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‘Jurassic World Dominion’: An environmental message, an adorable raptor, and the end of an era

By Kara Santos Published Jun 08, 2022 3:31 pm

It's been almost 30 years since the world was first swept away by Stephen Speilberg's sci-fi action blockbuster Jurassic Park. For many kids of my generation, the 1993 flick defined what movie magic was all about and is considered one of the most influential movies of all time.

I still remember the awe I felt seeing realistic-looking dinosaurs on the big screen for the first time, the tension in scenes where the kids Lex and Tim were being hunted by velociraptors in the park’s kitchen, and the satisfaction when the group finally managed to escape aboard a helicopter. To this day, hearing the Jurassic Park theme music instantly brings a flood of happy memories. 

The succeeding films released throughout the years in both the Jurassic Park trilogy, namely The Lost World (1997), Jurassic Park III (2001) and first two films in the Jurassic World trilogy: Jurassic World (2015), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) didn’t quite capture the same level of magic as the original, but were always fun, family-friendly popcorn movies worth watching on the big screen.

Jurassic World Dominion, the sixth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, banks heavily on nostalgia and provides a somewhat formulaic but satisfying conclusion to the Jurassic era, with two generations uniting onscreen for the first time.

Dominion brings together the original trio of Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler) and Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm) with current franchise stars Chris Pratt (Owen Grady) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing) for an epic dino-powered adventure that spans the globe.

Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler) and Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant) in Jurassic World Dominion.

The movie also features new cast members Dewanda Wise (She’s Gotta Have It), Mamoudou Athie (Archive 81), Dichen Lachman (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Scott Haze (Minari) and Campbell Scott (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). The film’s returning cast includes BD Wong Dr. Henry Wu, Justice Smith as Franklin Webb, Daniella Pineda as Dr. Zia Rodriguez, Omar Sy as Barry Sembenè and Isabella Sermon as Maisie Lockwood.

From Jurassic World architect and director Colin Trevorrow, Jurassic World Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar has been destroyed. 

Jurassic World Dominion

For those who have forgotten the previous movie's plot, in Fallen Kingdom, former Jurassic World manager Claire Dearing and Velociraptor handler Owen Grady joined a mission to rescue Isla Nublar's dinosaurs from a volcanic eruption by relocating them to a new island sanctuary only to discover a mercenary team's ulterior motives to bring them to the US mainland. The previous movie also included a subplot about human cloning and the closing scenes showed the freed dinosaurs roaming the wilderness and outer urban areas.

In Dominion, audiences are brought up to speed on the impact of the events that took place and what the world now looks like with a series of video news reports. Dinosaurs now live and hunt alongside humans all over the world.

Chris Pratt's Owen Grady with a couple of Parasaurolophus.

In true Jurassic fashion, we’re quickly reminded that dinosaurs are just doing their best to survive in a world where humans have reigned too long as the apex predator. We know who the good guys and who the real monsters really are, with dinosaurs being researched for seemingly beneficial genetic purposes, but also being exploited by humans for militaristic use, trapped in breeding farms, illegally poached, and traded as exotic pets in the black market.

Dinosaur fighting ring in Jurassic World Dominion.

It’s hard not to draw parallels to the situation many endangered animals face today and root for the dinosaurs, especially when you see how they’re being treated. 

Jurassic World Dominion doesn’t stray too far from its tried-and-tested formula and recognize similar themes and scenes recreated in different settings from the previous movies. It has everything you’d want and expect in a Jurassic film. 

Chris Pratt being chased by an Atrociraptor.

There are long-awaited reunions between beloved characters who haven’t shared the screen since the first film. Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady gets to go on a wild motorcycle chase scene through the streets of Malta while being hunted by trained killer dinosaurs, and there are loads of fun, new dinosaurs our heroes have to escape from in thrilling chase scenes. 

For fans of the original film, there are plenty of fun throwbacks and easter egg references to the original Jurassic Park. Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm still delivers some of the most memorable lines. 

The movie has grand reveals of intriguing and new dinosaur species including a Moros intrepidus (a type of tyrannosaur) with feathers reflecting up-to-date scientific evidence unearthed since the first movie. 

Audiences have come to love Velociraptors, so now the baddies include a pack of Atrociraptors, a type of deadly thorougbred raptors that have been trained to kill on on command. 

Aside from the return of familiar human characters, dinosaurs we haven’t seen for a while also make their return. 

The double-crested Dilophosaurus that spits deadly black venom, best-known for attacking Dennis Nedry as he was trying to steal dinosaur embryos from Isla Nublar, in the original Jurassic Park movie returns to the franchise with a vengeance in Jurassic World Dominion. 

Blue, the leader of the Velociraptor pack trained by Owen Grady who was first introduced in Jurassic World, is back and this time she’s not alone. With her is Beta, an adorable (yes, raptors can be adorable) 4-foot baby raptor who happens to be an identical clone of her mother. 

And of course, we also get the epic dinosaur vs. dinosaur showdown with the classic T-Rex taking on the Giganotosaurus, with a little bit of help.

Velociraptors Blue and Beta.

Dominion has a simple and easy to understand story that doesn’t really require newcomers to be so familiar with the previous films. Parents who have been looking for a movie to take the kids to for the first time since the pandemic, might enjoy sharing the experience with kids while enjoying the story arc of the O.G. stars.

For those who have been holding out on watching a movie in cinemas, this could be a great return to cinema experience for the whole family. Epic movies like Jurassic World Dominion were meant to be experienced on a big screen and a good choice to watch it would be Ayala Malls Manila Bay's A-Giant Screen cinema, which has a screen four times bigger than those in regular movie theaters, so audiences can really enjoy seeing raptors and other dinosaurs up close.

Beyond the entertainment value and distraction from real life, the movie has a deeper environmental message that I hope will resonate with young kids and audiences today.

If this movie really does conclude the film franchise, it marks a satisfying end of an era that will keep fans of the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movies happy, and spark the return to normalcy in cinemas in the post-pandemic setting.

Jurassic World Dominion opens in almost 400 cinemas nationwide on Wednesday, June 8, 2022.