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6 Best And 6 Worst Things In Jurassic World Dominion

For those who somehow don't know, "Jurassic Park" was a popular sci-fi/thriller novel written by author Michael Crichton in 1990, about a shady corporation cloning dinosaurs to turn into attractions at an amusement park for rich people, which obviously goes horribly wrong. The book was then adapted into a big-budget film in 1993 for Universal Studios, and directed by none other than Steven Spielberg himself. It obviously became a massive blockbuster hit, which spawned a sequel, "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" in 1997, still directed by Spielberg, the same year he released "Amistad."

After Joe Johnston ("Honey, I Shrunk the Kids") directed "Jurassic Park III", the franchise laid dormant for fourteen years ... but not for a lack of trying. Many fourth "Jurassic Park" film proposals were pitched throughout the intervening years — including one that introduced human-dino hybrids who went on clandestine military operations. It was wild.

In 2015, Colin Trevorrow — then known only for directing the indie darling "No Safety Guaranteed" — was given the keys to the lucrative franchise. The result was a highly-successful reboot in "Jurassic World," which seemingly asked the question: "what if they made 'Jurassic Park' again, but worse?"

Spanish director J.A Bayona ("A Monster Calls") helmed the follow-up "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," which teased dinosaurs entering civilization. Now, "Jurassic World: Dominion" marks the third and final entry in Trevorrow's "Jurassic World" trilogy, and the sixth in the overall "Jurassic Park" franchise; below, the best and worst "Dominion" has to offer.

Best: Reunited cast

One of the biggest selling points of "Jurassic World: Dominion" — and the thing plastered all over the marketing materials — was a reunion of the original cast. It's the first time all three original cast members (Sam Neill as Alan Grant, Laura Dern as Ellie Sattler, and Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcom) have been in the same film since "Jurassic Park." Famously, Neill and Dern sat out 1997's "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" as Goldblum's Malcom took center stage, while Neill and Dern (briefly) returned for "Jurassic Park III."

To be fair, it's true that Goldblum had a quick cameo in "Fallen Kingdom", the second "Jurassic World" movie. However, he didn't interact with the main cast at all and was only in bookend scenes, so that hardy seems to count.

There is an undeniable, palpable nostalgic thrill in seeing them together on the big-screen again, after nearly three decades apart.

Worst: Chris Pratt

There's no way around it: Pratt's wannabe-rogue adventurer cliché Owen Grady has always been one of the worst elements of the "Jurassic World" films. The character itself, an archetype of the "man's man" cool guy, doesn't really fit alongside the more everyman heroes from the original trilogy.

In fact, those characters are more heroic precisely because they're not highly-trained with military backgrounds, but still nonetheless rise to the challenge to fight and survive anyway. There's an element to the originals that — due to the characters' relatability — puts the audience in their shoes, and lets the viewer imagine how they themselves would respond to the extraordinary circumstances. It adds stakes and tension that a generic action hero simply can't deliver.

Worse, Pratt simply doesn't sell "tough guy" well. While he did bulk up for "Zero Dark Thirty", and was an ostensible action lead in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Avengers" films, his persona was still that of "sarcastic goofball." In fact, the "GotG" movies go out of their way to deflate Pratt's Peter "Star Lord" Quill character at every opportunity, treating him as a parody of someone trying to act like the tough '80s action heroes he saw on  Earth before being abducted.

Best: DeWanda Wise

While it's cool that "Dominion" finally brought the old gang back together for one last dinosaur adventure, it is newcomer DeWanda Wise as Kayla Watts that steals the show. Honestly, it's a shame she couldn't have been the main character of the film.

Watts plays a jaded, roguish pilot who is embedded in the underground world of transporting black market dinosaurs. Beyond DeWanda's natural charisma, and the character being cool throughout, she also has a great character arc to boot. The actual protagonists — played by Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard — don't have any internal struggles to grapple with (all their struggles are external, like trying to save their daughter), and neither do the original "Jurassic" actors. 

DeWanda's Watts, however, has to actually grow and change in the story, going from cynical and brow-beaten to courageous and crusading. Sure, it's a bit archetypal, but at least it's something.

