Jurassic World: Dominion

by Toby Woollaston

Verdict: A formulaic and safe crowd pleaser.

There is a sweet smell of nostalgia currently wafting through the cinemas. From The Lost City which recently recaptured the Romancing the Stone romantic-adventure vibe to Tom Cruise’s Maverick reprisal, the big-flick studios are reaching back in time to tap the golden era of the blockbuster. Thankfully, these films seem to be very self-aware, blending frothy dollops of eye-winking nostalgia with light-hearted cliches. And certainly, if that’s your bag then Jurassic World Dominion will hit the spot.

Harkening back to the sunglasses-lowering spectacle of where it all began, Director Colin Trevorrow (who also helmed 2015’s Jurassic World) has brought back Park’s original cast—Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum. They, along with World’s Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are thrown into a stew of dino mayhem.

The sixth instalment in the Jurassic franchise, Dominion takes place four years after the island theme park ended in a fiery eruption causing dinosaurs to spread across the globe. Now a plague of prehistoric locusts threatens the world’s food supply. Of course, no Jurassic film is complete without a bad guy pulling the genetic strings. Enter Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott channelling, oddly, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook) who slips into frame as the locust DNA manipulating CEO of the shady company Biosyn.

Dominion’s well-worn plot progression offers plenty of room for the obligatory action sequences and tense set-pieces as the party attempt to infiltrate Biosyn and avoid dinosaurs in the process. However, as green-screen-sapiens are repeatedly pitted against dino-digitals you get the feeling that the overindulgence of digital-effects does a disservice to the original’s pioneering efforts rather than pay homage to it.

Nonetheless, the film remains engaging enough, if rather safe, and Director Trevorrow does little to bust out of Jurassic’s electrified boundary fence, choosing instead to unapologetically root the film in cliches and tropes championed by the original.

Viewers wanting a fresh direction to the franchise, such as the novel gothic horror treatment that Bayona achieved in Jurassic’s previous instalment, will find little satisfaction here. But if the warm blanket of a safe and formulaic tent-pole blockbuster is more your DNA, then go ahead, wrap yourself in amber.

See my reviews for the NZ Herald here and for Witchdoctor here.