Jurassic World Dominion
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Isabella Sermon, BD Wong, Campbell Scott
Released: June 10, 2022
Disclaimer: I apologize if I've misspelled any dinosaur names in this review; why do they have to have the most difficult, hard to spell names?
This movie has a feeling of finality to it, but I have a feeling that this won't be the last Jurassic Park/World movie we'll see.
Boy, there are sure a lot of characters in this movie. There's characters from the first two Jurassic World movies, characters from the original Jurassic Park, new characters that make their debut in this movie, and I'm not even counting the dinosaurs! And pretty much nobody dies except for the bad guys. It's almost like the dinosaurs know who not to attack and eat.
This movie has its fun moments and cool new dinosaurs, but overall, it just felt a little disappointing. I think nothing will ever capture the magic that was the original 1993 Jurassic Park, but I will admit to having fun watching Jurassic World, too. Dominion takes place in real time, four years after the events of Fallen Kingdom, which I barely remembered anything that happened. Luckily I could read my review of it to refresh my memory.
Basically, after the events of that movie, all the dinosaurs are pretty much roaming the Earth freely, living among all of us. Never have I been so glad that this movie is fiction! We get a fictional news show that starts the movie by telling the audience, "To combat the growing threat of illegal poachers, the U.S. Congress awarded sole collection rights to the global giant Biosyn Genetics." This will be our evil cooperation and the CEO is our "bad guy". The CEO just so happens to be Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), the character that was in the first movie. Honestly, I never would have even realized that if it wasn't pointed out to me on a couple movie review podcasts I listened to. He says they are dedicated to the idea that "dinosaurs can teach us more about ourselves" and hopes to study the dinosaurs' "ancient immune systems for unique pharmaceutical properties." He has created a sanctuary for the dinosaurs in the Dolomite Mountains, located in northeast Italy. The decision to put the dinosaurs in this location is baffling. Wouldn't it make more sense to put them on an island? Who's to say they're not just going to cross over into Switzerland or Austria or other European countries? Hell, I'm surprised a pterodactyl didn't fly all the way to Paris and knock over the Eiffel Tower with its massive wing span. Why not just relocate the five million people that reside in New Zealand to Australia (or wherever they want to go) and put the dinosaurs there? No chance of dinosaurs relocating to neighboring countries (well, the flying ones might be able to...).
Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) are still a couple, living together in a shack in the middle of the Sierra Nevada mountains where they are the "parents" of Maisie (Isabella Sermon), the clone girl from the previous movie. I put parents in quotes cuz I'm quite sure they never legally adopted her. She's been living with them for the past four years and they're protecting her because they know there are bad people out there looking for her. This poor girl; having to go from that mansion to this little shack. I bet her room in the mansion was twice as big as the shack she's living in now! No wonder she's so resentful towards them. They have a very strict rule about her not crossing the bridge, but of course she does.
Minions working for the movie's bad guy have tracked down Maisie and they kidnap both her and Baby Blue. Owen and Claire are able to get intel that they're being taken to Malta, and we'll come back to them later.
Meanwhile, in West Texas, a huge swarm of ginormous locusts (seriously, they're the size of my cat ::::shudder:::) take out a huge field. One is captured under a bucket and everybody's favorite paleobotonist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) is there to inspect it. She brings the caged locust to Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and I thought this was the first time we see them in a scene together since Jurassic Park, but they actually had a scene together in JP3. Now, I remember them both being in that movie, but I forgot they actually have a scene together. Also, I had thought both The Lost World and JP3 was erased from the Jurassic World storyline, but this storyline has me rethinking that. I'm not sure if I read somewhere that the second and third JP movies were erased from the canon or I just made that up myself. But here, in this movie, Ellie tells Alan she got divorced and mentions her kids are now in college. Of course, it's in JP3 where we find out she got married and had two kids. I kinda forgot that her and Dr. Grant were romantically involved in the first movie; they acted more like colleagues than a couple.
Okay, now back to Owen and Claire. Maisie and Baby Blue have been kidnapped and Blue, who was knocked down an incline, is snarling at Owen who stands her down and tells her they're going to get her baby back, like the dinosaur can understand English. She snaps at him a few more times, then turns and runs back in the woods.
