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Jurassic World: Dominion Review Part 2

Incorporating characters from the original movies gives continuity to the franchise

In the previous review, the clone daughter of one of the engineers from the first Jurassic Park, who was being protected by Claire and Owen from the first two movies of the second trilogy, was kidnapped, and her surrogate parents enlisted the help of the CIA to track her down. At the same time, Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant, our heroes from the first trilogy, suspect the international cooperation, Biosyn, of creating genetically altered locusts to eat their competition’s crops. Another survivor of the first Jurassic Park incident, Ian Malcolm, is working for Biosyn, and he has offered to allow them access to the cooperation’s secret lab.

Ellie and Alan fly to Biosyn, where they find that many of the dinosaurs which have been roaming the planet for the last several years have been taken to their park, and the cooperation has been studying their DNA. When they arrive, they meet a face that is unfamiliar to them but known to the viewers of the first trilogy, Lewis Dodgson. He’s one of the more famous cameos from the original movie, the man who gave Nedry, the traitor from the first film, the infamous shaving cream bottle which was meant to house the dinosaur DNA so Nedry could smuggle the stolen contents off the island. Apparently, he has remained interested in John Hammond’s idea ever since the events of the first movie and has become the head of Biosyn.

Here, I will say that I do like that the new trilogy incorporated so many people from the original cast. Many reviewers criticize this tactic as simply appealing to the audience’s “member berries” for a cheap cash grab, but I think it creates a nice continuity with the entire franchise. It makes it seem as if the whole series really is one consecutive story, rather than an episodic cluster of films. Granted, the logistics concerning how these characters from Jurassic Park created Jurassic World are not fully explained, but having so many reoccurring characters does imply that pieces were moving behind the scenes. Ironically, the continuity between the films seems to be more coherent than the consistency within the movies themselves, if for no other reason than matters remain ambiguous.

There’s another character reintroduced to the series as well. It turns out Henry Wu is working for Dodgson. Henry Wu has an interesting story which develops throughout the series. We first see him as the scientist who shows Ian, Ellie, and Alan the baby velociraptor in the original movie. We next see him as a suave engineer, who is partially responsible for the construction of the new generation of Dinosaurs. In this movie, he is a broken man, disheveled and depressed, hovering over a desk in despair. Jurassic World: Dominion does a good job giving him a Dr. Frankenstein vibe, and after creating monster after monster, he’s finally made his most disastrous creation, and the unintended consequences have finally broken him. However, this time, he didn’t create a dinosaur, but rather, the locusts which are about to destroy the world’s food supply.

In an effort to correct his mistake, he has asked Dodgson to find Masie, the clone created by John Hammond’s partner. He believes that if he can figure out how one of his fellow engineers altered Maise’s cells, then he can find a way to destroy the locusts in one fell swoop. This is never explained in detail because there are too many plots in this story, which undermine the threat these locusts represent. This could be the most nonchalant end of the world crises ever put to film. At any rate, this is why Maisie was kidnapped.

Ellie and Allan meet Ian after reaching Biosyn. Ian pretends to be his usual nihilistic self, but once he’s convinced the security cameras can’t see him, he hands Ellie a key which will give her access the secret lab.

As for Owen and Claire, they meet a team of CIA operatives in a city located somewhere in the desert. The team has been tracking the smugglers, and the hope is they can grab Maisie during the drop-off. However, once they find the smugglers, Maisie is not with them. And here is where the movies vast number of contrived coincidences begin to stack up. They’ve already been staggering up to this point, but here, the movie threatens to jump the shark.

It turns out a smuggler with a heart of gold just so happens to see Maisie during an earlier drop-off. She sees Maisie because she was the smuggler who flew Blue’s baby raptor into the city. First of all, it’s odd that the smugglers transferred Maisie and the baby raptor on two separate flights, and the movie only makes a superficial attempt to explain this, but where it gets ridiculous is when the leader of the CIA team takes Claire and Owen to an underground black market for no reason, rather than going straight to the drop-off, and then Claire just so happens to run into this smuggler in the bathroom. The smuggler says something to Claire, and she immediately infers this smuggler is an American, which for no obvious reason, prompts her to think this American will be likely to help her. Then, after a ridiculous raptor chase sequence, the smuggler just so happens to find Claire, and then after already refusing to help, randomly changes her mind, just as Claire happens to fall into the bed of a truck so the smuggler can, conveniently, drive Claire to her plane, and wonder of wonders, the random truck just so happens to have the keys in the ignition in a city clearly riddled with crime.

And speaking of ridiculous raptor chases, we get the reemergence of the raptors with lasers concept. I get the potential of using animals as weapons, but for the life of me, I cannot understand why the writers will not let this idea go. Fans have complained about the raptors being trained to attack people constantly, and yet, the movie doubles down on the concept. And the way the lasers are added to this concept is even more ridiculous. The main smuggler points the lasers at random people, and the raptors attack them, which sounds okay in theory until you realize that a good chunk of the time there is no way for the raptors to even see this laser. They’re jumping from behind debris and coming from every direction, and there’s no effort to show her locating a raptor so she can tell it what to do. The whole thing is just silly.

Not to mention, a lot of people die in this scene, but none of it matters because our heroes are just fine. Sometimes, I miss the nineties. Even in the old disaster flicks from that decade, at least, a little time was devoted to following some of the minor characters before they met their untimely end. How can I watch a T-Rex eat a man and feel the urge to sigh? We’ll continue the story in the next review.

Gary Varner

Gary Varner is the Assistant to the Managing and Associate Directors at the Center for Science & Culture in Seattle, Washington. He is a Science Fiction and Fantasy enthusiast with a bachelor’s degree in Theater Arts, and he spends his time working with his fellows at Discovery Institute and raising his daughter who he suspects will one day be president of the United States. For more reviews as well as serial novels, go to www.garypaulvarner.com to read more.

Jurassic World: Dominion Review Part 2