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Film Review: Jurassic World: Dominion

FILM REVIEW

JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION

Rated PG-13

146 Minutes

Released June 10th

“Life is a profound mystery, and we are fools if we forget that and think, even for a moment, that we know it all.” – Michael Crichton

The creator of the Jurassic Park storyline, Michael Crichton, died in 2008. If Crichton were alive today, Jurassic World: Dominion would probably be quite a different movie. He wrote the novel and screenplay for the original Jurassic Park film, released almost 30 years ago. Extremely intelligent and inquisitive, he was a prolific storyteller, novelist, screenwriter and director. He was educated in English Literature, Composition, Medicine and Biological Anthropology and many of his stories are set in those fields. He was fascinated with physics, medicine, genetics, cloning, robotics and human nature. As a teen he had already grown to 6’9”, which left him feeling isolated from his peers, no doubt impacted his personality and was probably the impetus for his obsessive work habits and intense imagination. It might even have given him a special fascination with the idea of huge dinosaurs being introduced into a human-scale world. The first film he wrote and directed was Westworld in 1973 – yes, that Westworld, where robots turn on mankind and take over control of their reality. He wrote and directed many more films.

Jurassic World: Dominion is doing very well at the box office, and the kids at my screening loved it. They were cheering, clapping, gasping, screaming, all at the right moments. They stood up and applauded as the credits rolled. The special effects team has exquisitely created dinosaur stars, and the human actors are highly skilled at interacting with them, which isn’t easy. Two new leads in the franchise, Mamoudou Athie as “Ramsay Cole” and DeWanda Wise as “Kayla Watts,” are superb, as is young Isabelle Sermon as “Maisie.” All three give deep, layered performances – a rarity in action films. The legacy characters are short-changed by the script however. I didn’t feel that Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern and Sam Neill were given the chance to show how their characters had matured. It was kind of “let’s just pick up where we left off years ago.” Except for one thing – Howard’s “Claire Dearing” isn’t wearing spike heels for running shoes any more. Nice move, Claire!

Here’s how I believe Crichton would have made the movie differently. I think he would have known that the novelty of seeing the prehistoric creatures on screen has worn off for Jurassic fans now – it’s no longer astonishing. He would have developed their personalities, rituals and instincts, using the scientific discoveries continuously coming to light about them. He would have gone into the science of DNA in more detail, and he would have addressed the complicated issue of how humans, contemporary animals, birds, insects and plant life would be able to coexist with the no longer extinct gigantic creatures. And finally, I think he would have infused more humor in the movie. Any comedy in the movie seems to be assigned to Jeff Goldblum’s “Ian Malcolm.” 

As an aside, if you are fascinated by dinosaurs and how their biological attributes are reflected in living things on our planet today, you absolutely must visit the Museum of the Rockies next time you’re in Bozeman, MT. It’s an amazing display of dinosaur fossils and preserved parts of the ancient creatures, with enlightening explanations as you move about the rooms. Did you know that the only animals that still exist today as they were in the time of the dinosaurs are birds? Oh yeah, there should have been birds in this movie! Birds don’t take direction easily though, so I understand.

Take your kids to see this movie, or switch to “kid mode” yourself and just go enjoy it. 

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

in Film
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