Is Jurassic World Dominion a good movie? With its 30 percent “fresh” rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, the answer to that question is no. But a lot of moviegoers don’t seem to mind, as evidenced by the movie’s $145 million opening weekend box-office sales. And that makes the movie’s progressive messaging more of a problem.
The sixth movie in the dinosaur thriller franchise, Jurassic World Dominion unfolds a bit like a mashup of the original 1993 movie Jurassic Park and more recent Jurassic World flicks. Director Colin Trevorrow provides two pencil sketch plotlines. In throwback plot one, Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) once again shows up at Allan Grant’s (Sam Neill) archeological dig, this time enlisting his help to stop massive insects decimating the world’s food supply. Their quest leads them to an evil corporation, Biosyn, where they eventually intersect with plotline two. In it, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) show up at Biosyn looking for their kidnapped daughter and a baby raptor. Both the girl and the dinosaur are clones that might hold the genetic key to Biosyn’s future.
Of course, in a summer popcorn muncher, plots usually aren’t the point. Yet even judged as spectacle alone, scenes feel so disjointed, illogical, and at times ridiculous that it’s hard to enjoy the moments of CGI and animatronic magic. Sadly, the action often makes no sense even within its immediate context. For instance, at one point, when a man next to Owen gets eaten by a dino, Owen quickly turns around and … makes a phone call? Maybe the dinosaur wasn’t hungry anymore?
With such little effort given to logic or storyline, the film relies on buzzwords like “systemic corruption” and “coexist” to give audiences a warm, fuzzy, self-righteous feeling. Crichton’s original novel—though steeped in evolutionary dogma and littered with cursing—nevertheless provided a useful cautionary tale of science gone awry. We come away from the original Jurassic Park with a clear message that those attempting to manipulate DNA for their own gain are bad.
In Jurassic World Dominion, Ian Malcom (Jeff Goldblum) provides a short, updated lecture on the dangers of human hubris. He echoes environmentalist fears that humans are “racing towards extinction of our species” by our greedy, foolish ways. But recent cultural shifts in sexual orthodoxy mean that message can’t stand alone. According to the new dogma, genetics—and in particular X and Y chromosomes—must be conquered to serve human sexual imagination. Thus, by the end of Jurassic World Dominion, both animal and human cloning get a big thumbs up from movie makers. Because love is love—apparently even if you clone yourself and give birth to that clone.
That brings us to the fundamental message here—solidarity. The film’s closing statement explains that species must “depend on each other.” Taken on its face, solidarity between fallen humanity and creation isn’t a bad goal. Still, it’s one we aren’t likely to achieve if we ignore God’s design for Creation and His power of redemption when we muck things up.
Still, dinosaurs and popcorn. Who can resist their siren call?