There is a line spoken from Isabella Sermon, who plays Chris Pratt’s and Bryce Dallas Howard’s adopted daughter in Jurassic World Dominion that is a head scratcher. She discovers that the family’s “pet” Velociraptor Blue has had a baby and she says, “But, that’s impossible” because there is no other dino living near the family’s home. With all that has happened within the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World franchise(s), that’s nothing sweetheart. It’s just another implausible situation that these movies are known for. And while movie critics are growing tired of these implausibilities, the fans are not. And because of this, despite Universal stating that the latest dino movie will be the last, it’s hard to fathom that that will be the case.
Like Jaws which premiered many years before, director Steven Spielberg and a terrific screenplay masterfully created this fantasy world and almost made it believable in the 1993’s Jurassic Park. The critics loved it (92% fresh on the Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer), the audience loved it (91% audience score), prepare the sequel. The sequel of course wasn’t warranted, but it’s what we wanted. But the critics disagreed. In fact, with the exception of 2015’s Jurassic World, the critic score has gotten lower with each new sequel. The most recent holding at just 30% “fresh”, but the audience score is still fairly high at 78%.
If you look at all six movies as a whole, the storyline’s credibility has steadily declined from the original which was loosely based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name. But if you take logic out of the equation, this latest romp with the dinos is actually a very fun movie. And it is especially fun in that Universal was able to bring back the three heroes from the first movies and the duo from the last ones.
Jurassic World Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar, the home of the Jurassic Park and later, Jurassic World theme park, was destroyed because of a volcanic inferno. Dinosaurs and now living and flourishing alongside humans all over the world, but they are starting to get a little out of hand. The movie begins with two separate stories that eventually merge into one. Giant locusts are destroying farm crops which is brought to the attention Paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern). Noticing that the locusts skip over crops raised with seeds made by the Biosyn Genetics Company, she suspects that Biosyn is also responsible for creating the locusts. She then seeks the help of her former partner, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill). The two visit the Biosyn Genetics labs where they discover that Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is working there. The three former characters are playing full-sized roles this time around, not just cute cameos.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Maisie, the cloned granddaughter of Benjamin Lockwood, is being pursued by Biosyn Genetics, wanting to study her DNA for who knows why. Kidnappers grab her, poachers steal Blue’s baby and after a series of events, Claire Dearing (Howard) and Owen Grady (Pratt) meet up with Dr. Sattler and Dr. Grant and chaos ensues. Along for the ride is pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) and of course, Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) appears once again working for the wrong side.
Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World Dominion is a fun romp traveling all over the world with many callbacks from the original film. There are lots of dinosaurs filling the scenes and lots of action, but what is lacking is any real tension. The first Jurassic Park was full of long, lingering scenes filled with dread not knowing when the dinosaurs would attack. Here, they are constantly attacking and while it is exciting, it isn’t necessarily scary.
With the last installment into the series, the movie failed to give any good reasons why Maisie was cloned in the first place and this new chapter doesn’t explore much more of this story or why she is being pursued now. It’s a frustrating detail that doesn’t seem to fit with the story.
So, I guess you have a choice when it comes to this latest chapter. Be annoyed with all of the story’s shortcomings or sit back, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show. The movie is still entertaining, which is why we go to see movies in the first place and it is still a fun way to start the summer movie season.
Main Image: the cast of Jurassic World Dominion (Universal)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.