Like I mentioned, Owen and Claire get intel from the dude who was in Fallen Kingdom that there's going to be a "cash for cargo" exchange in Malta the next day. Apparently there's a black market for dinosaurs in this tiny island country. Who knew. They have people who were recruited by the CIA after the park closed down and Barry (who was in Jurassic World) will be able to help them. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well enough, but honestly, it doesn't really matter. The scene in Malta is just a fun thrill ride, but doesn't really add anything to the plot, besides the fact they find out they're taking Maisie to the Biosyn lab near the Dolomites in Italy. Also, I'm guessing they chose this particular location to house the dinosaurs because they got filming rights in Malta and that was too cool of a place to pass up to film (and it IS cool), so they just made Italy as the permanent home for the dinosaurs. Still think New Zealand would have made much more sense!
A cargo pilot, Kayla, who is paid to transport dinosaurs to Biosyn, sees Maisie who is transported over to some evil, sophisticated European woman named Santos. Kayla just so happens to be in the bathroom of some seedy underground lair where dino fights and illegal sales of dinos occur as the same time as Claire who shows her a picture of Maisie and asks if she's seen her. Kayla just replies she can't get involved and walks away.
Santos finds out that Maisie's "parents" are in town, so she unleashes these atrociraptors (pretty much the same thing as a velociraptor) who are trained to kill people when they see a laser point at them. Um, do raptors really need to be told who to kill? Owen and Claire are separately being chased by these raptors and this is when Owen finds himself between these two big dinosaurs (they were bigger than a raptor, but smaller than a T-rex) and is able to hold his hands up long enough to give them pause, so he can keep running without getting eaten. The fact that both Claire are Owen are outrunning these super fast dinosaurs is a bit absurd. But soon, Owen gets on a motorbike and Claire, after jumping out a window, lands in a truck that just so happens to be driven by Kayla, so she drives Claire to her cargo plane to take her to Biosyn (Claire found out that's where Maisie is being taken).
Kayla is about to start the plane, but here comes Owen, on his motorbike, being chased by a raptor. He manages to steer into the back of the plane, with the raptor right on his tail. The bike slides back, knocking the raptor into the water below them. Claire manages to hang onto a strap and grabs Owen before he can also slide down to the open door.
Kayla only has one ejection seat and it's the one Claire is sitting in, seated behind the pilot's seat. (You would think the pilot seat would have the capacity to be ejected....duh.) Claire is given instructions by Owen to eject and to use the lever if the parachute doesn't come out automatically. He thinks Claire will have the best chance to find Maisie. Claire ejects her seat and a parachute comes out, but is immediately attacked by all the pterodactyls, so she pulls the lever for the extra parachute and lands in a tree. Owen and Kayla crash into a frozen lake. Gee, I wondered if they survived? Well, come back later and find out, but let's see what Alan and Ellie are up to.
They're on a plane flying to the Biosyn lab with Ramsay Cole who is head of communications. We get some exposition as he tells them that Biosyn bought this land in the '90s for the amber deposits (we all know amber is important to the Jurassic storyline!) and have managed to turn it into a "safe haven for about twenty displaced species". They have the first generation dinos from Isla Sorna, but also have most of the ones from Isla Nublar. He also mentions it took them three years to capture the T-rex. Their laboratory is built completely underfund and if they need to herd the dinosaurs to a specific location, they can send "electric signals" with neuro-implants to their brains. Alan and Ellie think this is cruel, that it sounds like they are shocking them. Ramsay asks them, "Do you know how much voltage was in the electric fences at Jurassic Park?" and Grant looks at him like, Duh, yes, of course I do. Nice little callback to the original movie there (and we'll get a few more of those instances).
Ramsay asks Alan and Ellie if they would like to tour the facilities by themselves, which seems odd that they would just let the two of them wander off on their own, but it will make sense a little later. He tells them he'll meet them at a certain location in 30 minutes and makes a big show of telling them which elevators NOT to use and if they do, where it will lead them. Why not just say, "Don't use those elevators, they go to a restricted area?" But again, we'll learn later why he's telling them all this. Oh, alright, I might as well just tell you now: Ramsay is on their side and wants them to steal the DNA of the locust so he's pretty much letting them do it and how to do it, but at this point Ellie and Alan (or the audience) don't know this yet.
