I remember how perfectly John Williams’ lush score for 1993’s Jurassic Park set the stage for what was to follow. That film was imaginative, funny, scary, and filled with interesting doings. Since then, every sequel has paled in comparison, lifting bits and pieces of the memorable theme and elements from the first film. What filled in the large gaps were just…more. More dinosaurs. More chases. More corporate stupidity. What was a noble, yet misguided plan was undermined by corporate greed, a theme that was exhausted by the time Wayne Knight was devoured.
The Jurassic World reboot with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard was entertaining enough and the CGI improved so we could see more nuance among the species that were now becoming a global ecological threat. Add in some genetic shenanigans with the arrival of Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), you have some new tones to play with.
Director Colin Trevorrow, though, couldn’t keep corporate greed out of the playbook. His Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom, and now Dominion keep the treadmill spinning without adding enough new and interesting elements to keep things fresh.
The best thing about Dominion, out now on 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray/Digital HD combo pack from Universal Home Entertainment, is reuniting the original three— Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Dr. Allan Grant (Sam Neill), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum)—with Pratt and Howard. The storylines converge at BioSys, run by New Age CEO Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) who is not exactly greedy but blinded by his ambitions and unwilling to take responsibility for his actions.
Coming to their aid is mercenary pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) and Ramsey Cole (Mamoudou Athie), Dodgson’s mentee who seems to grow a conscience as the film progresses.
The breathless film features several set pieces but they all have the same tired feel because we’ve seen man versus dino/raptor before. The pacing is such that there seems to be no time for our heroes to eat or sleep, rushing from place to place. Cole magically pops up just as he’s needed which is more plot contrivance than a convincing story.
The best parts have to be Maisie getting to know her birth mother Charlotte (Elva Trill) through video recordings and the subplot involving the raptor Blue and its genetic offspring Beta. So, while it was fun to see the characters mash-up, there was little to show for it. This appropriately rings down the curtain on the franchise (for now).
The film is offered to viewers in its theatrical form along with an extended cut that is about 16 minutes longer with more dino action. Both are looking pretty sharp in the 2160p/Dolby Vision UHD presentation. You definitely appreciate the CGI creatures with this level of color fidelity and clarity. A match or even better is the DTS:X soundtrack, perfectly capturing every gurgle and stomp.
There are just a few featurettes, starting with the 4K short film Battle at Big Rock (10:17), which is a vignette of a family camping where they think the dinosaurs aren’t.
Additionally there is A New Breed of VFX (6:16) and the more interesting Dinosaurs Among Us: Inside Jurassic World Dominion—Together for the First Time (5:26), Underground Dino Market (4:59), Mayhem in Malta (4:32), and Final Night (6:52)—which give you a glimpse into the production.
Scary Real Animatronics is a five-parter that looks at the creature effects in detail: Spit Take: The Return of Dilophosaurus (5:26), Inside the Dimeetrodon (4:38), Creating a Plague (4:30), Passing the Beta (4:19), and Giga-Bite (6:26).