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SYFY WIRE Jurassic World Dominion

'Jurassic World Dominion': What we learned from Universal's epic new trailer

Jurassic heroes old and new team up to turn the tide… but it looks like nature’s winning.

By Benjamin Bullard
Jurassic World Dominion Screen Grab 2

Whatever happens by the end of Jurassic World Dominion, it feels like it’s going to be final. Just like the dinosaurs, the movie's long-awaited trailer is out in the wild at last, showing the mayhem that’s been unleashed now that long-extinct beasts are violently commingling with human culture.

Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) calls it an “ecological disaster,” and it may be an even bigger one than that, the kind that can break civilization as we know it. How do you put untamed, newly-revived nature back in the past where it belongs? The trailer doesn’t tell us. But Universal’s new picture — the closing chapter in the sprawling nine-movie cycle of Jurassic films — is assembling a team of newer blood and welcome, familiar faces to come to terms with it…once and for all.

The trailer’s epic tone frames some of the same, big-picture philosophical issues that Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park first posed in 1993. But the stakes feel different now that dinos have had four years to propagate the planet since the breakout events of 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

“We not only lack dominion over nature — we’re subordinate to it,” warns Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm, one of the four Jurassic Park stars who make an appearance in the new clip (alongside Laura Dern as Ellie Sadler, Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, and BD Wong as a grizzled Dr. Henry Wu). After nearly 30 years since Spielberg's first movie put dinos where they don’t belong, it’s clearer than ever that Malcolm was right all along.

In a cool throwback voiceover that hearkens to the DNA-divining events of the original film, Jurassic Park founder John Hammond (first played by the late Richard Attenborough) looms over the havoc with familiar words that now take on fresh meaning: “Creation is an act of sheer will. Life will find a way.” And Malcolm puts the exclamation mark on it all, witnessing his worst nightmares of humanity’s mad-scientist meddling finally playing out in real life: “Bigger — why do they always have to go bigger?”

That’s the cerebral, sci-fi stuff that Spielberg cleverly shrouded in popcorn-munching fun from the very start. But as the trailer shows, waxing philosophic about humanity’s failures is a luxury no one can afford when dinosaurs are running amok through city streets. The clip glimpses action set pieces bigger than anything that’s come before (just check out Fallen Kingdom’s monosaur, leaping from the ocean to sink its teeth into an easy snack). And in an awesome visual callback to the iconic “When dinosaurs ruled the Earth” moment from the original film, a T-rex strikes the same terrifying pose that defines Jurassic Park’s peak panic — this time in front of a drive-in movie screen.

The whole trailer, in fact, is packed with neat pairings of old and new. Dern, Neill, Goldblum, and Wong all are back to unite with Dearing and Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady to find a seemingly impossible solution to this new era of rampaging reptiles. Grady’s mastered the art of taming and riding velociraptors (or at least Blue, who now has a little baby Blue at her side). At least someone knows how to commune with them. 

It’s hard to imagine everyone making it out of this mess alive; and with Dominion closing the book on the Jurassic movie cycle as we’ve known it, the trailer has us wondering if director Colin Trevorrow will actually go there. Pratt has a quiet moment in the clip where he confidently puts Claire Dearing’s mind at ease: “I always make it back.” Will that turn out to be a promise he can keep — or just the kind of fateful optimism that people cling to when they know they’ve breached the turning point?

In paleo terms, fours months is barely a blip, and that’s just how long we have to wait to find the answer. Jurassic World Dominion descends on theaters, bringing three decades of Jurassic movies to an epic conclusion, beginning June 10.