Dinosaurs! People love dinosaurs. Those reviewers of Jurassic Park: Dominion can say what they want, but this critic feels Dominion is a superior dino flick, one that pulls together all six of the Michael Crichton-based films, and gives you more stomp for the buck.
Way back in 1940 the directors Hal Roach and Hal Roach Jr. (father and son team) oversaw the film One Million B.C. which merged humans with dinosaurs. As far as we know, humans and dinosaurs never walked the planet together. Its remake, 1966/1967’s One Million Years B.C. featured Raquel Welch with fewer verbal lines than Arnold Schwarzeneggar in The Terminator. According to the Three Movie Buffs, “Raquel Welch’s grunting was dubbed by Nikki Van der Zyl,” while we all know (via Screenrant.com) that Arnie-Post-Conan Schwarzeneggar “only has 17 lines in The Terminator, which breaks down to a mere 58 words.”
The plot in Dominion begins like Tom Cruise’s version of Mission Impossible or any of the assorted Daniel Craig 007 flicks. The obligatory, always de rigueur, car chase scenes are replaced by …dinosaurs, of course. Dinos chasing Chris Pratt on a motorbike. One could editorialize that dino vs. bike is at least …challenging, but writers and directors can’t be more imaginative in 2020, 2021, 2022 than having things chase motor vehicles around on street corners, highways and frozen waterways? Despite the redundant aspect of the chase (in a sixth movie about re-imagined and resurrected creatures from the alleged dawn of time,) it actually works and entertains.
You will fall in love with the baby dino that gets kidnapped, the CGI creations having and generating more warm feelings than the humans. For those of us who have lived through the previous five episodes over the years, bringing Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard together with Oscar®-winner Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill is very smart, straight out of Spider-Man No Way Home’s uniting Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland. Audiences love this, and the technique has yet to be overused so good going to both motion pictures.
Filmmakers and their Easter eggs are very aware of tying in iconic themes into these new essays, Dominion’s poster including Dinosaurs Rule the Earth (which IS the plot,) pays homage to the 1970 third of four Hammer films When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. Just as the second of the six films, The Lost World, copped the title from the 1925 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle creation, The Lost World” (with Conan Doyle making a brief appearance in the intro!)
Dr. Henry Wu, played by B.D. Wong sports a bizarre Star Trek Pavel Chekov / The Monkees Davy Jones hairdo. Kind of odd, and it is a distraction from Wong’s usual Law and Order: SVU look but, whatever. The five billion dollar franchise owes much to the ground that Ray Harryhausen despite what CGI can do. Harryhausen’s Mighty Joe Young (1949,) The Animal World (1956,) the aforementioned Raquel Welch movie One Million Years B.C., and others helped establish him as the true successor of Willis H. O’Brien who worked on 1925’s The Lost World, 1933’s King Kong and, of course, Mighty Joe Young with Harryhausen. For those moviegoers who have supported the Michael Crichton / Steven Spielberg dinosaur epics, keep in mind that those pioneers dating back to almost 100 years ago (1925’s The Lost World) helped the Crichton/Spielberg team to launch 1993’s Jurassic Park (with BD Wong as Dr. Henry Ru in their very first film in these almost three-decades-old series) and follow that original up with its sequel, The Lost World – same title as the 1925 film.
Dominion is already generating millions of dollars worldwide and, as stated at the outset, it’s everything a fan of dinosaur fans could want. Indeed, it goes from its initial 007/Mission Impossible leanings into some kind of horror film fun house with tunnels and wild large locusts who burn up the night sky. The Colin Trevorrow-directed epic delivers on all fronts.
One final note: 1.806 million years B.P. (Before Present, June 1, 1950) was, purportedly, the “Ice Age,” so where previous works on this subject of dinosaurs and humans together were not based in reality, the reconstruction and resurrection of these creatures during the human era by these six pictures initiated by the Spielberg/Crichton team, make science-fiction sense.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, legendary writer Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a twenty-seven-year-old variety show (established 1995) on cable TV featuring A-list celebrities from all walks of life.