‘Jurassic World Dominion’ review: delightful dino romp is best since the first ‘Jurassic Park’

  • A direct sequel to ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’, the new dino blockbuster is the final film in the ‘Jurassic World’ trilogy and sixth film in the Jurassic Park franchise.
  • The latest instalment in the ‘Jurassic World’ series will see a host of original characters, including Sam Neill
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Chris Pratt is back as dinosaur trainer, Owen Grady in the upcoming sequel of the “Jurassic World” film series. Photo: Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment/TNS

After so many Jurassic Park” and Jurassic World films spent trying to keep dinosaurs isolated in poorly executed hi-tech sanctuaries, it’s nice to see a thunder lizard drop by a drive-in cinema for a bite.

Director Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World Dominion is a globe-trotting action adventure that awesomely imagines a world having to come to grips with rampaging dinos big and small living among humans – at least until the film shifts its focus to yet another sanctuary full of cloned creatures, another shady tech company and another climactic primal showdown.

Although overly familiar, Dominion boasts everything you’d ever want in a Jurassic film and is the best in the series since the original 1993 film. (That said, apart from Steven Spielberg’s wondrous opener, this is not exactly a high bar.) The plot brings together the original “Park” heroes – a joy to meet again – and the newer “World” crew to essentially wrap up the current trilogy and the franchise so far.

All those warnings in the first Jurassic Park about playing with science come to fruition at the beginning of Dominion, which deftly uses an internet video to show how life on Earth has been affected by an influx of dinosaurs.

The new film picks up four years after the beasts escaped the destruction of Isla Nublar (see: 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom), and returning characters Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) are now a couple living in the Sierra Nevada as adoptive parents to Maisie (Isabella Sermon), the clone girl who released the dinos into the wild in the previous film.

Much to her tween angst, the adults keep her hidden away from people who’d want to capture her for scientific purposes, but she gets kidnapped anyway alongside Beta, the spawn of Owen’s Velociraptor pal Blue.

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Meanwhile, evolved dino-locusts are doing a number on crops in the Midwest. Fearing a worldwide famine on the horizon, palaeobotanist Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) reaches out to old palaeontologist friend – and fellow OG Jurassic Park survivor – Alan Grant (Sam Neill) for help.

During their investigation, they get an invite to the remote Italian mountain headquarters of Biosyn Genetics, where dinos from all over the world are taken. Mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is the in-house philosopher, and he gives Ellie and Alan the lowdown on the corporation and the morally and ethically questionable practices of its CEO (Campbell Scott).

It takes a while, but the parallel storylines in Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael’s screenplay do come together for a Jurassic super team-up that’s pretty nifty to see, especially the long-awaited reunion between Dern and Neill’s characters. The coolest new character joining the bunch is Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise), a cargo pilot – and fun, swagger-filled twist on the Indiana Jones/Han Solo archetype – who helps Owen and Claire on their rescue mission. If the next trilogy ends up being Jurassic Space, let’s hope she’s at the wheel.

Can’t get enough dinosaurs? Wait till you see this T-rex crashing a drive-in movie experience in “Jurassic World Dominion”. Photo: Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment/TNS

If you come to the Jurassic films for the dinos (and let’s face it, that’s a lot of folks), there are plenty of species to be had – 27, in fact. The T-Rex is back, naturally, although it gets a large new foe on the block with the debuting Giganotosaurus.

Atrociraptors are used as precision killing machines in a spectacular motorcycle chase scene set in Malta – think something out of Mission: Impossible, but replacing Tom Cruise with speedy reptiles – and a winged Quetzalcoatlus does a number on Kayla’s plane. The creature effects are all top notch, especially the eerie mega-locust swarms.

Other than a T-Rex getting loose in San Diego for a little while in the second Jurassic Park, the franchise hasn’t really leaned into dinos wrecking stuff in the real world – and mankind being thrown by having to share the Earth – so those moments early on in Dominion feel inventive. Yet the science veers pretty wonky and, while still mostly exciting, the film tends back toward the romping-and-stomping template we’ve seen previously.

In that vein, the new Jurassic World is more Return of the Jedi than Empire Strikes Back, giving fans a comfort-food finale that plays a few fresh numbers, but mainly sticks to the hits.

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