Steven Spielberg’s original Jurassic Park film changed everything when it hit screens in 1993. It not only sparked a new generation of film fans but also taught Hollywood a whole new way to do special effects for those fans. Oh and of course, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it sparked a wave of merchandise with everything from lunch boxes to collector’s cards.
The Jurassic franchise has just seen the release of its sixth film with Jurassic World: Dominion and while none of the following five films have ever gone anywhere close to capturing the magic of Jurassic Park, the Jurassic World half of the franchise has been pretty damn entertaining. Now to try and inject some of that old-school magic back into the franchise, director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) has decided to bring back some of those much-loved characters from the first film.
The world we see in Jurassic World: Dominion is very different to what has existed previously. The events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom has now seen dinosaurs loose all around the world and humanity has had to learn to co-exist with them. For Owen Gardy (Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy) that has been pretty easy – he has simply traded his job at Jurassic World into now finding and helping dinosaurs in the wild. Likewise, his partner Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard – The Help) has been rescuing dinosaurs that have been mistreated. Meanwhile, they also share the responsibility of hiding and protecting their ‘daughter’ Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) from those who want her for scientific purposes.
This crazy new world also sees people such as Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott – The Amazing Spider-Man) finding a way to profit financially and that is what brings Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern – Wild) back into the picture. She is convinced that Dodgson’s company have created genetically modified locusts that are destroying the world’s crops and she reunites with Alan Grant (Sam Neil – The Piano) to help her investigate.
However, when they arrive at Dodgson’s new ‘Jurassic’ base they discover that an old friend, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum – The Fly), is now working for him.
With dinosaurs out and about amongst humanity this should have been the most epic film of this franchise – the mind instantly goes to a T-Rex bringing down the Eiffel Tower or a raptor chasing people through Times Square. But instead Trevorrow and fellow screenwriter Emily Carmichael (Pacific Rim: Uprising) let the film take on a more serious tone – it almost feels like they wanted this film to have a social conscience.
Amongst dinosaur attacks and daring rescue missions the film makes a pretty powerful comment on animal welfare and organisations wanting to use a worldwide emergency as a way to make profit. Those are not what holds this film back from becoming a classic though – no, that is down to the fact that too many interesting characters such as Soyona Santos (Dichen Lachman – The 100) are introduced to the audience hastily and then just disappear. Then there is also the fact that the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World casts are kept apart for far too long and when they are brought together it almost feels clunky.
Mind you there is still a lot to like about this film. Dinosaur fans are going to love the re-emergence of Blue and her new baby Beta (who often steals the show), while there are pretty suspenseful moments of characters having to find unique ways to prevent themselves from becoming dino-lunch. Perhaps the most memorable part of this film though will be the dinosaur battles that certainly don’t disappoint.
Cast-wise it feels like everybody just turned up and did their job without doing anything special. It is great to see Laura Dern and Sam Neil back together on the screen and they play their parts well, while once again Chris Pratt does his action hero shtick remarkably well.
Jurassic World: Dominion is an okay film but to be honest it not only doesn’t capture the magic of the original film, it also isn’t even the best film in the Jurassic World trilogy. The more serious tone that the film takes on makes it really only a film for those who are complete Jurassic tragics.
Jurassic World: Dominion is now showing in Phuket and is rated G.
David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at www.facebook.com/subcultureentertainmentaus