Now we’re talking! I’ve been a fan of the Jurassic-franchise since I sat in a dark cinema in 1993, in Cornwall no less, and my life and scope of imagination, embraced with fear and excitement, burst life deep into my consciousness and transformed me forever. I’ve said it many times, but Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park remains one of my all-time favourites, you can’t shake that first love, and so approaching the end of the Jurassic World trilogy, I held an equal measure of anticipation and trepidation.
While I loved Jurassic World, that second outing Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom had some wonderful elements but, even on repeat viewings, feels disjointed and doesn’t always connect. It veered off into a film that demonstrated satisfying visuals but lost focus, even though I’m a fan J. A. Bayona’s stylistics as a director. With Jurassic World Dominion, we return to Colin Trevorrow as director and a much more personal story, not only linking from the start of it all, but merging the lead ‘World’ cast of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as well as bringing back the legacy legends, in the glorious shape of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, as well as BD Wong and Omar Sy.
In truth, my first viewing of Jurassic World Dominion left me underwhelmed with the balance of the overall narrative but, and this is an important ‘but’, this extended version on 4K UHD is absolutely worth the time and effort, it’s a stronger, more rounder movie that immerses from start to finish with the extra minutes with the new and extended scenes combination – and why this didn’t happen originally, I’m not sure, but we benefit from it now.
Jurassic World Dominion has fourteen minutes of never-before-seen footage, which means that although we open 65 million years ago, with that gorgeous dinosaur ‘in the wild’ prologue, we also have the addition of the T-Rex escape and chase which you might (or might not) have seen – and it’s so significant to the progression of that key hero character, and fits in effortlessly. The next vital restored scene is a character altercation between Owen (Pratt) and poacher Rainn Delacourt (Scott Haze), which means when the poachers turn up in the woods later, we know they have history, and understand why he’s on edge later. Such a momentary point, but crucial to the development on that entire situation. For me, it made me understand Claire, Owen and Maisie’s homelife better as well, even though I don’t really understand why they couldn’t tell her she couldn’t leave, as she’s old enough to understand and realise how valuable she is.
The next early new scene is Maisie (Isabella Sermon) heading into town, breaking her rules and being noticed, plus an important character ‘connection’ with Beta, the baby Raptor, who also sees her and thus building up their relationship, which is necessary to their plight when they’re both caught. I also didn’t remember two hunters hunted by Blue and Beta, and it’s a fun one which shows the incredibly dangerous predators are not to be messed with.
There’s extra interaction between Owen and Maisie to, the problem I had with the theatrical cut was they’re never quite on the same page, and I disliked her a little because I didn’t understand the conflict. We hear a chat by the campfire, and life lessons, so you get to understand why they care for each other a bit more. Thankfully, there’s also more Ellie (+ locusts) and Alan when they meet up again, my word we can always do with more of them!
Once we hit the Malta chase sequences, some of my favourite parts on the big screen, you’re thrown deep into the action. This is Colin Trevorrow’s Bond sequence, and epic excitement to experience. I love the beautifully brutal dinosaur laser-killers, pursuing Owen through the streets (and buildings!) of Malta. It’s proper breath-taking stuff. There’s also an extra sequence between Owen and Claire on the plane after their escape, which adds to their relationship and may seem a small ‘are you okay?’ section, but it’s so important, these trivial things matter.
Within that Malta moment, there’s also more of Kayla (the excellent DeWanda Wise) and her life inside the underground Dinosaur market – which is purposefully a bit Mos Eisley, Trevorrow admits in the extras. Here we witness her selling her Dinosaur to a soul who wants to use it fighting, and there’s a very funny fight-sequence that follows all of that.
We also get to see more of Dodgson’s (a smartly lowkey, yet precise performance from Campbell Scott) efforts to hide all the evidence because, as he says “you don’t apologise for your mistakes, you erase them” – which is a noteworthy line in the modern era, and those who try to re-write it. But what’s key in these extended scenes is that Ramsey (a cool and calm Mamoudou Athie) catches him in the act, and thus means their balance of character between good and evil has more context.
It may not seem like many additional scenes, but I felt I learned more about Maisie and Biosyn, I appreciated the nods to social media and misinformation, and there’s a small section regarding climate change but it’s subtly done with less furore, more facts. The added minutes with Ellie and Alan also reminded me how much I love that pair. Sam Neill’s take is as perfect as before, and his face often says “I don’t know why we’re doing this, but I’ll do it because Ellie is here” fits everything, as it should. Laura Dern doesn’t need an introduction, she’s fantastic and how can we ever forget Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, who plays a critical part in helping the ‘good’ side get the answers they need.
What’s evident from the extras, and the special features – which are a joy to watch – is how the legacy cast returned mainly because of Trevorrow and having the right story for their characters, both from the past and into the future. Sam Neill didn’t want a passing cameo, and quite right to, (their participation is more than deserved, and it works), and with Jeff and Laura, it’s clear they’re both excited and more than happy to amongst the Jurassic family, alongside all the newcomers, who also interview enthusiastically.
If you can pick it up in 4K UHD, I’d highly recommend because those colours are vibrant, the rain and stormy setups emotive and the dinosaurs look stupendous – and you’ve got to watch the A New Breed of VFX to see how they merged the old and new with their graphics, it’s brilliant. The extras also include the superb short Battle at Big Rock, which remains a highlight in its own right, and there’s over 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes, which all give individual insight into the making of the film and offer you a true realisation of the wealth of work that went to make sure the big finale was as good as it could be.
Jurassic World Dominion, the Extended Cut, is by far the superior version of the film and it’s now firmly set as a new favourite in the Jurassic franchise, there’s absolutely no doubt about it.
Jurassic World Dominion is available now to download & keep and on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray 26th September, order here: https://amzn.to/3RhQVRI
Or try to win yourself a copy on Blu-ray by clicking here
BONUS FEATURES ON DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY:
- BATTLE AT BIG ROCK – Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the short film takes place one year after the events of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM in Big Rock National Park.
- A NEW BREED OF VFX – VFX supervisor David Vickery and the magicians at ILM discuss the incredible visual effects work featured in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION.
- DINOSAURS AMONG US: INSIDE JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION
- TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME – Cast and filmmakers discuss the evolution of the franchise and the special union of characters from JURASSIC PARK and JURASSIC WORLD.
- UNDERGROUND DINO MARKET – Join filmmakers for a tour of the amazing dino market set and discover how they brought it to life.
- MAYHEM IN MALTA – A behind-the-scenes look at the Atrociraptor rooftop chase and Owen’s harrowing motorcycle ride through the narrow streets and alleyways of Malta.
- SCARY REAL
- SPIT TAKE: THE RETURN OF THE DILOPHOSAURUS – Live-action dinosaurs supervisor John Nolan and his team reveal how they created the impressive Dilophosaurus animatronic.
- INSIDE THE DIMETRODON – Learn how the filmmaking team operated the terrifying Dimetrodon animatronic and hear from Laura Dern and Sam Neill on what it was like working with it.
- CREATING A PLAGUE – Laura Dern and Bryce Dallas Howard discuss the enormous locusts featured in JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION and the creature effects team reveals how they were created and deployed.
- PASSING THE BATA..N- Discover the craftsmanship behind the realistic-looking Beta animatronic and hear from Chris Pratt and Isabella Sermon on why they enjoyed working with it.
- GIGA-BITE – Go behind the scenes with the cast of JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION as they are introduced to the biggest star of the film, the Giganotosaurus, for the very first time.
- FINAL NIGHT – Witness the emotional final night of filming with the cast and crew of JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION.
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