Jurassic World: Dominion was exactly what I expected and what I wanted it to be. A lot of people were chased by a lot of different dinosaurs. That there were also giant insects and a few synapsids, mosasaurs, and pterosaurs was a plus.
People were put into situations where they had to run from the dinosaurs, which happened much more frequently than in any other movie because ancient reptiles and other creatures have now escaped. You can feed dinosaurs before the U.S. Capital as they run around the underbrush.
Jurassic World: Dominion. A lot of dinosaurs chasing people. The effects were well done and enormously more complex than anything in earlier movies. The creatures exist in multiple settings, including cities, ranges, mountains, and forests—and undersea, under ice, etc.
Having just watched Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote., Tim Cook should not be happy with Jurassic World: Dominion. Campbell Scotts’ Lewis Dodgson was clearly inspired by Apple’s Tim Cook’s look and demeanor. Dodgson hides evil behind his bumbling genius guise. As with many Hollywood stereotyped industrialists, Dodgson is destroying the world without a conscience to bother him.
That plot, taken by itself, makes for a pretty dreary, exposition-heavy, film that further digs into Ian Malcolm’s pronouncements, articulated more tongue in cheek this time around by the comedy relief of Jeff Goldblum—being, well, Jeff Goldblum. Thankfully, that‘s the movie Colin Trevorrow chose to make.
BD Wong’s Dr. Hentry Wu sits alongside Dodgson, his hair flopping over his forehead like the lead singer of a grunge band. Wu has regrets. He has ideas. He is searching for a combination of a cloned girl and a dinosaur born in the wild. The two together will fix something, like the prehistoric locust infestation that threatens to eat all the world’s crops.
So, I may have missed it, and I don’t really care, but I have no idea how the main plot of a cloned girl got into Jurassic World: Dominion. The writer’s room needed a McGuffin, and thus, plot. The girl is in the care of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard).
The couple also live near Blue, the blue-striped Raptor trained by Grady to at least not eat him if he holds his hand up, For the world, dinosaurs now live among its inhabitants. Seeing a dinosaur is now as inevitable as a new multinational arising to take over the evil work of a failed one. Blue had a baby, which she shouldn’t have. Turns out Blue’s baby is a natural clone. Science mic dropped, as that’s about as much pseudo-science as this film can handle (all the other pseudo-science is related to the human and dino clones).
So here we sit, in a world filled with dinosaurs. An unhinged scientist in the employ of an unhinged industrialist. Both need the girl and a baby raptor.
The hunt is on. The girl, a loved but restricted teen, doesn’t follow rules as teenagers are wont to do. She reveals herself to her would-be captors. Chases ensue. Blue’s baby gets captured. Chases ensue. Explosions. Gunshots. Mercenaries and assassins. Planes falling from the sky. Revelations and betrayals.
At 2 hours and 26 minutes running time there are a lot of chases. And let me say it again: a lot of dinosaurs. We know from the first film that recreating animals from an extinct ecosystem and putting humans in their way isn’t good for either. So just underscore that point with a huge number of encounters where humans, between luck, some skill, and a modicum of intelligence, outwit their pursuers of the moment. But there are just soooooo many dinosaurs, you know, there just everywhere.
But it all works out. That conclusion was probably written before the first dialog. Wu figures it out after he escapes his scientific duplicity with Dodgson. In a turn of clever fan service, as Dodgson packs to get out of Dodge, one of the items he keeps is the Barbasol can (which based on the company’s website, isn’t just fan service but a product placement) used by Nedry (Wayne Knight) to smuggle dino embryos out of Jurassic Park—Dodgson also falls prey to Dilophosaurus. And yes, it spits at him, even though that behavior was rebuffed as unrealistic after the first film.
Dinosaurs still inhabit the world, though the giant bugs have gone. Dinosaurs not only beg for food on the National Mall, they also herd with horses in the American West. While the existential threat to humanity is mentioned by Malcom, by the end of the film it seems a non-issue, co-existence becomes inevitable, even though there are even more dinosaur species around to nip at heals or engulf humans in one bite.
As an aside, there is not much explanation about how so many species are now possible, especially since they seemingly no longer need to borrow genes from extant species—which makes it even harder to believe. The new “science” does solve the problem of feathered dinosaurs, as the older models weren’t built with the right blueprints. And seemingly, Biosyn doesn’t engineer dinosaurs, they just bring back the originals just like they were, which is even more ridiculous that the original position of putting in frog DNA to make up for the missing parts.
I’ve outlined perhaps the most boring parts of the movie in this review. You won’t care about what you just read after leaving the theater. You won’t care about the characters or the plot. What you will care about are the interludes of beautiful CGI dinosaurs doing dinosaur things, and the massive number of human and dinosaur encounters that offer a ballet of captivating nonsense.
Your popcorn will be empty. You will not get out of your seat for a refill. The ride is good even if it has too many bumps and more than a few non-sequitur distractions.
Not all films need to solve the human condition. Not all films need to inform. It’s still OK to create films that entertain, that stretch credulity with the incredible. And that is Jurassic World: Dominion, a raucous romp through the imagination gone prehistorically wild.