Simply put: she has the best lines, the best deliveries, is seemingly having the most fun, and gets to experience growth. When she receives a new plane at the end of the film, it might be the single most emotionally satisfying moment in all of "Dominion."

Worst: Too many locusts, not enough dinos

A major plot component of "Dominion" is that Dodgson (Campbell Scott) and his corrupt genetics company ByoSin have been using prehistoric DNA to genetically-alter locusts in an effort to control and monopolize the food supply chain. They do this by unleashing giant locusts to eat all the grain from farms that don't buy ByoSin proprietary seeds (since the locusts have been modified to not eat crops from the ByoSin seeds).

This is how all three of the original "Jurassic Park" characters get involved in the story. Sattler is on a mission to expose ByoSin and its genetically-modified locusts since the disruption of the food chain could cause global starvation (which Dodgson sees as a small sacrifice in maximizing the company's profits). She then enlists the help of Grant, who both meet up with Malcom, employed at ByoSin's secret facility.

The issue is that there are just as much — if not more — action set pieces involving the characters escaping giant locusts than there are of them dealing with dinosaurs. You know, the thing audiences bought their tickets to see. 

While there are some interesting ideas within the locust subplot, it overwhelms and devours runtime that should be devoted to dino action.

Best: Anti-capitalist

Like all "Jurassic Park" films, the most fantastical element of "Dominion" isn't the fact that dinosaurs are now walking the Earth. No, the real fantastical element of "Jurassic Park" films is that evil corporate CEOs and their businesses eventually get their comeuppance and have to pay for their crimes.

It's a fulfilling fantasy, manifested in the original "Jurassic Park" novel onwards; the stories have always had an anti-capitalist, or at least anti-corporate stance. Colin Trevorrow's "Jurassic World" films are no exception. In fact, it may have even met its nadir in "Dominion," with corporate villain Dodgson (Scott) being at least partially based on Elon Musk (including a reference to his ill-fated Hyperloop) and looking quite a bit like Tim Cook.

Life in "Jurassic World" seems to imply that billionaires and capitalists could potentially be bloodily eaten by a pack of hungry Dilophosauruses at any moment. Perhaps DNA splicing isn't such a bad idea, after all.

Worst: Cringey fan-service

Bringing back the original cast is a welcomed move, a nostalgic and inspired decision, not to mention as excuse to watch great actors playing iconic characters. Unfortunately, the overly reverent tone of the "World" films can become grating. For instance, every heroic entrance of the characters is so egregiously fawning, you'd think the Beatles are reuniting.

There's also cringey callbacks, like a repeat of "must go faster" when Malcom gets into a car, or when a character tells him to close his shirt (since his chest in the first "Jurassic Park" became a meme), among many, many others.

Even the romance of Grant and Sattler, alluded to and implied in the first film, plays out like overwrought fan fiction. Grant sputters around Ellie like a nerd trying to woo the cheerleader at his high school. If Neill or Dern were lesser performers, it could have stopped the movie in its tracks.

Best: Feathered dinosaurs

In 1993, "Jurassic Park" was at the cutting edge of modern paleontology. Before, dinosaurs had been depicted as slow, lumbering and entirely reptilian. The revolutionary theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds was pretty new and still in its relative infancy when "Jurassic Park" was released. Luckily, the blockbuster film was so popular that increased interest and funding went into paleontology and the study of ancient dinosaur biology.

As science is wont to do, however, the original theories that were groundbreaking in the early '90s have since become outdated. This includes substantial new evidence that dinosaurs were probably in fact feathered, rather than scaly.

This introduced a problem for the rebooted "Jurassic World" series, which was being developed after these theories of feathered dinosaurs became  widely accepted in the science community. Do you keep the dinosaurs looking as they did in the earlier films with their iconic (and highly merchandisable) designs? Or do you try to do what the first film did, and exist on the cutting edge of paleontology?

While the first "Jurassic World" decided to go with classic designs, with "Dominion" feathered dinosaurs are on display. For die-hard dino fanatics, it's as big a thrill as anything else in the film.

