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Review: ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is a Nostalgic Re-engineering of the Franchise’s Greatest Hits

June 10, 2022Ben MK

One of Steven Spielberg's most beloved films, Jurassic Park featured some of the most groundbreaking uses of computer generated imagery ever seen on the big screen, and unsurprisingly led to not one but two sequels, neither of which could measure up to their blockbuster predecessor. Now, seven years after director Colin Trevorrow took over the franchise and evolved it into Jurassic World, the cast of both the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies are joining forces for the first time ever. But does Jurassic World: Dominion manage to live up to the hype, or is this final installment in Trevorrow's trilogy a Tyrannosaurus-sized disappointment?

Set in the aftermath of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the story sees our planet dealing with a dinosaur crisis, following the unintentional unleashing of hundreds of the creatures upon an unsuspecting global population. But while there are some who are trying their best to coexist with their new prehistoric neighbors, others — such as Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) — are determined to use the animals to further their own sinister agendas. The CEO of a major pharmaceutical corporation called Biosyn, Lewis has recruited some of the scientific community's most brilliant minds and built a state-of-the-art facility high atop Italy's Dolomite Mountains, where he aims to bring together all of the world's dinosaurs to study them and use them to engineer all-new breeds. However, when one of Biosyn's secret projects — one involving the creation of a new species of giant, deadly locust — threatens to become an even greater danger to humanity, it will be up to some familiar faces to stop him.

Those faces, of course, belong to Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, who once again reprise their roles as Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom protagonists Owen Grady and Claire Dearing. Now the guardians of 14-year-old Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the world's first human clone and the granddaughter of Jurassic Park co-founder Benjamin Lockwood, Owen and Claire have left behind their old lives and dedicated themselves to protecting Maisie from those who seek to imprison and study her. Yet, despite their best efforts, not even they can prevent Biosyn's mercenaries from catching up with Maisie. And when the same mercenaries also capture Beta, the offspring of Owen's former raptor, Blue, it sets the stage for a team-up between the series' past and present characters, as Owen and Claire must work with Jurassic Park protagonists Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to rescue Maisie and Beta, as well as get to the bottom of the terrifying locust epidemic that's been spreading like wildfire around the planet.

An adventure 65 million years in the making and then some, what follows doesn't just take a page out of the previous Jurassic films, but also from the James Bond and Indiana Jones movies, as our heroes journey across multiple continents in an attempt to thwart Biosyn's plans, outrunning and outsmarting enemies of both the reptilian and human variety along the way. But although there's certainly something to be said for the filmmakers' efforts to create the most grandiose entry in the franchise to date, not even the most action-packed set piece can disguise the fact that audiences have seen this sort of spectacle before. And while Dominion tries to elicit further excitement by throwing a few new characters and dinosaur species into the mix, none of that adds any real depth to the overall endeavor, making it all feel like a shallow re-engineering of the series' greatest hits.

On the plus side, those in the mood for a moderately entertaining, dino-themed diversion will still be relatively pleased. After all, this is the type of sequel made specifically to appeal to moviegoers' nostalgia for the films they grew up with. And in that respect, the result does a decent job leveraging our collective adoration for the 1993 original, not to mention its underrated followup, 1997's Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Based solely on its own merits, however, Jurassic World: Dominion is overwhelmingly less than the sum of its parts. And while only time will tell if this truly is the last we'll see of the franchise, it's only fair to say that the once-mighty series has — at least, for now — concluded with a whimper, rather than a triumphant roar.

Jurassic World: Dominion releases June 10th, 2022 from Universal Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for intense sequences of action, some violence and language. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 26 min.

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