Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) is exactly the movie you’d expect. If you love dinosaurs and the Jurassic Park franchise, you will love this love letter of a film addressed specifically to you. If you fall more on the critical side of things, valid or otherwise, you will have the usual feeling that beyond the grand spectacle, the ‘math ain’t mathing’ in the film. Either way, the film is the big, bombastic action-horror thriller finale that everyone is expecting.
Humans Are Always The Problem (And Only Part of The Solution)
The [SPOILER-Free] story of Jurassic World: Dominion is that the humans never learned from their mistakes from the previous films, science is still running amok, and the world is paying the price. The dinosaurs released in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) have entered the world’s ecosystems, creating an ecological disaster. Biosyn, the shady company that tried to steal embryos in Jurassic Park (1993), is handling the global relocation of the dinosaurs. Apparently, being unilaterally appointed by the U.S. Government. This seems a bit tone-deaf for a 2022 film, but on-brand for the self-importance of American corporations and their fans. Not to be outdone by the mistakes of previous films, Biosyn creates a brand-new ecological disaster. The new ecological disaster on top of the wild dinosaurs for nebulously evil and corporate greed feels unnecessary. From a storytelling perspective, it’s a plot device to get our main cast and the dinosaurs all in one location. After all, that’s what we came to see, dinosaurs chomping down on people. Why the filmmakers felt like the dinosaur relocation and Biosyn’s corruption were not enough, is puzzling, but ultimately inconsequential. The motivation and plot are done well enough for suspension of disbelief.
It’s A Jurassic World- Bigger, Faster, And Stronger
Bringing the cast to the dinosaurs consumes the first half of the film. Thankfully, there are action sequences to temper the slower beginning. However, there lies another potential flaw in the film. Since the release of the Jurassic Park requel, Jurassic World(2015), the films began integrating more action-thriller tropes, and these have had mixed reactions from fans. The feeling of Jurassic World: Dominion is a big summer action blockbuster, with many sequences following the ‘rule of cool’, rather than realistic outcomes for human-dinosaur combat. There are explosions, gun battles, hand-to-hand combat, motorcycle vs raptor races, and dinosaur-kaiju style battles. These action tropes compete with the horror of wild dinosaurs. These action sequences also blur the line between Chris Pratt’s roles as Owen Grady and Starlord (Guardians of the Galaxy). Even Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) has picked up some action heroine moves that were entertaining to watch. But, your mileage varies on if these action tropes are good or bad for the franchise.
Horror or Action Thriller? Does It Even Matter?
While awesome to watch, these tropes also have the unfortunate consequence of giving ammo to would-be critics that deny the franchise is horror. They also create some fridge logic moments. For instance, the use of raptors for militaristic weapon purposes becomes farfetched when raptors ignore everyone, but our main cast because a pseudo villain uses a glorified laser pointer to “mark” them. The filmmakers obviously needed a way to make the raptors only focus on our heroes despite the crowds of people. In-universe, it stretches the suspension of disbelief. However, to the filmmaker’s credit, it is super cool!
Then, there are the two back-to-back raptor chase sequences. In the first sequence, a character outmaneuvers a raptor on foot, which seems impossible given previous films. But, worse than that, the same raptors keep pace with both the motorcycle and the car in the very next sequence. One raptor even overtakes the motorcycle! In a word, the plot armor is heavy for our main cast. But, this is to be expected honestly.
Jurassic World: Dominion banks on heavy nostalgia, suspension of disbelief, and a rule of cool. The nostalgia operates in the many callouts from the original trilogy (Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park 3) that are not explained within this film but are well understood by anyone who has seen the classic films. There are many plot points from the requel trilogy (Jurassic World, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) that are resolved. We even get closure to a 30-year romance in the making. That is ultimately the reward (or weak spot depending on vantage point) here: a movie for long-term fans that pays homage to the classic film that started it all.
Jurassic World Is For Everyone
This is not to suggest that the film does not have something for everyone. There is increased representation in Ramses, Kayla, and Barry. Kayla even hints at a possible LGBT identity (though this is not explored meaningfully). The older cast is treated well, and through example, proves the viability of older actors in action-oriented films. Nature is given reverence. Science is respected for the fearsome power that it holds. Finally, the dinosaurs themselves are treated with wonder and compassion throughout the film by most parties involved. The ending itself involving Biosyn’s comeuppance is sure to please crowds who are tired of political and corporate corruption going unchecked in media and reality.
Jurassic World: Dominion is exactly what you expect: a fusion of nostalgia, rule of cool, love of dinosaurs, and a desire to make a summer blockbuster. They succeed on the technical level. And on a personal level, they succeed at crafting a love letter to fans of the Jurassic era.