Dominion needs fewer teeth and more philosophy

In the first part of the “Jurassic World” trilogy, Dr. Wu, the mad scientist behind the dinosaurs, explained one of his creations to the then-owner of the park, Simon Masrani. Masrani wanted to know why the fictional Indominus Rex was a cruel killing machine. Wu replied, “Nothing is natural in the Jurassic world, we have always filled in the gaps in the genome with the DNA of other animals. And if the genetic code was pure, many of them would look completely different. But you didn’t ask for reality, you asked for more teeth.”

In this movie, more teeth is a bad thing, the reason the Indominus Rex was wreaking havoc in the garden. With “Jurassic World: Dominion,” more teeth were apparently the guiding light, because while the final film in the “Jurassic” franchise features an impressive cast that unites “Park” with “World,” it sheds the film’s philosophical underpinnings. The first instead chooses only an action movie about dinosaurs.

When the original “Jurassic Park” hit screens in June of 1993, Steven Spielberg took Michael Crichton’s book of the same name and made a stunning movie. Having grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, the film, as did the book, focused more on the suspense and ethical issues arising from bringing extinct creatures back to life rather than the raw work. Dinosaurs remained on screen for about 15 minutes of the two-hour movie.

On the other hand, in the movie “Jurassic World Dominion” there are dinosaurs in every scene. It has more different types of dinosaurs than ever before. They are everywhere. They are on the streets, in stadiums. They are in an unnatural dive where people put them against each other and bet on the outcome. The mysterious international arms dealers sell them as weapons. There are black market fanciers, which is a massive stretch even by “Jurassic” standards due to the amount of space needed to keep herds of dinosaurs a secret.

It’s even in colder climates, which is actually not as extended as recent research suggests that it was warm-blooded and more similar to modern birds than reptiles. Blue, the raptor that Chris Pratt trained in his first “Jurassic World,” lives near Owen (Pratt), Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Macy (Isabel Sermon) in their remote cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Blue also has a daughter named Peta, whom he teaches to fish in a touching scene that includes a baby rabbit and time for dinner.

It is not explained how dinosaurs got to all of these locations in such numbers. All that matters is that they are there and they are mostly angry and hungry. They also hate cars and planes.

Editor’s note: Light spoilers ahead of you.

Between the installation scene after the installation scene, we get the plot that unites the korean characters. Monsanto, I mean Biosyn, is headed up by the evil crazy man Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott). While Dodgson has been mentioned in previous films, he has never appeared on screen, probably because he was busy trying to be a villain in the “Despicable Me” universe, where he was also not on screen, likely for being too cartoonish.

Although, in the movie “Dominion” there’s Dodgson and he’s got the rights to most of the world’s dinosaurs because he wants to study their genes for covid vaccines or something. Instead, he uses them to create giant Jurassic locusts that devour all crops except those from Biosyn seeds.

Locusts are what brought Sam Neill back as Dr. Alan Grant and Laura Dern as Dr. Eli Sattler. After being reunited, the pair head to Biosyn’s sanctuary in the Dolomite Mountains to try to find the source locusts. Dodgson’s kidnapping Macy, a clone, to study her genetic sequence is how Owen and Claire get involved and end up in the heart of Beocene along with Grant and Sattler.

Dr. Jeff Goldblum Dr. Ian Malcolm is a Piocene philosopher, which means he was already there and ready to help his old colleagues Grant and Sattler get to the locusts. There were also some new characters that I’m sure will never star in Jurassic in the future, claiming Dominion is the ending though.

Mostly, though, it’s just teeth. Lots and lots of teeth. Watching the movie, I quickly realized that no major characters would be brutally murdered, which softened the installation scene after the installation scene. Dodgson, of course, gets what comes to him, but everyone else survives despite the fact that they should have been caught and eaten no fewer than a dozen times by the end of the movie. The only real development is that Dr. Wu changed his mind and got his salvation by killing the locusts, the locusts that created him.

It’s a shame, because the source material was pretty cool, and many of the entries that followed were downright entertaining. But instead of reaffirming man’s control over the animals of the planet and the dangers of God playing with those animals, we get a lecture on how man does not dominate animals. The last word in the movie is literally “coexist”. I’m assuming a new bumper sticker is dropping soon.

However, the movie does not end with that word. Instead, the final scenes before the show starts are like the final moments in “Jurassic Park,” but with more, as you might have guessed, coexist. Instead of seeing birds flying over the ocean, pterodactyls flying with ducks, whales stalking mosasaurs that for some reason don’t eat them, triceratops and elephants walk the savannah.

It’s all a circle of life, even if Blue doesn’t hold a beta over its head while the rest of the dinosaurs sing “Hakuna Matata.”

This was likely expected, especially since Dr. Malcolm offered this warning in the first movie: “I’ve stood on the shoulders of geniuses to get something done as fast as I can, and before you know what you have I’ve patented it and packed it up and slapped it on a plastic lunch box.”

The creators of “Jurassic World: Dominion” may have stood on the shoulders of geniuses, but the only thing they had to add to the creatures they found in their control was more teeth.

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