The narrative idea that has made the Jurassic Park/World franchise so ludicrously successful from a financial point of view is not really the presence of dinosaurs in our world, but rather the insatiable desire of “science” to fiddle with the building blocks of existence, meaning genetic information. Of course, people go for the big set pieces depicting reptiles threatening the stupid humans, but the reason these humans deserve to be threatened is because they just have to act like God. Otherwise, what’s the point of living in the 21st century? Four years after the previous installment showed the destruction of the huge island resort where tourists could observe dinosaurs “in the wild,” the lizards are at large in the world and terrorizing humans as a matter of course. It’s a natural, albeit too fast, result of the decisions that have anchored the franchise, and would not have required much in the way of imagination to make the concept work as a new installment, but the producers want more: another big arrogant corporation that is trying to monetize genetic engineering, though in this case, not of dinosaurs per se, but of the food supply. Despite its relevancy to how we live today, the concept has been done so many times before it feels old and tired.
The first third is certainly the most entertaining portion of the film while remaining quite confusing, since it grapples with a world where dinosaurs have become so ubiquitous that there’s already a healthy black market in dino trafficking and the attendant PETA-like do-gooder types, which brings our heroes, the dino wrangler Owen (Chris Pratt) and the former resort manager Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), out from their secluded forest Eden into the world to recapture some poached creatures and the adolescent girl they are raising by proxy. The girl (Isabella Sermon), Maisie, is the cloned daughter of the biogenetics scientist Charlotte Lockwood, whose provenance in the story I don’t remember (4 years, you see), but whose work is at the center of the intrigue. The head of a company called Biosyn Genetics, Dodgson (Campbell Scott), kidnaps Maisie in order to study her sequencing to understand how Charlotte did it and then corner the market on…what, exactly, is never specified, but Dodgson has already created a species of giant locusts in what can only be described as an “oops” project, since, if let loose, they can destroy most of the world’s food supply.
Director Colin Treverrow’s job is to make the various plot threads, which also includes the reentry-for-the-hell-of-it of three original Jurassic stars, Ellie (Laura Dern), Alan (Sam Neill), and Ian (Jeff Goldblum), who all come together in a big, violent denouement where stray dinos wreak havoc on the Biosyn facility, thus threatening to let loose all these deadly locusts. It’s a total clusterfuck of competing action vectors and impenetrable motivations. Goldblum, who can be counted on at this point in his career to offer immediate comic relief has no real purpose and just happens to be at the Biosyn lab doing things against his better interests. But it’s not a spoiler to say that he survives the mayhem, because it seems they want to bring everyone back for another round of dino pursuit and gene-manipulating nonsense. The world can’t end too soon.
Opens July 29 in Tokyo at Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi (050-6868-5060), Toho Cinemas Hibiya (050-6868-5068), Marunouchi Piccadilly (050-6875-0075), Shinjuku Wald 9 (03-5369-4955), Shinjuku Piccadilly (050-6861-3001), Toho Cinemas Shinjuku (050-6868-5063), Toho Cinemas Shibuya (050-6868-5002), Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills (050-6868-5024).
Jurassic World Dominion home page in Japanese
photo (c) 2021 Universal Studios