Worst: Too much time spent in boring facility

What the "Jurassic World" series of films promised — and especially what the end of "Fallen Kingdom" promised — was a world overrun by dinosaurs. Yet, the entire back half of "Dominion" is set in Dodgson's secret ByoSin facility — and it is one of the biggest issues with the film. 

True, there are some decent setpieces out in the supposed dino-infested world — like a chase scene in the streets of Malta and another where pterodactyls attack a plane; but by-and-large, the main bulk of the action takes place in the aforementioned ByoSin genetics facility.

At least it's not another secret Isla Nublar site or theme park; in many ways, however, the sterile Silicon Valley-inspired lab environments in "Dominion" are somehow less interesting. It's all just white, bland corridors that are visually uninteresting.

It's slightly better when the characters are running around outside the facility, but since this is surrounded by an artificially-grown prehistoric jungle full of swamps, caves, and giant trees ... it might as well just be Isla Nublar.

Best: Malta chase scene

The most exciting application of the dinosaurs-among-us premise comes via a thrilling Atrociraptors chase scene through the streets of Malta.

In the scene, Owen and Claire join a CIA sting operation to rescue their adopted clone daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon), who was kidnapped by mercenaries working for the villainous Dodgson and his evil genetics company.

The scene is a rare case of exploiting the film's premise in a way that the film rarely does. To Trevorrow's credit, however, scenes like this aren't simply lifted from disaster movies. The dinosaurs do cause trouble here and there, but they're relatively under control. The issues the movie deals with are things like prehistoric DNA messing with the ecosystem and black market dinosaurs. One memorable scene has Claire entering an underground bazaar where people bet on illegal dinosaur fights.

Of course, the CIA sting goes wrong when the mercenaries unleash Atrociraptors on the city, leading to an exhilarating car and motorcycle chase through the streets of Malta. It's exciting, action-packed and fun ... something unfortunately lacking in the rest of the film.

Worst: Didn't really exploit Jurassic World premise

The "Jurassic World" films took two entire movies to get to the point where dinosaurs have finally reached the mainland, wreaking havoc on civilization. Now they're here, and aside from the Malta chase scene and various black market dinosaur operations, very little of the film expands upon a premise which once seemed so promising.

The scenes where the film works best are when it's showing how the world has changed. Whether it's a construction crew having to use flares and equipment to lead a wandering Brontosaurus away from their site, someone lassoing a dinosaur on horseback (in a possible reference to "The Valley of Gwangi"), or a Mosasaurus overturning a fishing boat, those are the scenes where the movie shines. There's just not enough of them.

Best: Ending montage

Despite the mediocrity of the rest of the film, a beautiful ending montage is a sight to behold. There are Triceratops marching with elephants in Africa, Saurolophuses galloping with horses in the Midwest, a Mosasaurus swimming next to blue whales, children feeding Compsognathuses (or "Compies") like ducks in a Washington D.C. park, and more. It's all beautifully shot, wonderfully scored, and — like the Malta scene — a too-rare scene that capitalizes on the "Jurassic World" premise.

What helps set it apart from the more ominous ending of "Fallen Kingdom" is that instead of showing the potential violence inherent in the idea of dinosaurs co-existing with humans, it focuses on the beauty and potential. It also underlines a main theme of the films, about how nature always finds a way.

If this does indeed turn out to be the last film in the "Jurassic Park/World" franchise, it would be a satisfying coda.

Worst: Human clone plot still bad

The "cloned human" plotline introduced in "Fallen Kingdom" was a late film twist; in "Dominion," it wants to be the film's emotional spine. The movie suffers because of it.

Sure, tying the cloning tech into the creation of humans is a clever idea, but the problem with this big swing is that it's a miss. "Jurassic" films are about dinosaurs, not the mama drama of cloned humans.

Some of this might be due to the plotline's execution. Since Isabella Sermon's Maisie Lockwood grows at the same rate as a regular person, it's hard to see her as anything that special, especially when compared to bringing an extinct species back to life in the modern era. She's the reason the world is overrun by dinosaurs in the first place ... and the series just awkwardly glosses over that.