Jurassic World: Dominion

It certainly hasn’t been 65 million years since we first learned that “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear,” but to see Laura Dern and Sam Neill (ages 55 and 74 respectively) next to the much younger Bryce Howard and Chris Pratt, it sort of feels like it may have been that long. It’s a bit shocking to realize that almost thirty years has gone by since 25-year-old Dern stuck her arm in Stegosaurus dung in that memorable scene from Jurassic Park. And we have aged thirty years as well. If you’re young, the entire series merits a weekend binge. But make no mistake, this is a Jurassic World film. The “Park” team is flattered to be along for the ride, and the ”World” team is honored to work alongside them. 

I’ve written previously about my crude editing of Jurassic Park for viewing by my young children. Today’s kids are used to atrocities on film far worse that a T-Rex eating a guy in an outhouse, but it’s time that this fantastic franchise comes to an end.

 

Jurassic World: Dominion indeed needs to be the final sequel to the best dinosaur film ever. Some segments are more than cute referrals to the five previous films. It’s been too long for that. It feels more like stealing at this point. Perhaps a weak script is to blame, but some segments feel like re-shoots of old material. The special effects didn’t need to improve much over the years since the originals were so good, but certainly the vast increase in computing power has simplified and shortened rendering of a larger stable of extinct beasts.

 

Those beasts have now spread worldwide and are struggling to adapt to a variety of climates, while humans try to get used to coexisting with them. But of course, Lewis Dodgson, the deranged head of Biosyn is out to do more than just control the dinosaurs and help humanity. He’s taken a Monsanto-like approach to genetic engineering of crops that can survive plagues of escaped Cretaceous locusts. That’s the underlying story, with the heroes of Jurassic Park and the new stars of the Jurassic World series on parallel paths to expose Biosyn and also save the cloned granddaughter of John Hammond.

 

The meeting of the two teams of Jurassic stars is probably the most engaging part of the film, unless you consider the abundance of adorable baby dinosaurs. That’s Spielberg playing to the kids in this PG-13 movie, but it works for animal-loving adults too.

 

Despite a somewhat awkward start, some corny dialogue and lots of scene setting and explanations, eventually the film hits its stride and that old about-to-be-eaten dinosaur magic carries the film to Its patented conclusion. Jeff Goldblum is back as Malcolm to inject his dry humor in carefully administered doses. And B. D. Wong returns as Dr. Wu in a last-ditch effort to redeem himself and save the world.

 

Two hours would have been adequate to tell this story, but there’s never a lag in pacing, and the kids will definitely want to see this, maybe with their parents.

 

Jurassic World: Dominion runs 2 hours, 26 minutes and is rated PG-13.

 

 

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