Rob Reviews "Jurassic World: Dominion"
Have you ever gone to a concert for a band you have been a fan of for a very long time and had that experience where you know you are going to have to sit through the stuff from “the new album” but it’s okay because you get enough of the greatest hits that you still leave happy?
I give you “Jurassic World: Dominion”.
In what is billed as the “epic conclusion” to at least the second trilogy (I find it hard to believe this isn’t the finale for both of them), it’s shortly after the events of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” where the dinosaurs are now loose and live along side of the rest of the world in a time that is strange for EVERYONE. With different effects on the ecologies of the world, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Deering (Bryce Dallas Howard) are hiding out in the boondocks as they protect Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) from those who would want her for their own diabolical reasons. In the midst of all of this, Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) reunites with Alan Grant (Sam Neill) as she investigates other evil things that are being cooked up in the labs at BioSyn under its leader, Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott). Under the guise of curious parties called there by on-campus instructor Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Sattler and Grant look to find evidence of Dodgson’s plans while on a destined collision course with their contemporaries.
As much as I absolutely had nothing when it came to the two films that preceded “Dominion,” this one was a pleasant surprise. The technology advances since the original “Jurassic Park” are just subtle enough that keeps the realism intact, but I honestly feel they have evolved their special effects combined with the practical ones in a way that still makes the almost-thirty-year-old blockbuster able to be re-visited without going “that is SO old school”. Also, with established characters like we have in all of the films leading up to this one, it’s like sitting on your favorite couch and knowing how the evening is going to go in the best of possible ways.
However, let’s address that last point for just a second. When I found out that all six of the principal characters from the franchise would all be in the same film, I was worried that this would turn into a traffic jam of performance that would convolute the story itself. It does feel that way as the film gets under way (the first thirty minutes in general is a bit all over the place both metaphorically and literally on an almost Bond-ian level), but by the third act it all comes together in the manner I was hoping that it would. The addition of DeWanda Wise (“The Harder They Fall,” which automatically gets her a pass with me) as Kayla Watts was a high point for me, while I wish more had been done with Mamoudou Athie (“The Get Down”s Grandmaster Flash, also a pass) as Ramsay Cole in the final analysis of it all.
Although this thing runs almost two-and-a-half hours, using the word “slog” doesn’t quite say what I want it to. If the previously mentioned first half-hour continued the rest of the film on that pace, I would have happily used that word to describe my experience, but once it got its wheels underneath it, it moved along quite nicely with a good balance of both story and action. There are a couple of characters that I wish were fleshed out a bit more, but that was not enough to take me out of it either.
For over half my life, this franchise has defined the style of blockbuster summer movies that we have come to know, and if this truly is the last dance for the “Jurassic” franchise, I am good with them putting it to bed with “Jurassic World: Dominion”. I may actually go back and see it again in a premium format to get the entire experience. Let THAT sink in.