Review: Shortly after Ian Malcolm, played with delicious drollness by Jeff Goldblum, is reintroduced to the Jurassic Park saga for director Colin Trevorrow’s bloated series swansong, the chaos theory mathematician summarises his rationale for selling his soul to a new bioengineering behemoth that tampers with dinosaur DNA. “I got five kids. Expenses add up,” he deadpans. In short, he’s back for the money. You sense that commercially-driven explanation fits Goldblum’s return to the franchise alongside legacy co-stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern and BD Wong for a globe-trotting caper that never seeks to justify its existence with originality or daring.
Set a few years after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the belaboured final chapter is crudely welded together with one terrific action sequence on Malta and some of the least impressive digital wizardry in the six-film opus. In the same way that Jurassic Park III meekly concluded the original trilogy, Jurassic World: Dominion brings the second salvo and the over-arching storyline to a close with a narrative splutter rather than a deafening roar. Dinosaurs ruled the Earth in 1993 and shattered box office records when Steven Spielberg transported audiences to Isla Nublar off the coast of Costa Rica for a breathtaking tour of John Hammond’s malfunctioning theme park.
Almost 30 years later, history will not repeat with Jurassic World: Dominion. This is an extinction level event that nods affectionately to the past (Neill growls familiar lines, Dern repeats her awestruck sunglass removal, one character has the infamous can of shaving foam as memorabilia) but has little interest in crafting a compelling future. How I wish director Trevorrow and co-writer Emily Carmichael had personally heeded Dr Malcolm’s stern rebuke to John Hammond in the original film: “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Following the volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar, dinosaurs co-exist with humans on land, in the water and air. Former Jurassic World park manager Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and boyfriend Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) are dedicated to preserving that uneasy balance with adopted child Maisie (Isabella Sermon) – the daughter of a genetic clone and “the most valuable intellectual property on the planet”.
When poachers steal raptor Blue’s newborn and something more precious, Owen and Claire spearhead a rescue mission aided by plucky pilot-for-hire Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise). Meanwhile, paleontologist Alan Grant (Neill), paleobotanist Ellie Sattler (Dern) and Dr Malcolm trace ecological disaster to the laboratories of BioSyn Genetics run by Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) and protege Ramsay Cole (Mamoudou Athie).
Jurassic World: Dominion is a disappointment. Characters from the original film are largely surplus to requirements – Owen, Claire and friends have a firm grip on proceedings – and pivotal scenes in Malta (supposedly a hub of the dinosaur black market) splice strands of DNA from James Bond and Star Wars. Dialogue is leaden except for choice one-liners courtesy of Goldblum, whose comic relief sweetens the bitter pill of a running time just shy of two-and-a-half hours. To endlessly quote the oracle, Dr Malcolm: “Must go faster.”
Find Jurassic World: Dominion in the cinemas