Where I Watched It: Peacock
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
I always try and be upfront with whatever audience I have, so here are a few things prefacing my thoughts on Dominion. I, like many, consider Jurassic park to be a benchmark film that solidified a passion I still have today. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen this film, but even now as a blind person, it is one of only a small handful of films that I can watch without audio description and listen to the audio track and actually play the entire thing in my head. Somewhere, my brain stored if not all, certainly most of the film. That love has translated into many rewatches of The lost World and Jurassic Park 3, though neither are technically as great as the original, a reading of the original novel, and now the Jurassic World branch, where I saw the first Jurassic World in theatres twice. Fallen Kingdom was released while I was blind, and is by far my least favorite, and now there is Dominion. I also love the Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous series, and think it’s actually better than Fallen kingdom as well.
All of that out of the way, the only thing you really need to know now is that my first and only viewing so far is whatever this weird apology tour version of the film that is available on peacock is my singular point of reference.
I don’t know what people saw theatrically, or what was added, I’m just reviewing what I saw with audio description on Peacock.
I know many have lamented the film, and there is quite a bit to lament here. The film does in fact feature a rather unfortunate locust subplot that takes up far too much of the film, and was never needed. Jurassic Park, universal, Spielberg, Michael Crichton, and all those involved ahve always wanted to get to this point, and Colin Treverrow finally got his shot. the Lost World showed a glimpse of what could be, and Fallen Kingdom certainly connected us to this possibility, but Dominion finally answers the question of what if Dinosaurs were intermingling not only with humans, but other species. I don’t know that it’s the best scientific interpretation, as we know that traditionally invasive species being introduced into a space can be extremely damaging to the flora and fauna in the area. When you introduce an Apex Predator with nothing to combat it, these are not good things.
But, Dominion is only looking to briefly be serious, because it wants to have a lot of dinosaur fun, and full circle moments. Returning from Jurassic World are Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, who are keeping track of a growing clone, also a returning character from Fallen kingdom. Of course, the world is looking for this human clone, and that becomes a big deal.
Meanwhile, we finally get our big three back. Laura Dern, Sam neill, and Jeff Goldblum are all reintroduced into the plot in useful ways, if you accept that the locust problem is somehow necessary. Omar Sy is also back, as is BD Wong as the villain who long overstayed his welcome and survived his book death. One of the nice things about the Dominion project is that it actually comes full circle with a very small part of the original film, and something explored in greater detail with the introduction of Louis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), better known as the guy paying Dennis Nedry for a very expensive can of Barbasol.
For the critics who claimed there wasn’t enough dinosaur fun, I don’t know if they added it in for the extended cut, but I never found that to be a problem. The movie opens with a beautiful prehistoric scene from 65 million years ago, and from that point continued to focus on the presence of dinosaurs, even ones we hadn’t seen in a while.
Sure, there are some non sensical moments, like when Owen strangles a rather dangerous dinosaur as means to saving someone’s life. But, these leaps of logic have become rather common with this franchise, always asking us to check at least a part of our brain at the door.
To those who thought this was just an attempt at nostalgia, I say… is that a bad thing? For a film seeking to come full circle and close off the Jurassic World franchise, and at least for a length of time, the Jurassic Park franchise, wasn’t it nice seeing the aging Sam neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum in their where are they now roles before they become too old to pull off even a minor action sequence? I think it would ahve been nice to see even more of that. i would have doubled down, and had brief cameos showing us where Lex and Tim ended up, or even rolled the dice by showing characters that got written out of the lineup. Where would Vince Vaughn’s photographer be if he had never gone to the Lost World? What if somehow Julianne Moore’s character was always fated to be roped in somehow? Wouldn’t it have been cool to see Alessandro nivola working with Sam Neill? I would have appreciated even cameos from some of the missing Jurassic World characters, like the brothers from the first film, or even Jake johnson. So much possibility in a film that is set up as a farewell tour. I actually think he didn’t take enough advantage of this.
It’s not my favorite Jurassic film, as it has this giant locust problem that bogs down the film rather unnecessarily, while we’re still dealing with this stupid clone girl gifted to us from Fallen kingdom. But, seeing these dinos in the real world was something I’ve always been looking forward to, and perhaps as a big fan, I’m letting this film off too easy. I admit, i was looking for nostalgia, and I found it. I am the baby who is distracted by the shiny keys, but with almost a billion dollars at the box office, I think I’m not the only one.
Could it have been better? Absolutely. Is it the worst? no. Am I happy enough? Sure.
Final Grade: B-