JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION Review: "Fueled By Nostalgia & Epic Action, This Is Pure Dino Mayhem At Its Finest"

Jurassic World: Dominion has finally arrived and with the embargo now up, we're able to share our unadulterated thoughts on the biggest dinosaur blockbuster yet. Come check out our review now!

So, here we are, the endgame. Thirty years after Jurassic Park stole our hearts, the franchise’s grand finale, Jurassic World: Dominion, has arrived, raising the stakes to an unprecedented global scale and uniting the World ensemble with the legacy Park cast for an adventure 65 million years in the making.

**This review may contain minor spoilers from Jurassic World: Dominion**

The best and possibly only way to describe Jurassic World: Dominion is mayhem... pure, unadulterated dinosaur mayhem.

The film picks up four years after the events of Fallen Kingdom and wastes very little time getting us right back into the thick of the action, quickly reintroducing this world where dinosaurs now run free. Returning players Owen (Chris Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and Maisie (Isabella Sermon) have formed their own little family and live in relative isolation, with their old Velociraptor pal Blue and her cute offspring Beta watching from a distance. Everyone’s a bit restless, but keeping Maisie off the grid is of the utmost importance since evil corporations are seeking to get their hands on her DNA, which could result in either the salvation or destruction of humanity at large.

Unfortunately for them, both Maisie and Beta end up getting captured by Biosyn and the film quickly becomes a race against the clock for Owen and Claire to track down their adopted daughter and Blue’s baby before it’s too late. Their search takes them across the globe and sets them on a collision course with the heroes of Jurassic Park.

As for those legacy characters, their story is set in motion by everyone’s favorite paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), who, thanks to a tip from Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), is investigating the appearance of prehistoric locusts that are devastating non-Biosyn crops across the globe, threatening mass starvation. However, before she pays a visit to their labs, she seeks out the only man she can trust: Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who is exactly where you’d expect to find him. It doesn’t take a lot of convincing before the pair head straight into the belly of the beast.

Jurassic World: Dominion essentially operates as two separate films, with the legacy characters on their own journey while the new-gen characters have their own unique storyline, until both sides conveniently converge. Director Colin Trevorrow gives himself an interesting balancing act and mostly manages to pull it off, delivering a thoroughly enjoyable and wickedly chaotic dinosaur blockbuster, with some of the franchise’s most exciting action sequences. But it’s ultimately the high-quality actors involved and a heavy dose of nostalgia that end up elevating a shockingly subpar screenplay.

Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum are an absolute delight in this film, and seeing the Jurassic Park trio back on-screen together is a complete dream come true. They are the strongest characters in the entire franchise and shine every moment they’re on screen. Neill and Dern have endearing chemistry for the ages while Goldblum is effortlessly charming and perpetually hilarious. This film’s biggest triumph is bringing these three iconic actors back together, and while their plotline leaves much to be desired, there is no one having more fun in this movie than the JP originals.

They also receive a welcome assist from Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino, whose updated theme for the trio is breathtaking along with the rest of his fantastic score.

As for the Jurassic World cast, while DeWanda Wise is a standout as the pilot Kayla Watts and Isabella Sermon is increasingly impressive as a now-teenage Maisie Lockwood, it’s Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard who almost feel like afterthoughts in their own movie. Both are still reliably engaging, but Owen and Claire don’t quite stack up with the stronger legacy characters in the film, and every time they weren't sharing scenes with dinosaurs, it just felt like they were kind of slowing down the breakneck pace of the movie.

In terms of action, Dominion is an absolute blast. The motorcycle chase sequence with the Atrociraptors and other dinosaurs running amok in the streets of Malta is a complete show-stopper, while the Pyroraptor on ice sequence is its own kind of thrill ride. There are cool scenes with the Therizinosaurus, Deinonychus, and more too, but some are too spoiler-y to talk about. Then, the tense pre-finale sequence with the Giganotosaurus will have you on the edge of your seat, setting the stage for the franchise's biggest finale yet, which delivers just like a big summer blockbuster should, giving us the dinosaur-on-dinosaur action we have all been waiting for.

Trevorrow played a big role in reinvigorating the long-dormant Jurassic Park series back in 2015 and remains one of the franchise's biggest champions, so Jurassic fans will remain forever grateful and he deserves some slack for finishing this film during a pandemic, but while his direction remains relatively sharp, he’s let down by his own confounding screenplay, which he co-wrote with Emily Carmichael. It’s billed as the biggest dinosaur film ever, but for whatever reason, it isn't really about dinosaurs at all.

They’re certainly the main attraction, but the direct threat is coming from Biosyn (an evil corporation that only book readers or ardent fans of the original will even remember) and their locusts, rather than the fact that there are freaking dinosaurs running around eating people on a daily basis. The locusts post an apocalyptic-level threat, sure, but it's never really treated as such, so the stakes never feel as high as they should, and again, we'd all rather see dinosaurs than giant crickets!

The word “dominion” literally means supreme authority, but that subtitle seems to refer more to humanity retaining their dominion rather than dinosaurs taking theirs back. The Prologue with the T-Rex is sorely missed and should've been kept in the final product and the four-year time jump doesn’t help the proceedings, either, since the most dangerous dinos have predominantly been captured by the start of the film and are now essentially being kept in a new park - yes, really. Bringing the sextology to a close was certainly a tall order and it’s hard to say that Trevorrow didn’t necessarily accomplish what he initially set out to do seven years ago by delivering a true Jurassic World, but he also leaves a lot to be desired.

While Dominion has all the makings of a must-see blockbuster, from the legacy cast to the franchise’s biggest dinos yet, it never quite feels like a major event - which is odd, to say the least. Conversely, it does feel like a conclusion of sorts while also leaving the door ajar for a new beginning, where potentially more interesting stories could be told with this same batch of characters and/or possibly some new ones.

Jurassic World: Dominion is pure dinosaur mayhem at its finest, 100% fueled by nostalgia and amplified by epic dinosaur action, making it one of the more fun films of the summer. Due to a so-so story, enjoyment will likely heavily depend on your investment in the series, but if you’re looking for two hours of chaotic entertainment, then this is definitely the film for you.

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