a couple of times while watching the movie in the theater. It’s unfortunate that some of the other sequels lacked these scary moments the original film did so well, but it’s nice to see them return.
As advertised, the classic trio of Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, and Ian Malcolm return as well. They aren’t just cameos for fan service either; they’re in the movie just as much as Owen and Claire are, or close to it. The chemistry between them is absolutely fantastic, and it feels like the actors have still been working together for the past couple of decades. The chemistry between the old and new cast is just as great. Plus, it leads to an appropriate amount of fan service without it feeling like a gimmick.
With so many characters in one movie, it’s impressive that they were able to accomplish balancing several satisfying character arcs. Owen and Claire put more trust in Maisie. Alan learns to accept people into his life rather than just his research. Kayla learns to do what’s right rather than what makes her money (which plays heavily into the themes of the film). The best arc, though, comes from Dr. Henry Wu. He’s the one who brought the dinosaurs back from extinction in the first place, and now he’s filled with remorse. He uses his scientific skill and everything he’s learned from his research from each era of the series to make up for what he’s done and actually help people. These arcs carry a lot of emotional weight throughout the film.
The original Jurassic Park movie revolutionized filmmaking with how well it blended traditional effects with CGI to bring the prehistoric creatures to life. The visual effects are handled very similarly in Jurassic World: Dominion. The CGI is used when truly needed and looks fantastic when it is. However, there are plenty of puppeteer work, robotics, and other traditional effects used to create the dinosaurs. They all look more real than ever, which is truly impressive.
The entire planet is being affected by the dinosaurs this time around, but the film takes the story back to an isolated setting yet again. They do manage to explore how the dinosaurs have impacted the rest of the world, but it feels like a bit of a disservice to have the opportunity to feature larger-scale settings around the world but choose to focus on another private facility, which we’ve already seen plenty of times before. That being said, the impact of the rest of the world is certainly felt more this time than in any of the previous films, which is not nothing.
Much of the main conflict is centered around biologically engineered locusts rather than the dinosaurs. The prehistoric locusts don’t come about because of the dinosaurs roaming the Earth, but because of human scientists creating them similarly to how they recreated the dinosaurs. It makes it feel like the central conflict isn’t quite relevant to the idea of dinosaurs once again roaming the planet, which is an odd choice. It does, however, relate to the ethics of the DNA-meddling science, which is the overall point of the films.
There is quite a lot going on in the film, but it never feels confusing or that it’s too much. However, the result of there being so much is that there are moments that feel a little too exposition-heavy. It may be important to have these moments to convey vital information, but it doesn’t always feel the most organic.
There are some issues that aren’t the most vital to the central plot, but are set up without really being resolved. If this is truly the end of the series, it feels weird to not be resolving everything. The opening of the movie has humans struggling to figure out what to do with the dinosaurs. Should they learn to adapt to this new world or move the dinosaurs elsewhere or find some other solution? We never truly find out what’s done about it. It’s most likely intentional so that Universal could revisit the franchise in the future, like having a story that focuses on new characters living their daily lives with dinosaurs. Plus, it’s not as relevant to the specific story they wanted to tell with this film. It is just off putting at first for those expecting a solution to each individual issue, especially since they could have been resolved with one extra line from the news reporter at the end.
Jurassic World: Dominion has a few very clear issues, but most of them don’t take away from the specific story being told within the setting of this dino-filled world. Plus, they’re a bit overshadowed by the movie’s extremely high points. It captures both the smart commentary and the dino-sized action of the original while introducing new ideas of its own. It’s exciting, heartfelt, and gives the audience something to think about. The scary and suspenseful moments are extraordinarily fun while the character interactions lead to strong emotion. It’s ultimately a fantastic way for an iconic film franchise to come to a close.