Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Jurassic World Dominion


With dinosaurs now in the wild and co-existing with human beings and other animals, they are viewed as a minor threat causing a handful of deaths a year. Despite the fact, it is the new term coined as “genetic power” that really has the world concerned. When giant corporations like BioSyn begin to genetically modify flora and fauna by splicing genes from their ancestors a few centuries ago, the world has an ecological problem to face. Add some other issues on the side such as dinosaur smuggling, illegal breeding as well as the species’ weaponization and you get a cocktail of political and ethical dilemmas all together in one giant blender. Nevertheless, BioSyn’s eyes are glued to Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the first human clone now living as the adoptive daughter of Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), whose genes can usher in a new era in the industry. Paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) get caught in the mix when they investigate BioSyn’s questionable methods.

While it is nice to see the original and the new cast together in one frame and giving them the avenue to interact, Jurassic World Dominion’s problem is it focuses on them too much that the dinosaurs just end up getting sidelined in their very own movie. It’s not like the dinos would be picketing on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to demand greater representation in cinema, though. Those creatures have long been dead. But you know who might just complain? Moviegoers who paid for a ticket to see dinosaurs. Not family dramas with a special appearance from your friendly neighborhood T-Rex every other half hour.

The intertwining subplots seem convoluted, to be honest. It simply feels like fan service at this point. Unfortunately, the nostalgia just cannot save the storyline from being boring and oh so contrived. The film does begin with an in-universe feature story about dinosaurs now living and adjusting with humans abound. At last, what the franchise gave us a taster course of in parts two and five is finally explored, only for the premise to be immediately swept under the rug as soon as it is introduced to make way for the human characters and their endless dramas in life.

Because of this, your viewing experience of this final installment in the six-film trilogy spanning almost three decades will be different depending on your knowledge of the other five films that came before it. If you had a marathon of films one to five before watching Jurassic World Dominion, then you might be tempted to dismiss it as a cash grab banking on nostalgia, an anti-climactic ending to a series that has been built up in the last thirty years. However, should you be watching part six as a standalone movie, you might actually enjoy it even without the awareness as to how it connects to the other five.

Come to think of it, Jurassic World Dominion does present a good thesis here. Should this happen in real life, it would probably be impossible for such a species, despite being bigger and more menacing, to wipe out almost eight billion people. True enough, they would probably just disrupt the food chain slightly and make random appearances here and there, pretty much like how a shark sighting among surfers or seeing a bear rummage through trash in your backyard are considered as rare occurrences depending on where you live.

As a final word, just a realization. Perhaps we cannot be blamed for our expectations on how that what-if scenario of dinosaurs and human beings co-existing would play out given the very long gap between the time they existed before our species came along. It would most likely never be a Godzilla scenario. That’s just the paranoia talking. In this regard, Jurassic World Dominion plays with the assumption, but does not really focus on the creatures. In the end, humanity is still the star. Of a movie. About dinosaurs. The end.

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