Jurassic World Dominion review: Dino fatigue

A valley in the Dolomites, Italy, is filled with dinosaurs and their human researchers. Among them are a Giganotosaurus and a T-Rex, the largest known dinosaur carnivores, besides a whole lot of smaller, vicious-looking species. What could go wrong?

It’s the same as the previous five editions of the Jurassic series, which began in 1993, recycling the same story—an idyllic setting that’s shattered by these scary creatures running amok—and various actors playing scientists, palaeontologists, adventurers and so on.

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In Jurassic World Dominion, dinosaurs coexist with humans in a fragile balance that many find difficult to cope with. When ambitious businessman Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), head of a biotech company Biosyn, seeks world dominance through their research into various dinosaurs, he is setting himself up. What could go wrong? Well, genetically altered locusts that are destroying crops, for one.

Somewhere in an isolated log cabin, dino chaser Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and former park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) are parents to a teen clone Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). But when she (and an infant raptor) gets kidnapped, they find themselves fighting off mercenaries and black marketers in Malta before tracking both down at Biosyn’s secure facility.

Across the United States, Jurassic alumni Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Alan Grant (Sam Neill) team up to solve the mystery behind the mutant locusts, assisted by another alumnus, Ian Malcolm, played with enduring delight by Jeff Goldblum.

All roads converge at Dodgson’s sanctuary, and now that all players from across six films and every existing prehistoric species have congregated at the same site, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Animals escape their cages, giant carnivores get enraged, a troubled businessman gets angry and most of the lead characters have to try and outrun these troubles (which offers up one money scene between Claire and a Therizinosaurus).

While the Jurassic fan club will get a kick seeing Dern, Neill and Goldblum, their roles are too diluted within an ensemble. Goldblum does contribute with his unique brand of quirky humor but that’s just a temporary relief. For some reason Maisie, who is growing up in Nevada, has a British accent. The most entertaining chase sequence happens in the streets of Malta, when a few raptors are in hot pursuit of Owen on a bike.

The problem with the Jurassic series is that it has not evolved in close to three decades since the first film, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. He serves as an executive producer in this one, directed by Colin Trevorrow, which the studio has announced to be the final one. The biggest wow factor was seeing these intricately created enormous creatures and the fear of confronting them was achieved in the first film itself. The dinosaurs don’t shock or surprise any more. You also know that the moral of the story is still the same—don’t mess with nature and genetics.

More of a computer graphics feat than an emotional story, after 30 years of revisiting the same story line, fatigue shows, the lack of imagination shows, no new gimmicks or interesting characters are introduced. It was great while it lasted, but it might be time to firmly padlock the park.

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