It sometimes feels like blockbuster sequels are doomed to fail, at least with critics, just because they’re made with pure entertainment in mind. If you’re a moviegoer headed into this latest entry in the “Jurassic Park” franchise expecting high art, you’re doing it wrong.
“Jurassic World: Dominion” isn’t the type of movie that will challenge or push your brain to its limits — and it doesn’t have to be. This sequel (from director Colin Trevorrow) is operating at a full-tilt pace and is packed with exciting action scenes, has a solid story, compelling bad guys, and features dinosaurs aplenty.
In what is being billed as the “epic conclusion” to the franchise, the film takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. Dinosaurs now live alongside humans and have assimilated into our world. Former park operations manager turned animal rights activist Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) has devoted her time to rescuing abused dinosaurs. She makes her home in a remote cabin with former raptor trainer Owen (Chris Pratt), and the two have become parental figures to cloned teenager, Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon).
The sketchy Biosyn Genetics medical corporation, which now does extensive research at their dinosaur sanctuary and laboratory facility, want (and need) Maisie’s DNA for a sinister project that will control the world’s food supply.
Investigating giant locusts that are wiping out crops throughout the Midwest, Paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) discovers that Biosyn may be behind the pests, and she enlists her former paleontologist partner Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) for help. They get a little insider help from old friend Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum), who now lectures at the company. Worlds collide when, with a little help from rogue pilot Watts (DeWanda Wise), Owen and Claire also end up at Biosyn on a mission to rescue Maisie. It’s a complicated story with an overabundance of plot, and a whole lot of dinos.
As is the case with many big budget action movies, the story takes a backseat to the action. The script here is decent enough, even if the characters aren’t particularly well-developed. Trevorrow and co-writer Emily Carmichael rely heavily on nostalgia to tell the story for him (it’s a lot of fun to see the OG cast, and any movie will benefit from an appearance by Goldblum), and the dialogue barely tips past a 5th grade reading level. There’s a jarring dose of philosophical ideas about co-existing with other creatures on the planet that’s thrust into the beginning and ending, but it’s also commendable that Trevorrow and Carmichael took advantage of the opportunity to make a statement with their story.
Fans of dinosaurs will get their fill, even if the grand finale T-Rex battle would be better suited for a “Godzilla” movie. The special effects are mostly well done, and the action sequences are genuinely thrilling. I’d recommend seeing this one on the largest screen you can find.
This is a movie that will appeal to all ages, and it’s the perfect way to escape the summer heat. In other words, “Jurassic World: Dominion” is everything you’d want out of a summer popcorn flick.