“Jurassic World Dominion” is upon us.
Billed as the last installment in the “Jurassic” “era” (because surely there will be more films), this latest entry in the franchise that began with Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “Jurassic Park” back in 1993, is bigger and more dinosaur-stuffed than ever. “Jurassic World: Dominion” unites the two halves of the saga, as well – with newer characters like Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) partnering up with legacy characters Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Considering that they they are dealing with various ecological disasters, corporate conspiracies and villainous threats, there’s enough adventuring to go around.
But how does the whole thing come together? And where does the movie leave off? Read on to find contextualize that ending if you just caught up with the film on streaming.
Major spoilers for “Jurassic World: Dominion” follow. Return to the mainland if you haven’t watched yet; there’s a hurricane of unnecessary detail blowing this way!
A Plague of Locusts
Just to play a little bit of catch-up here, it’s important to know that the main antagonists of “Jurassic World: Dominion” aren’t some rampaging dinosaurs, even though the end of the last movie established the fact that our world is truly Jurassic World. Dinosaurs had escaped from a compound in Northern California and fanned out across the world. They are a part of everyday life now (a quick montage at the beginning showed flying dinosaurs nesting in New York skyscrapers and a hungry aquatic dinosaur munching on a fishing trawler), but they aren’t really the focus of “Jurassic: World Dominion,” aside from a handful of sequences in the movie’s first half that includes an exciting, Bourne-inspired Malta chase sequence.
No, the real villain of “Jurassic World: Dominion” is a swarm of evil locusts.
Yes, you read that right.
A swarm of evil locusts are menacing the entire world in “Jurassic World: Dominion” and its up to our plucky scientists Grant and Sattler to get to the bottom of it. Their quest leads them to BioSyn, an evil genetic corporation run by Dodgson (played here by Campbell Scott), who fans of “Jurassic Park” will recognize as the man who sent Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) to his death in the original film (he was also at least partially responsible for everybody else that died after Nedry shut the power down). Dodgson’s idea is to charge more for BioSyn crops, which the locusts have been programmed to avoid eating, but the locusts of course get out and are threatening the ecology of the entire planet.
In order to fix the locust problem, Dodgson orders a pair of kidnappings – Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), the little clone girl introduced in “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (because her mother had genetic deficiencies that she “cleansed” while creating Maisie) and Beta, Blue the velociraptor’s baby (because Beta has more naturally “pure” DNA). Why Dodgson and his geneticist, Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong, back again), need both of them is fuzzy at best and why they had to be taken by force is even more tenuous. But, whatever, just go with it.
Owen and Claire, desperate to get their daughter back (the three have been living as a family since the events of the last film) and also reunite Blue with her child, are on one path and Alan, Ellie and Ian are on another path trying to uncover the locust conspiracy. And their stories converge at the elaborate BioSyn corporate campus/nature preserve in the Italian mountains.
New Park, Same as the Old Park
Towards the middle of the movie and especially into the third act, “Jurassic World: Dominion” becomes a much more traditional “Jurassic Park” story. For one, all of the characters are trapped in the BioSyn corporate campus, which is a high tech playground for the genius employees of the company, which is surrounded by a state-of-the-art nature preserve for dinosaurs that BioSyn has located and rehomed. (You can probably guess where this is headed.)
With Dodgson discovering that Ian, Ellie and Alan have figured out his conspiracy, he leaves them to get killed by the dinosaurs in the preserve (including some very spiky sons-of-guns). They’re on their own and in the same position they have found themselves in before. Also, Owen and Claire show up there knowing that Maisie and Beta are definitely on the premises.
This time, there are so many dinosaurs – way more than we’ve ever seen before! – something look like Freddy Kruger with giant nails, one that is furry and red like some evil Elmo and a giant predator that dwarfs the T. Rex and serves as the chief antagonist. (Weirdly, none of these dinosaurs are cooked up in a lab; they all appear as they did in nature. There’s no Indominus Rex or Indoraptor, which seems like a weird idea to just completely abandon in the final film.) As is tradition, the dinosaurs occasionally eat people, like the delicious irony of Dodgson getting eaten by the same dinosaur that offed Nedry, as he is attempting to board a high-speed underground train. Crunch!
Another holdover from the original “Jurassic Park” that gets trotted out again here: the idea that dinosaurs can’t be the only threat. There needs to be something oversized and elemental that contributes to the woe of the main characters. In the first movie it was a hurricane that forced most of the staff off the island. Here, it’s a more biblical conundrum. When Dodgson discovers that the original characters have uncovered his chicanery, he orders for the locusts (who, we must remember are giant and primordial and very nasty) to be burned alive.
The locusts, not taking too kindly to this development, break out (while still on fire) and head out into the nature preserve. This leads to a massive forest fire that threatens all life on the preserve (and in the corporate campus). BioSyn’s grand idea? Just bring the dinosaurs inside. That certainly won’t cause any issues.
Another Melee (Also Some Off-Camera Congressional Testimony)
With all the dinosaurs and humans now huddled within the glass-and-concrete walls of the BioSyn campus, hell predictably breaks loose. The big toothy predator takes a swing at humans and dinosaurs alike, seemingly killing our beloved T. Rex who, canonically, is the same T. Rex from the very first “Jurassic Park.” But not so fast! That T. Rex is still alive and now is thirsting for vengeance. It attacks the bigger dinosaur and, in a move that echoes the climax of the first “Jurassic World,” teams up with another dinosaur. This time he teams up with the Freddy Kruger dinosaur, who uses its big, fabulous claws to impale the bigger dinosaur. It’s so refreshing to see two coldblooded reptiles working together to quench their thirst for revenge.
Anyway, Maisie is rescued and Owen and Claire bring Beta back to Blue. Wu releases a better locust that will kill the other locusts, ending that problem very conveniently. And everybody sort of agrees to leave the BioSyn preserve alone; it becomes a more wild sanctuary for the dinosaurs living there, one completely free from human involvement or management. It sort of feels like the end of the third “Matrix” in that respect; nobody wins or loses and everybody just agrees to try and get along.
We also see that the legacy cast members are going to be testifying before congress on the evils of genetic tampering (generally) and the misdeeds of BioSyn (specifically). Unfortunately, we don’t get to see that testimony.
At the very end of “Jurassic World: Dominion,” nothing has fundamentally changed since the end of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.” Dinosaurs are still running around and flying and swimming in our world; ecosystems are still in upheaval; and lawmakers and regular citizens have very little clue what to do about any of it. But, at the very least, they don’t have to worry about giant evil locusts anymore.