While awe is clearly the endgame, Jurassic World: Dominion does not shy away from the details.
The first footage from the threequel, a five-minute extended preview which was screened for a handful of journalists at IMAX HQ in Los Angeles, showcases a two-part narrative. The five-minute preview will be screened in theaters before IMAX screenings of F9.
The first part is an origin story. Utilizing vast landscapes, a plethora of dinos, and harnassing the primal nature of the prehistoric era, the emphasis is on context. The intimacy of a bug landing on the leg of a dinosaur is juxtaposed by the majesty of a herd bathing in a lake as a winged creature swoops in to feast on a carcass.
A fight between two apex predators inevitably plays like a Western as they circle and face off, ultimately ending with the grisly demise of the T-Rex. As her pupils dilate, she becomes the feeding ground for a bug that imbibes a sample of blood. The sequence comes from early on in the movie.
“We know who killed her now,” enthused Jurassic World: Dominion director Colin Trevorrow. “Hopefully, people will want some revenge.”
Fast-forward 65 million years, and audiences are faced with a T-Rex being chased by a helicopter through a forest as she heads for a packed drive-in movie theater showing a double bill of American Graffiti and Flash Gordon. Should audiences read anything into that?
“It just felt like a double feature that I’d want to go see,” the filmmaker, who was talking to press via Zoom, explained. “[Jurassic World series star] Bryce [Dallas Howard]’s dad is in one of them, so I guess it’s a little tip to Ron Howard. I saw that drive-in as the kind of places that I went to growing up. They were in Mendocino, the area that American Graffiti was set, and that also connects it to Skywalker Ranch, where we mixed the movie. It connected the whole thing to Northern California.”
Chaos ensues on a grand scale as people run for cover. The T-Rex kicks over cars, wreaking havoc against a backdrop of a movie screen as couples are making out and friends and families are hanging out, accompanied by a soundtrack of screams and the dino’s trademark roar. Audiences are then treated to brief glimpses of other prehistoric titans creating mayhem elsewhere. Trevorrow confirms this chaos is global.
“To a certain extent, yes,” the filmmaker explained, although it seems there are no dinosaurs in the streets with tanks or anything. “We’re creating a world in which dinosaurs exist in the same way that animals do now, which is that if you go too deep into the forest, you may be in danger of invading their territory, and you can get hurt. I didn’t want to anthropomorphize them. I didn’t want to turn them into anything other than the natural animals they are. I mean, dinosaurs were real.”
Missing from the footage is the film’s cast, including Chris Pratt and Howard. While that may come as a surprise, or perhaps a disappointment to fans, there is a good reason for it.
“It’s not that I actively didn’t want them around, but we’re telling a really big, epic, sprawling story here,” the director said. “I felt like this was one opportunity to be able to tell the T-Rex’s story. She’s a character who has been through a lot over these movies and some traumatic experiences. I want kids and adults to be as invested in her and her journey as they are in the humans. She does look a little different this time in that she has protofeathers.”
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Jurassic World: Dominion also sees the return of the original Jurassic Park’s Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum, but how big of a part will they play in this sixth film in the franchise?
“To me, and I’ve always been this way, I wouldn’t put a character from one of the previous movies into the film unless they had a reason to be there,” said Trevorrow. “This was the first time I felt we had a story that would justify their presence in the film because they would not just call each other up and go on an adventure. We had to come up with a reason.”
Trevorrow also confirmed that there will be “surprises,” but “I don’t know if it’s going to be about who’s in it.”
The director has confirmed that visual effects on the film are “nearing completion,” and he has had the film cut “for some time,” adding that it was “really nice” not to have to rush to make a 2021 release date.
“It’s allowed us to be a little bit more deliberate and thoughtful and not feel the constant pressure,” he added. “It gives us a chance to show it to friends, other filmmakers, and fans, to talk to them and figure out if there is anything they need out of this that we’re not giving them.”
Jurassic World: Dominion sees Trevorrow, who also co-wrote the movie, fulfill his three-film commitment with the multibillion-dollar franchise (while J. A. Bayona directed the second film, Trevorrow co-wrote it). But does this serve as a bookend for the series or the jumping off point for more?
“I think that if these stories continue, it’s going be time for a new filmmaker to come in and put their spin on it,” he mused. “I’ve been fortunate over the past six or seven years to create this celebration of what Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton brought to the screen.
“I’m really into the idea of being able to pass that torch on in the same way that we pass the torch on to new characters in this movie. There are new heroes, it’s not just about the legacy characters that come back, and the new actors in the film are hopefully characters that we’re going to want to see again in the future. Dominion is a very different kind of film, and I believe audiences are going to be down to go on this journey with us as we evolve into new directions.”
Jurassic World: Dominion will land in theaters on June 10, 2022.