‘Jurassic World Dominion’ marks extinction for beloved franchise

Ryan Ranc, Life & Arts Reporter

Dinosaurs roam the earth, free to eat both plants and people in “Jurassic World Dominion,” exclusively in theaters June 10. Many original cast members of “Jurassic Park” return, including Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum).

Biosyn, the movie’s scientific research company, leads the dinosaurs to a sanctuary to conduct DNA tests and give them a better home while the world debates politics of having dinosaurs merge with humanity. Meanwhile, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) live off the grid, hiding a clone girl named Maisie (Isabella Sermon) they took in from “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” Ellie discovers a sudden influx of swarming locusts that have been consuming the world’s crops may have a nefarious origin. The plotlines converge when all main characters cross paths and maneuver the consequences of prehistoric predators mixing with humanity.

Of the entire “Jurassic Park” franchise, this movie includes the least amount of dinosaur-based scenes. “Jurassic World Dominion” was advertised as a movie that would look at global outcomes of dinosaur research, but all audiences get is a few scenes with dinosaurs bugging people. Despite little to no dinosaur action scenes in the first two acts, the film becomes dinosaur mania by the third. Only a handful of people die from dinosaur attacks. It may sound weird to be disappointed about that, but for a movie about dinosaurs becoming a part of our food chain, they really should be eating more people. Criticism aside about the lack of dinosaurs, the film’s few dinosaur scenes are all beautifully shot and suspenseful. They may provide the typical and repetitive “person getting chased by dinosaurs and hiding” trope, but it would be a lie to say these scenes aren’t fun to watch.

This movie feeds on nostalgia by bringing back the original cast and making references to the ‘90s franchise. Though sentimental callbacks are common in modern-day blockbusters, on-the-nose references in “Jurassic World Dominion” can be exhausting at times. There are plenty of moments between Ellie, Alan and Malcolm where audiences will adore the cast’s chemistry, but ultimately these scenes prove repetitive and feel too much like the director and writer of the movie are giving a big wink to the audience. Goldblum may be the only part of the nostalgia trip that never gets exhausting. His jokes are hilarious and he chews up the scenery every time he’s on screen. 

“Jurassic World Dominion” offers an excellent concept, but executes the plot poorly. If a story revolves around how humanity adapts to living with dinosaurs, the implications of dino-human interaction should be considered on a more global scale. The writers cared more about how locusts were affecting the world than dinosaurs. Every dinosaur plotline felt secondary and took a back seat, which feels wrong considering “Jurassic World Dominion” marks the final movie in the franchise. There are some well-executed story elements that could have been expanded upon, like companies utilizing the environment for economic control and dinosaur black markets.

“Jurassic World Dominion” is an average movie. The story feels lazy, the writing feels weak, the dinosaurs are sparse and overall, it shows that maybe this franchise should go extinct. The film’s reliance on nostalgia creates another issue. It’s great to see the original cast return, but many times nostalgia feels forced and too convenient. Nevertheless, seeing the end of the Jurassic Era of cinema will bring a tear to audiences’ eyes.

3 dino DNA out of 5