So while they're sneaking into the locust area, we see Maisie and a caged Baby Blue are in a room with Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong). Henry tells her they needed Baby Blue to help them study her. I was so confused how Blue had a baby, but Henry explains it by saying when they created her, they gave her monitor lizard DNA and they can produce without a mate. Blue and Baby Blue are genetically identical, which is what they have in common with Maisie and Charlotte. If you remember, Charlotte was the daughter of Charles Lockwood, the guy who was Hammond's partner....they're pretty much characters they retconned into this franchise. Maisie is the clone of Charlotte, who died 13 years ago. They mention she had a genetic disease, which I assumed was why she died, but reading over my Fallen Kingdom review, I mentioned she died in a car crash. Oh, hell, I don't know.
Maisie (and the audience) are given a bombshell when she (and we) learn that it was not her grandfather who created her, but rather Charlotte herself. In a video Maisie watches from 2007, she sees that Charlotte is pregnant with her. Okay, it seems very narcissitic to have a baby who is an exact replica of yourself (not to mention, super boring and very weird...who wants a carbon copy of themselves?) But Charlotte is touted as some super intelligent scientist who's the first person to ever do this (well, duh) and people act like she's the most brilliant being to walk this earth. I swear they said she died of the genetic disease she had, which is why she changed every cell in Maisie's body so she wouldn't have it. (God, that must have been a bitch to change every single cell in a human body!)
Henry tells Maisie that he wants to study her and Baby Blue's DNA; that he could "fix a terrible mistake he's made" (meaning the locust). While Henry is chatting with Dodgson (who is not happy that Henry was showing Maisie videos of Charlotte), Maisie gets up and lets Baby Blue out of her cage. How was she able to do that? Because Henry just left his security bracelet lying on a table in plain sight. Great job, Henry. Unless he did that on purpose because he wanted her to release the baby dino! Dodgson sees them escaping and sounds the alarm. This causes the locusts to go crazy and fly all over the place just as Ellie has extracted the DNA. She and Alan are trying to get out, but their security bracelet has fallen. Maisie has sauntered over to the area where they're in and hears them screaming. They manage to get out and Maisie sees them and knows who they are and that they can be trusted because they do not work for Biosyn. While they're all trying to escape, Ramsay finds them. Remember, I already told you that he's on their side and wanted them to get the DNA sample. He's the one who told Ian about Hexagon Allies. He also tells them something we already know: that Biosyn's responsible for the locust epidemic. I thought for sure he was lying and was only trying to pretend he was on their side and we were going to find out he was with Dodgson all along, but nope, he's actually a good guy and does help them along the way. That's why I already told you he was on their side earlier. He tells them to get on a pod that will take them straight to an airfield where there will be a plane ready to fly.
Okay, let's get back to our other characters and see what's going on with them. Are they all still alive? Of course they are! For now...(no, just kidding...they'll remain alive through the entire movie. None of our heroes will die in this movie).
In the elevator, Kayla mentions she has the tracker so they can find Claire and asks Owen, "You really love her, huh?" to which Owen replies, "Yeah." It gave me a chuckle when Kayla replies with, "I get it. I like redheads, too." This reminded me of when I first saw the previews for Jurassic World and just assumed the redhead was Jessica Chastain, not Bryce Dallas Howard.
It seems like with each Jurassic movie, they need to have a dinosaur that's bigger and badder than the T-rex, who was pretty prominent in the first two movies, but then after that, it sort of fades into the background. We had the Spinosaurus in JP3, then the manmade Indominus Rex and Indoraptor in the first two Jurassic World movies, and now the Giganotasaurus, which, I have to say, doesn't really make that much of an impact in the movie, which is a bit disappointing. It doesn't even kill anyone, good or bad. The T-Rex and Giga fight, for like, ten seconds, before the T-Rex goes away. One of the humans comments, "You put two apex predators in one valley, pretty soon there's only gonna be one." Foreshadowing, perhaps? Yes, yes it is.
