Jurassic World Dominion: Where are all the dinos?

The final instalment of the latest Jurassic trilogy is overstuffed with franchise characters old and new, at the expense of what really should be the stars of the show: the dinosaurs.

Chris Pratt in Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)

The biggest problem with the capper of the second Jurassic film trilogy is that the dinosaurs – let loose at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – have little to do with the plot. Instead, the action concerns a thinly rationalised attempt to use human clone DNA to solve problems created by the evil Biosyn corporation’s breeding of genetically engineered giant locusts. Yet again, BD Wong’s geneticist Dr Henry Wu has to deliver exposition and take the blame.

J.A. Bayona’s Fallen Kingdom shifted much of the action away from the island theme parks of the four previous Jurassic Park movies and into an old dark house, introducing clone Maisie (Isabella Sermon) and her eerie rapport with prehistoric reptiles. Director Colin Trevorrow, completing the arc he began with Jurassic World, theoretically opens things up for a story with global scale. The strongest moments here could come from paperback covers or an illustrated book about dinosaurs in the modern world – dinosaur rustlers on horseback, stegosauri mingling with elephants, a pterodactyl leashed like a hunting falcon, and a skirmish on thin ice with a cunning amphibious predator. Reflecting real-world debate about how well dinosaurs could cope with cold climates and whether they had feathers, creatures are redesigned or seen in unfamiliar habitats without need for paleontological footnotes.

If Fallen Kingdom was a haunted house movie with dinosaurs, Dominion tries to be a dinosaurian Bond movie. Various sets of old and new characters jet about following leads in fresh locales (such as an underground dinosaur exchange in Malta) that bring them together in the Dolomites, where rote Musk/Jobs villain Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) has a super-science lair in a valley incidentally stocked with old and new dinosaurs. Dichen Lachman’s ‘woman in white’, a Bond-style henchperson who uses a laser light to sic trained ‘atrociraptors’ on pursuers, is a promising baddie, but unaccountably vanishes from the movie before it even gets to the Biosyn complex.

Trevorrow has a problem juggling the characters from Jurassic World currently toplining the franchise (Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing) with returnees from Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Jurassic Park (Sam Neill’s Alan Grant, Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler, Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm) and a couple of newcomers (DeWanda Wise’s rogue pilot, Mamoudou Athie’s whistleblower boffin). Throw in Maisie and that makes eight unkillable good guys (bumped up to nine when long-serving Wong is thrown a plot bone) who get in each other’s way in a succession of contrived, confusing peril scenes and – worse – block our view of the dinosaurs who ought to be the stars.

► Jurassic World Dominion is in cinemas from 10 June.