By Jasper Price, Third Year, Theatre & Performance
When we think of blockbuster films, few come up that match the might and reception of 1993’s Jurassic Park. Spielberg’s seminal monster movie was a smash hit, combining three dimensional characters and writing with outstanding special effects.
Here we are, nearly thirty years later and it seems the thrill of dinosaur epics has not yet left Hollywood. After the disappointment of 2015’s reboot; Jurassic World and subsequent sequel Fallen Kingdom (2018), I was apprehensive about this year’s new film. To my surprise and the surprise of everyone I know, I didn’t hate it.
In Jurassic World: Dominion, dinosaurs and humans now live side by side, but don’t seem to cause too much trouble. The opening montage features “found footage” of pterodactyls and the like causing car-crashes. Owen, the raptor keeper and on-screen pile of muscles from the first Jurassic World is now living in a desolate hut, accompanied by once dino manager Claire (Bruce Dallas Howard) and a mysterious pre-teen Maisie (Isabella Sermon).
Meanwhile, a slightly dubious and aptly named company Biosyn, headed by an Elon Musk-esque billionaire, are releasing giant mutant locusts into the world, to the intrigue of Ellie and Alan (Laura Dern and Sam Neil) who set out to investigate this new ecological threat. They infiltrate Biosyn with the help of old friend and now company consultant Dr Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) and come across Claire and Owen, with the team having to navigate an escape out of a dinosaur infested valley. Carnage ensues.
You’ll notice that I haven’t really mentioned dinosaurs in this synopsis, and that is because, for the first half of the film the scaley scoundrels take a back seat plot-wise. In fact, for a time the film didn’t seem like it knew what it was. A chase sequence through Malta featuring Pratt on a motorbike would not have looked out of place in a Bond flick, sans velociraptor of course, whilst the dinosaur trading den was pure Mos Eisley Cantina, complete with shady looking dealers and green beasts in cages.
Where the film at last found its feet was on our beloved heroes’ arrival at the Biosyn sanctuary in Italy, where familiar faces both reptilian and human met. There were some standout action sequences and moments of wonder, but where the film really excelled was the inclusion of the original cast. Those three actors made the film. Particularly Goldblum, who, as he ages like a fine wine, so do his one liners.
When the three are on screen together, you can’t help but feel nostalgic. The film also harks back to the original in other ways, little nods sure to make the Jurassic fandom jubilant. From the microsecond shot of a shaving cream can to a T-rex at one point creating the Jurassic Park logo by posing perfectly behind a fountain.
The film is devoid of logic, but certain moments seeming far-fetched in a film about prehistoric lizards coming back seems like a moot point. On the whole, the film is pleasing to the senses. The filming is well done, with Colin Treverrow taking the helm, delivering exciting fan-service and a few great moments. Most notably a fight between our old friend the T-rex and a particularly nasty Giganotosaurus, which the human characters happen to be thrown into. Michael Giacchino’s score is well put together and uses several themes from John William’s original score to incite nostalgia.
Overall I enjoyed this film. It won’t go down as any kind of moment in cinema, and it’s lacking in substance, but it’s a film about what happens when we strive too far into the future, at the expense of nature. Plus, dinosaurs eating people will always be entertaining. The Jurassic Franchise perhaps should have been extinct long ago, wiped off the face of the earth after the first film. However, if you’re going to do big blockbuster films, do them this way.
Featured Image: UPI Media
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