Even among the crowded box office of 2010, “Jurassic World” managed to be one of the most successful franchises of the decade, after “Stars Wars” and the MCU. This despite my worries about the end of the “Jurassic Park” fandom after the disastrous third film in 2001.
The first two films in the new trilogy have grossed $1 billion at the domestic box office, proving there’s still a place in moviegoers’ hearts for man-eating dinosaurs. Now comes the conclusion, “Jurassic World Dominion”, which opens in the 2020s where almost everything underperforms. But this movie is entertaining enough that I don’t see why it can’t be an exception.
The film picks up four years after teenage clone Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) left a cache of dinosaurs outside her grandfather’s compound and out into the world. She now lives in a secluded cabin with former dino keeper Owen (Chris Pratt) and former redemption-seeking exploiter Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard).
She has to be kept hidden from the bad people who want her clone DNA, but she wants to go on an adventure and live her life. She needs rescuing about a minute after setting off on her own, as she gets kidnapped trying to save a raptor, also captured for its DNA.
The world is under attack in this film, not so much by the original liberated dinosaurs, but by dino/locust hybrids that devour all the crops on the planet. That is, all the cultures that are not protected by the company BioSyn, headed by Lewis Dodgson, the original villain of long dismissed “Jurassic Park” (now played by Campbell Scott).
It doesn’t take long for Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) to realize the company is up to something fishy, and she enlists the help of an old friend Alan Grant (Sam Neill) to infiltrate its research facility/sanctuary. of dinosaurs and gather evidence of wrongdoing. The mission should go smoothly, as they have one man inside: Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) works for BioSyn, trying in not-so-subtle ways to destroy the company from within.
Breaking away from the tour led by Ramsay (Mamoudou Athie) is easy enough, but the rest quickly goes haywire like the real “Jurassic.”
Owen and Claire, for their part, follow Maisie to Malta, where they infiltrate a dark dinosaur black market, with exotic steaks and people betting on dinosaur fights. They’re too late to retrieve the child, but they enlist the help of helicopter pilot Kayla (DeWanda Wise), who can take them elsewhere to BioSyn, where Maisie is being held by Dodgson and Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) , the latter having an unusual crisis of conscience.
First, they must get out of Malta, which involves one of the true urban action sequences of these films, as they must navigate a treacherous urban grid à la Jason Bourne, dodging dinosaurs that are manipulated electronically to attack them.
It all ends at BioSyn, where the characters meet (they all know each other because they’ve read each other’s books and articles, that’s all the introduction they need) and have to navigate through a complex filled with dinosaurs.
These movies always have a habit of boiling down to characters having to survive in a complex full of dinosaurs, and at this point the movie really isn’t unique among the rest. But at least we get the relatively creative hunting scene in Malta, and I’m more inclined to root myself in the established characters of Dern, Neill and Goldblum than those of Pratt, Howard and Sermon who never caught on. .
I don’t see much love for “Jurassic World Dominion” from other reviewers, and I can see why, with clunky dialogue and overly familiar action after Malta. But this movie managed to hold my interest just enough that I was willing to give it a recommendation. Considering the underwhelming nature of the rest of this trilogy, “Jurassic World Dominion” is about as good a conclusion as we’d hoped.
“Jurassic World Dominion” is rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, some violence and language. Its operating time is 146 minutes.
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