Steven Spielberg’s 1993 original “Jurassic Park” is a filmmaking masterpiece. Combining the use of animatronics and computer-generated imagery, Spielberg was able to bring the dinosaurs to life and create a realistic visual experience. Fast forward to today, and none of the Jurassic films seem to be able to capture the same magic as the original. They feel more like theme park rides. “Jurassic World: Dominion” is the third and final film in the Jurassic World reboot trilogy and is rumored to be the final chapter of the entire Jurassic franchise. Which is a good idea because it’s time for this franchise to go extinct.
“Dominion” picks up four years after the events of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” where humans now co-exist with dinosaurs. This could have been an exciting story, but director/co-writer Colin Trevorrow decided to take a different approach, and surprisingly, the central story is not about dinosaurs.
One of the storylines follows Biosyn (a sinister clue in the name), an international genetics/agricultural corporation that maintains a positive public image. They have set up a research and development facility for dinosaurs—led by an evil-esq Elon Musk-like CEO, Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott). Dodgson’s master plan is to use bioengineered locusts to take control of the world’s food supply, which ironically might end up wiping it out entirely.
Meanwhile, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) live in a remote mountain cabin where they act as surrogate parents to Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the first human clone in existence. Trying to keep her safely hidden fails when poachers kidnap Maisie and a baby velociraptor, which leads Owen and Claire on a mission to find her. With help from other underdeveloped characters, they track her to Biosyn headquarters.
Another storyline involves the stars of the original Jurassic Park trilogy, Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Dr. Ellie Sattler investigates the genetically altered locusts that appear to attack farms that don’t use Biosyn seed. Ellie easily convinces her former partner, Dr. Alan Grant to join her on a trip to Biosyn’s headquarters to find out if the corporation is responsible for the super-sized locusts. Biosyn isn’t easy to get into, but with the help of Dr. Ian Malcolm, who may be on the company’s payroll, is able to get the duo to tour the facility.
Seeing new breeds of dinosaurs as they adapt to their surroundings was refreshing. We’ve never seen dinosaurs lurking in a snowy mountain landscape setting. The film’s effects, mixed with animatronics and CGI, are acceptable but lack the awe factor that made Spielberg’s a classic. Michael Giacchino composed a score that pays homage to the great John Williams’s original theme; hearing that sent chills down my spine. Seeing the legacy characters come back added a sense of nostalgia and familiarity that was much needed. Jeff Goldblum is hilarious and gives the most memorable performance as he states what we’re thinking out loud.
“Dominion” has a hard time figuring out what genre it wants to be and what story to tell in it. It’s an ambitious film, but with all the different storylines not flowing seamlessly, it’s messy and feels disjointed. The dinosaur battles were lackluster and less impressive this time around. I wish the story did a better job at creating a tension like Spielberg was able to capture in the original. The fast pacing-scene jumping doesn’t create a sense of danger or urgency. The idea of dinosaurs and humans coexisting could’ve made great storytelling, but the film doesn’t pick a lane to stay in. It’s time for the franchise to take a long sabbatical.