In a bizarre reality where paths cross and humans and dinosaurs live simultaneously, Jurassic World Dominion begins four years after Isla Nublar was been destroyed in the last film, consequently allowing the prehistoric creatures to roam freely across the globe. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, Dominion is the conclusion to the Jurassic era and the plot revolves around two different generations that meet for the first time. With a star-studded lineup, we see Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard take centre stage as they join alongside the original 1993 cast consisting of Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill.
Watching the film in an advance showing at Cineworld IMAX in Leicester Square, the large IMAX screen is created for films of this calibre. The scale of the screen magnified the sheer size of some of the dinosaurs, as they topple almost six times the size of humans who now willingly or unwillingly need to live in harmony amongst the creatures.
The film is split into two plots, the first of the two follows Owen, Claire and Maisie who reside in an isolated cabin to avoid people finding Maisie, who is in hiding. In the last movie, it was discovered that Maisie was a clone and both Owen and Claire took Maisie under their wing to protect people from experimenting on her, however, it didn’t go to plan. She gets kidnapped along with a baby Raptor who lives near the cabin and is the offspring of Blue who Owen trained during his time in Jurassic World theme park.
The second plot re-introduces Dr. Ellie Sattler from the original Jurassic Park movie, who investigates mutant locusts that are ruining crops and therefore back into contact with Alan Grant, who was also a key character in the original movie Jurassic Park to help her. All roads lead to Biosyn, a genetics company that also owns a dinosaur sanctuary in the Dolomites in Italy. Not only have they taken Maisie and the baby raptor, but they also look to be the source of the locust infestation, which has become a profound ecological threat.
The storyline veers from the overused plot where there is a tug between the morality of allowing the dinosaurs to co-exist and the petition to erase them from existence. However, this time it felt there were more stakes as there was a huge global ecological threat. It wasn’t a dinosaur issue, it was a threat beyond even the dinosaurs. The swarms of mutant locusts pose huge repercussions that would mean not only humans would starve, but the animals that people eat would starve too. I felt this was something that the previous films lacked, this time there were multiple hurdles to jump over.
The plot heavily relies on the bonds forged in both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World to come together. Alan Grant and Dr Ellie Sattler awkwardly rekindle their working relationship, which instantly feels like it stretches out of that territory and into more of a romantic one. Whilst on their mission to get to the bottom of the locust infestations they meet with Dr Ian Malcolm played by Jeff Goldblum and they reunite. The synergy between the three is nostalgic and as a fan of the franchise, it was great to see them come full cycle as they are fully immersed in the action.
The bond between Owen, Claire and Maisie gets tested as Owen and Claire take on the parental figure for Maisie. When she gets kidnapped it gives them that instinctual drive to combat anything in their way to find her. As it’s four years since the film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom we find that Maisie is now an angsty teenager and Owen and Claire navigate dealing with a girl in the throes of her teenage years. What was quite clear from the first Jurassic World movie was that Claire wasn’t all too comfortable looking after kids, especially teens. In the first movie, she escaped her aunty duties as she left her nephews in the not so capable hands of her assistant, which led them to run off and almost be killed by dinosaurs on multiple occasions. This time she takes the disciplinary method as she is the strict guardian. There was a longing but also a fear that Claire had with the thoughts of becoming a mother and I felt this movie allowed her to take on that maternal role and we could see the depths she would go to save Maisie as if she was her own child. There is a poignant moment later where she acknowledges that she is now a mother and there was a sense of pride that she carried.
Compared to previous films, this film took more risks, which could equally make it feel like it is veering away from the core of what makes a dinosaur movie. This was quite apparent in the scene set in Malta where they try and find Maisie. Carnage ensues as caged dinosaurs are unleashed to kill Owen and Claire or anyone in the direct path of the dinosaur, as a distraction from finding Maisie. This whole sequence of the movie felt like a spy movie as the good guys try to defeat the enemy to get the kidnapper. Full of car chases, jumping off buildings and motorcycle chases at some points I forgot this was a dinosaur movie as the scene juxtaposes what we’d typically see. I don’t think my mind could wrap around the fact that dinosaurs were chasing humans in the middle of Malta. I did feel it was a good risk to take and it gave the plot more action sequences and it allowed the momentum to build, even though it seems quite nonsensical.
Steeped in nostalgia, I felt overall this film gave it a great go in trying to forge together characters in Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. My favourite film out of the Jurassic World films the film was thrilling, high energy and had a lot of moments where it could have been game over for the main characters. Equally, I felt at some points the plot felt rushed and oversimplified especially when it came to finally merging the Jurassic World and Jurassic Park characters together. I also felt that they overused the predictable touch and go moments with dinosaurs and all the main characters still remain unscathed. The introduction of Kayla Watts, played by DeWanda Wise and Mamoudou Athie who starred as Ramsay Cole head of communications at Biosyn was great casting choices and they gave fresh energy to the film. There was a lot of character progression for Claire and Owen, as they launched into parenthood. We also get to see a new side of the formidable Dr Henry Wu, who is the shell of the person he used to be and begins to grow his moral backbone.