Friday, July 29, 2022

Jurassic World Dominion

by Ben Soton

Jurassic World Dominion (2022). Dir: Colin Trevorrow; Writers: Derek Connolly (story), Emily Carmichael & Colin Trevorrow (screenplay); Stars: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Laura Dern, DeWanda Wise, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill. 12A 207 mins.

The Jurassic Park franchise, where scientists employed by a faceless corporation create cloned dinosaurs for a wild-life theme park built as an attraction for wealthy tourists, has reached its finale with Jurassic World Dominion. The film sees the return of the some of the original Jurassic Park stars, including Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neil, who meet the heroes of the later Jurassic World series, Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt. If two sets of species, separated by 66 million years can be brought back to life, why can’t two sets of actors separated by three decades do the same?
    In Dominion, Claire Deering (played by Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (played by Chris Pratt) are living in hiding shielding a cloned child; whilst their pet velociraptor ‘Blue’ lives in a nearby forest with a child of its own. Meanwhile, Cretaceous-era locusts destroy whole swathes of the world’s grain crop.
    The villain of the film is Biosyn; the faceless corporation that created the locusts and kidnaps the child and the baby velociraptor. At this point Deering and Grady embark on a global search to rescue both missing infants. In their travels they meet up with Kayla Watts (played by DeWanda Wise), a free-lance pilot whose wreck of an aircraft is reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars.
    Their journey takes them to the Biosyn headquarters and dinosaur sanctuary in the Italian Dolomites. There Deering and Grady meet up with the stars of the original series: Alan Grant (played by Sam Neill), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern). One of the features of the original Jurassic Park series was to make intellectuals look glamorous; a process possibly started with the Indiana Jones franchise. Grant and Sattler are both pal├Žontologists whilst Malcolm is a specialist in Chaos Theory.
    The notion of out-of-control corporations is a theme in Michael Creighton’s original Jurassic Park novel and many of his other works. This has obvious progressive undertones; however, this needs to come with a health warning. Some on the utopian right believe that capitalism has been superseded by a bizarre system referred to as Corporatocracy; this concept is popular amongst Trump supporters in the USA and has been echoed by Tory weirdo Michael Gove. In other words, the existence of monopolies is not the logical evolution of capitalism but diversion from it.
    Meanwhile Dominion raises several highly important issues, including climate change, the illegal trade in endangered species and cloning. Not to mention who should have control over these activities and who should put a stop to them.
    The film contains a number of brilliant and realistic action scenes, as well as the compulsory dinosaur fight where the T-Rex comes out on top. I almost laughed out loud when the closing scenes showed pterodactyls co-existing with birds, mosasaurs swimming along with Blue whales and triceratops walking with elephants – maybe I should not take things so literally but as an analogy to existing species facing extinction.

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