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‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Review: Dinosaurs Roar Again In Exciting Finale (?) Of Universal’s Cash-Cow Franchise

Jurassic World Dominion

Old and new Jurassic casts merge in this sixth and supposedly “final” entry into Universal and Amblin’s now 30-year-old franchise that essentially was broken up into two distinct trilogies, beginning with Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park which delivered three films, and then the Spielberg-produced Jurassic World triple that began in 2015 and now supposedly concludes with Jurassic World Dominion.

I am not sure Universal is really going to let these cinematic dinos roam freely without some other way to exploit the idea hatched by Michael Crichton in his bestselling book about genetically re-created dinosaurs wreaking havoc, but for now we have to accept this is finally “the end.” And if it really is, then the idea really works well here of combining the key castmates of the 1993 original (Laura Dern, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum) with the key cast of the current trilogy (Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard), along with assorted other veterans of the franchise and some choice new characters. Plus, the key story location of Isla Nublar being gone after its total destruction, and with dinos now supposedly roaming the globe and inhabiting the planet with its human population, really adds some fresh meat as it were. If the purity of Crichton’s and Spielberg’s original intention is not quite there, the results of this worldwide invasion is historic, if not quite prehistoric. In any circumstance, if you buy into the new premise there is a lot of fun to be had here, not to mention a nifty day of the locusts thrown in for good measure.

The time period is four years after Isla Nublar’s demise. Owen Grady (Pratt) and now-wife Claire Dearing (Howard) are living in a remote place with their “daughter” Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), whose own genetic background and whose way with dinosaurs is such a prized attraction to those with bad intentions that she must be kept out of society and harm’s way.  Meanwhile, Dr. Ellie Sattler (Dern) and Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) are back in the picture attending a lecture by all-knowing Dr. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) at a biotech company called Biosyn, which supposedly is collecting dinos for research purposes — but you just know that can’t be the real motivation, especially with the villainous Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott returning from 1993’s film) as its shady CEO with malicious plans of his own. Coincidentally, Grady and Dearing turn up at the lecture too through happenstance, and the two legacy casts are cleverly brought together, each with their own interests in making the world a better place in light of not just the global infestation of these man-made dinos but also swarms of locusts that Sattler is particularly interested in studying for environmental purposes.

Of course, returning director Colin Trevorrow and his co-writer this time, Emily Carmichael, know exactly what they are doing in setting a stage for the merging of humans and dinos outside of a controlled single spot, and of course all hell breaks loose. That includes a truly spectacular action set-piece set in Malta that seems part Jurassic, part Bourne (maybe an influence of producer Frank Marshall, who had his hand in both franchises), but it is the new film’s most exciting section, finding new ways to make John Nolan’s stunning dinosaurs work on screen. That however is just one of many more to come, and as Goldblum’s character intones, “Why are they always getting bigger?” you know they have to get much bigger and better to keep this franchise ticking. Audiences who will flock to it will not be disappointed, plus the filmmakers really do have something to say about the way our earth is moving out of our control if we don’t find a way to contain the damage, so much of it man-made. Jurassic is the perfect allegory for what we actually are doing to ourselves.

Along the way we are reintroduced to the man who genetically created this problem, Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong) among others (including fan-favorite dino Blue in an emotional storyline for Pratt’s Grady), plus some new characters including a kick-ass, take-no-prisoners pilot-for-hire named Kayla Watts (a terrific DeWanda Wise), and an intriguing character named Ramsey Cole (perfectly played by Mamoudou Athie) who is Biosyn’s head of communications and heir apparent to CEO  Dodgson. As Maisie, Sermon takes the role (which was her first acting job in Fallen Kingdom) into her pre-teen years with style and confidence. Nice also to have Omar Sy back as Barry Sembene, too.

As you can imagine, the visual effects and overall production values are first-rate including an exceptional score from Michael Giacchino that resists overusing the iconic Jurassic theme music from original composer John Williams, more suggesting it in subtler and effective ways.

Along with Marshall, the film is produced by Patrick Crowley. Universal unleashes it all Friday.

Check out my video review above with scenes from the film. Do you plan to see Jurassic World Dominion? Let us know what you think.




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