The third and final “Jurassic World” film, “Jurassic World Dominion,” arrives in theaters on Friday, closing out the new trilogy with stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Set after the events of “Fallen Kingdom,” dinosaurs are now roaming the Earth, forcing the humans always be on guard against the creatures.
Claire (Howard) continues her effort to protect the dinosaurs, joining a radical rescue team to save a baby triceratops from an illegal breeding facility. She and Owen (Pratt) live with Maisie (Isabella Sermon), the cloned girl, now being sought by Biosyn, a genetics company similar to Ingen, run by Dr. Lewis Dodgson – the guy who paid Dennis Nedry for the Barbisol can full of dinosaur embryos in the first Jurassic film.
A faux newscast opens the film to reveal Biosyn has been granted global rights to capture the dinosaurs and relocate them to a remote sanctuary for study and experimentation.
The original “Jurassic Park” film stars: Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, all return for “Dominion.”
Dern’s Ellie Sattler has responded to a giant locust outbreak, devastating crops, then sought out help from Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) with Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm linked to Biosyn.
Director Colin Trevorrow returns to helm the series finale, juggling several characters’ minor story arcs, particularly Maisie’s desire to find her identity and details about her past, as well as a resolution for the “Jurassic Park” veterans: Grant and Sattler.
Malcolm is first seen lecturing at Biosyn, calling for ethically-minded scientists as the animals will certainly escape and create more havoc.
Omar Sy returns as Barry, Owen’s co-trainer from the first “Jurassic World” film. B.D. Wong reprises his role as Dr. Henry Wu, the chief geneticist in the franchise, who again plays a key role in the film’s events.
DeWanda Wise stars as a pilot who assists Owen and Claire, joining in the action without any fear or hesitation and Mamoudou Athie plays Ramsey, Biosyn’s second in command.
There are several new dinosaurs introduced in “Dominion,” with the most important being Gigantosaurus, the film’s new apex predator, which audiences are told about multiple times. Of course, the fan favorites are all back, including the return of the dilophosaurus, which is the dinosaur that spits venom and has an expansive neck frill.
Blue, Owen’s favorite velociraptor, is back with a daughter (Beta), which is kidnapped by poachers. While this is a clear setup to sell merch, Beta listens to Maisie for no reason and rides in Owen’s backpack for as long as he needs.
“Dominion” offers up a ton of nostalgia and references to the previous films. From velociraptors joining motorcycle chases to the rolling vehicle over the side of a ravine to the famous Dr. Sattler shocked face from “Jurassic Park” — the homages are everywhere.
With that said, “Dominion” feels like a story which has been rewritten several times, losing all cohesiveness and focus. The characters bounce around different locations, going from one “clue” or “find” to the next, facing off against poachers or tracking down the dangerous locusts, all to end in the middle of the big dinosaur showdown.
Sam Neill was the highlight of the film, slipping back into the role of Dr. Grant as easily as putting on his hat. Maisie was very unlikeable at the start of the film, a bitter and nasty teenager, who ultimately gets a dose of reality as the danger escalates.
While there are plenty of fun moments, “Dominion” is a weak addition to the “Jurassic” franchise, relying more on fan service than story arcs. The CGI is spotty at times and does not match well with practical dinosaurs and effects.
It’s sad to see “Jurassic World” devolve into a bland shadow of the first film and of the original trilogy. Some fans will certainly enjoy seeing the original cast members back in action, but won’t see a meaningful conclusion to their journey.