When Dodgson discovers that Grant and Saddler have take the locust DNA, he stops the pod and they find themselves in the middle of the old amber mines where they discover that many medium size carnivores called Dimetrodons reside. They run to an exit, but it's caged off and they need a passcode to get out. At this point, Malcolm is there, on the other side of the cage and doesn't seem to be fazed or worried. You see, Ramsay had shown Malcolm (who was fired by Dodgson who suspected him of letting his friends steal locust DNA..not exactly sure what his "job" there was) how to get the cave to where his friends are. You would think Ramsay would know about the passcode and perhaps have told Malcolm what the code is, but no, he did not. WTF? So why is Malcolm so calm while cracking jokes and randomly putting in any four digit code? (He tries Miles Davis's birthday). I have no idea. I guess he knows he's in a movie where none of the good guys will die. He doesn't know the code and there's only so much time that his two friends and a fourteen-year-old girl can hold off the hungry prehistoric carnivores. Luckily, Ramsay is seeing this on the video screen and he is able to access the code from where he is so he types the right one in just as Malcolm types in a random one and Malcolm thinks he got it which is kinda funny.
Maisie and the adults are driving in a Jeep when they see that all the locust have escaped the facility and they have been lit on fire. They realize that Dodgson is burning the evidence. Yeah, he's not doing a very good job, because those massive things don't appear to disintegrate; they just fall to the ground with a thud. The locust starts falling on the Jeep, making them tumble down the hill and, of course, they land right in front of Owen, Claire, and Kayla, so Maisie is reunited with her "parents." But uh-oh, here comes the Giga. We do get a funny moment where both Grant and Owen say, "Don't move." (I thought that was only for the T-rex and I thought that theory got debunked!) Of course, they do move and they start climbing a ladder to the facility up high. There's a steel scaffold between the ladder and as Maisie is climbing the ladder, the Giga puts his jaws right over that scaffolding so she's literally between his jaws. She freezes at first, but Kayla, who is already at the top, encourages her that she can do it and while the Giga rips away the scaffolding, Maisie scurries up the rest of the way.
So now everyone -except Malcolm- is in the treetop facility, but the Giga its still trying to get to them. I mean, he is tall enough to see them! So in a callback to the first movie, Malcolm uses a stick and one of the fiery (dead) locust as a torch to distract the dino. He throws the torch into the Giga's mouth, and after he's shot with a tranquilizer and tasered in the eye by the people in the treetop, he goes away.
At this point, the alarms have been sounded and all the dinosaurs are en route to the emergency containment because they have been "signaled" to go there.
Kayla tells the others there's a helicopter on the main complex. All they need to do is turn the ADS back and and they can fly home. They just need to go to the control room on the third floor, which they do, and Claire recognizes the system as the same one they used at the theme park.
We get a small scene of Malcolm asking Owen about training raptors and he seems pretty skeptical about it, much like everybody else, I'm sure.
In a predictable play, Dodgson is on a pod, getting ready to escape, when it stops after Claire and Ellie have turned off he power and he gets attacked and killed by a pack of dilophosorouses.
When they get safely back, Alan and Ellie kiss and now they are officially together. They've been trying to make them a thing for the entire movie, but honestly, I don't really care. Like I said, I totally forget they were even a couple in the first movie.
We find out that Wu has fixed the locust problem and that Biosyn Valley has been "designated a global sanctuary" where the dinosaurs will "live safe from outside world." I hope they have border patrol!
We do get a cute moment when Owen lets Baby Blue out of her cage and moments later, Blue comes running up and they go scurrying off together, then Blue comes back and give a slight nod to Owen, as though she's thanking him for bringing back her baby and for keeping his promise. It's so ridiculous that it makes me laugh and cry at the same time, just like that scene in The Goonies when Chunk tells Sloth he's going to live with him now.
movie in the Jurassic franchise. There are dinosaurs out in the world living with the rest of the world and while we get a very small portion of that, it's mostly about...locust? What the huh? And it seemed very convenient only bad guys were killed by the dinosaurs. I don't know what the total death count is, but it seems very small.