As Isla Nublar succumbed to a violent volcanic eruption in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the final act also set up some interesting ideas to be pursued in a follow-up movie. We were introduced to Maisie Lockwood, granddaughter of Sir Benjamin Lockwood, who was an old business partner of John Hammond, only for Maisie to be revealed as a biological clone of Sir Benjamin’s daughter, Charlotte. But more importantly than that, with their home now destroyed, dinosaurs were free to roam the Earth once more.
A couple of short movies released since then have managed to tease that particular concept even further – Battle at Big Rock in 2019, followed by a prologue to Jurassic World: Dominion, which was released last year. The subsequent trailer for this movie, featuring the return of all 3 main characters from the original trilogy, certainly looked pretty epic and gave me goosebumps the likes of which I usually only experience when watching an Avengers trailer!
Set 4 years after the events of Fallen Kingdom, Dominion begins with humans just trying to coexist with dinosaurs as best they can. Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) are now surrogate parents for Maisie (Isabella Sermon) and are living a life of peaceful solitude in a cabin out in the woods. Claire’s hobbies seem to involve a bit of dino-rights activism while Owen is now a cowboy of sorts, utilising his skills from his previous job to herd dinosaurs. Unfortunately, their peaceful life is soon shattered when a group of mercenaries kidnaps not just Maisie, but the baby of Blue, one of the female velociraptors that were trained by Owen at Jurassic World and are now living in the woods surrounding his cabin.
Meanwhile, swarms of bioengineered giant locusts are ravaging large areas of crops but seem to be ignoring any crops that were grown from seeds originating from Biosyn, a large glossy genetics company that claims to be using dinosaurs to help cure human diseases and more. When palaeobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) learns of the destruction being caused by these locusts, she recruits old friend Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to join her in paying Biosyn a visit. There they meet up with old friend Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who is giving in-house lectures to Biosyn employees. And, Biosyn also seems to be where Maisie and the baby raptor are being taken to, a chance for our two storylines and sets of characters to come together in one location.
It takes a while for Dominion to set up all of those storylines and characters, as well as some new faces, dashing between locations, set pieces and genres. It just about manages to hold things together though, thanks to a good dose of intense and very exciting action scenes involving humans being chased by dinosaurs. It’s wonderful to see Grant, Sattler and Malcolm back together again, even if it does mean that the new team of Owen and Claire feel a little short-changed and underused at times. It seems like all Owen ever seems to be doing is holding his hand up in front of him to try and calm an angry dinosaur. And it’s amazing just how often he gets away with it too.
Probably the biggest disappointment in this movie for me is the villain. When we’re introduced to Biosyn founder Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) early on, he just seemed like some kind of oddball, annoying comedy character who hopefully wouldn’t show up again very much. But, as his role became more prominent, it became clear that he was the dullest, most wooden villain I think I’ve ever seen, with clunky dialogue and delivery to match. It’s also a shame that the concept of dinosaurs living among us, so heavily introduced prior to and at the start of Dominion, is all but ditched early on in favour of yet another dinosaur habitat in peril storyline, with everyone trying to escape the destruction and chaos that’s developing around them.
It’s not quite the disappointment that many reviews will have you believe, but Jurassic World Dominion does struggle at times, attempting to cram too much in and resulting in a bloated runtime. However, there are still plenty of dino thrills to enjoy along the way and it’s great to have the original trio back too.
Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.