Continuing from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), Jurassic World Dominion is a whole new story. The world has changed forever with dinosaurs now roaming our Earth once again. In the present day, Owen (Chris Pratt) is living with Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), and under their care is Maisie (Isabella). They also keep a check on the charming and cute raptor, Blue. While life for Owen seems peaceful and away from trouble, things soon get out of hand when both Blue and Maisie are kidnapped, sending Owen and Claire on a rescue mission.
At the same time, we are introduced to another subplot that begins with the return of Dr Sattler (Laura Dern). Dr Sattler is investigating something quite bizarre that threatens our world forever, but she can’t do it all on her own. She soon requests help from someone once close to her, Dr Alan Grant (Sam Neill).
Jurassic World Dominion is a brainless action film packed with some moments of fun. If you’re seeking an action film with various fast-paced stunts and action sequences involving dinosaurs, this instalment will bring joy to your heart. If you hope the film will be suspenseful and darker like the original, you may be disappointed. The sixth instalment of the franchise contains various subplots, some interesting and some lacking excitement.
If you’ve seen the trailers, it’s no secret that several returning characters from Jurassic Park (1993) also return in this all-new instalment. The returning characters are welcoming here and bring a comforting presence as franchise fans go down memory lane. Returning characters also manage to deliver either comic or heartfelt moments. Jeff Goldblum steals the shows with both his charm and comedic timing. Actor Sam Neill sadly looks baffled and confused, especially during the first act, and feels out of place. Laura Dern, for the most part, is fine and pleasing. The introduction of new characters played by Mamoudou Athie and DeWanda Wise were major standouts, and I found their new characters quite appealing and enjoyable to see.
However, while moments of action are fun and seeing familiar faces is exciting, I’m saddened to say the weaker aspect of this film is the different plots. They are generally basic, and it almost feels like writers are becoming quite stumped about what else they do; after all, this is the sixth instalment. There are moments in this new installation that feel like attempts to patch up subplots or storylines from the previous film. Sometimes, these fixes are lazy and simply done through dialogue before the plot moves along again. Like The Last Jedi carrying over to The Rise of Skywalker, plot devices from the previous instalment are carried over into this new film whether fans like it.
There are many moments where our leads advance by fluke or accident, making our once loved heroes clumsier and more accidental than previously seen. Sadly, the film’s villain is one of the worst I’ve seen in quite some time, and for the sake of spoilers, that’s all I will say. Lastly, the return of Owen and Claire is enjoyable whenever the two share the screen, but as characters, there are no major advancements. Given how many characters appear in this film, I can’t help think that because Chris Pratt is given less screen time the return is that his character lacks substance and growth.
Overall, it’s a pleasing instalment if you are here for the brainless dinosaur action, but I fear for some fans that this could stand out like a “saur” thumb with its attempts to patch up the story. The introduction of new characters is a major plus and felt welcoming, as is seeing the originals return and combine with the new cast. But as a sixth instalment, our heroes are more lucky than skilled, and there are no major scary moments or life-threatening situation that put fear in the audiences. Visual effects have moments that look incomplete and rushed. In the end, I enjoyed all that was on display and was entertained, but would I rush out again urgently for a rewatch? Not really. It’s an above satisfying instalment, but opportunities are missed even more so with the return of legacy characters.
9th June 2022
Written by Peter Walkden
Peter Walkden at the Queensland Red Carpet preview screening at Reading Cinemas Newmarket