How Jurassic World: Dominion Pays Tribute to Jurassic Park

9 minute read

The more things change, the more they stay the same in the Jurassic Park franchise. The latest installment in the prehistoric blockbuster series, Jurassic World: Dominion, in theaters June 10, says goodbye to the Jurassic era by paying tribute to Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic in a myriad of ways. That includes the return of some familiar faces (and dinosaurs) and the resolution of certain loose ends from the original film.

The final chapter in the Jurassic World trilogy—reportedly, the last film in the Jurassic Park series—picks up four years after the events of 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Dinosaurs now live among us thanks to theme park operations manager turned dinosaur advocate Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and raptor wrangler Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), who let the previously extinct creatures loose on the world in hopes of saving them from being auctioned off on the black market. It’s safe to say the relationship between humans and dinosaurs in this film is more fraught than ever before. To paraphrase Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Claire and Owen were so preoccupied with whether or not they could release the dinosaurs, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Luckily, there are three scientists who are quite familiar with the terrors that come with unleashing apex predators into the world. Jurassic World: Dominion marks the return of OG favorites: chaotician Malcolm, paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), who’s now focused on solving the climate crisis. When a swarm of giant locusts start wreaking havoc on the world’s food supply, Ellie’s search for a solution leads her to Biosyn, a pharmaceutical company led by CEO Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott), a name that should ring a bell to Jurassic Park fans. Yes, we’ve got Dodgson here. Below are some of the other connections between Jurassic World: Dominion and its nearly 30-year-old predecessor.

A fashion flashback

Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) in Jurassic World DominionUniversal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

What is clear after seeing Ellie Sattler in Dominion is that she found a look that she liked and she stuck with it for three decades. The first time Dern’s Ellie pops up in the film, she’s wearing a salmon colored shirt, tied around the waist, just like her character did in Jurassic Park. Her former excavation partner Alan Grant (Neill) also sticks with his signature Indiana Jones-esque hat for the new movie. And Malcolm is still rocking his leather jacket, perfectly tailored to fit in with current trends. Who said scientists can’t be style icons?

The return of the red flare

In the early moments of Jurassic World: Dominion, a dinosaur walks onto a construction site. To help the creature find its ways to wherever it now calls home, a worker uses a red flare to gently coerce it back into the wild. Apparently, no one has come up with a better way to distract dinosaurs in nearly three decades since Alan Ian used one of those mega glow sticks to keep the Tyrannosaurus Rex from devouring the grandkids of Jurassic Park’s owner John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello).

Unfortunately, things didn’t go so well that first time around: Malcolm is chased by the T-Rex and Hammond’s lawyer, Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferraro), is eaten right off the toilet after leaving Lex and Tim to fend for themselves. But Malcolm gets a bit of redemption in Dominion when he again pulls out a red flare to get the attention of the newest addition to the franchise, the Giganotosaurus, one of the largest known dinosaurs in history. Malcolm, now a little older and much wiser, doesn’t attempt to lure the giant dinosaur away with help from the fiery object. He throws it into its humongous mouth in hopes that it will be the distraction he needs to get himself out of harm’s way. Clever guy.

Triceratops love

Jurassic Park fans will surely smile when they see that Dominion director Colin Trevorrow brought back a few animatronic dinosaurs in lieu of CGI in honor of the first film. Ellie even gets to spend a little time with a baby triceratops, which is a sweet callback to the original. It’s an under the weather triceratops that leads Ellie to stick her arm into a huge pile of prehistoric dung in hopes of figuring out what is causing the animal so much gastrointestinal distress. Dern told TIME that reuniting with the adorable animatronic creature “was equally as jaw dropping, but nothing will be like that first moment I walked through a field on Kauai [in Hawaii] with Sam Neill and I looked ahead and I saw a triceratops. That was my first dinosaur and I will love that dinosaur the most forever.”

Alan Grant changes his mind about raptors

In the original movie, Alan sets a petulant kid straight by explaining in gory detail how a raptor attacks its prey. He tells the kid that raptors use their sharp claw to rip its victim open. “He doesn’t bite your jugular like a lion,” Grant tells the tween, before adding, “The point is, you are alive when they start to eat you.” Our understanding of how raptors hunt has changed since that movie’s release, and, in Dominion, Alan amends his original statement. He now realizes that raptors are “smart enough to go for the throat,” not unlike a lion. He’s also wise enough to follow Owen’s lead when he tells him to “triangulate” in order to catch a baby raptor that is more than capable of ripping their throats out.

We’ve got Dodgson, here

For those who don’t remember Lewis Dodgson from the original movie, he was the shady guy who showed up in Costa Rica to give Hammond’s most disgruntled employee, Dennis Nedry (played by Wayne Knight), a stash can of Barbasol shaving cream so that Nedry could steal dinosaur embryos for him. (Dodgson still has the can, which pops up later in the film.)

Back in the ‘90s, Dodgson worked for Biosyn, a rival of Hammond’s bioengineering company, InGen. Dodgson has since moved his way up to the top of the company, which is legally housing dinosaurs that have been captured around the world. Biosyn claims it’s using dino DNA to help cure diseases, but it’s also using the DNA to genetically modify other animal species. The movie seemingly makes the case that Dodgson has been the real villain of this series all along. He’s the one, not Hammond, who has used dinosaurs as a money making scheme instead of a scientific miracle that could help solve the problems plaguing the world.

Watch out for the Dilophosaurus

The venom-spitting dinosaur from Jurassic Park, which famously killed Nedry is back and ready to take out another bad guy. In Dominion, it’s Dodgson who feels the wrath of not one, but three of these poison spitters. Perhaps a sign of just how bad this CEO was.

The T-Rex always wins

It always seems as if the Tyrannosaurus Rex is in the right place at the right time. In the original Jurassic Park, the T-Rex shows up to save Alan, Ellie, Lex, and Tim from being raptor chow. But Dominion is the first time in which it appears as if the sharp-toothed dinosaur might be outmatched by the even sharper-toothed Giganotosaurus in a battle that feels very Godzilla vs. Kong. This time, it’s the humans who step in to help the T-Rex by throwing, you guessed it, a flare that distracts the Giga long enough for the T-Rex, with help from a Therizinosaurus, to take the new guy out. This final boss fight becomes a bit of a metaphor for the whole series: We need to work together if we’re going to move forward, that may be Republicans and Democrats or the T-Rex and the other less dominant dinosaurs. Good luck working with those raptors though. They’ll rip your throat right out.

Redemption For Henry

Dr. Henry Wu (played by B. D. Wong) first showed up in Jurassic Park as the theme park’s wide-eyed chief geneticist, who believed that he could bring female dinosaurs back without a hitch. Unfortunately, he forgot to check whether adding frog genes to the dinosaur’s DNA would result in them being able to breed. Whoops. This mistake led some to believe Henry was the villain of the Jurassic films, but as Dominion makes clear, Henry is a dedicated scientist looking to do good. He just keeps getting involved with the wrong people. In this final film of the franchise, the paleo-geneticist gets a chance to right his scientific wrongs by rewriting the genetic code of the crop-killing locusts that he also helped to create for Biosyn. Ignoring that little fact, Henry gets to end this film franchise as the hero he always thought he would be.

Welcome to Jurassic Park

For a brief moment near the end of the film, the Tyrannosaurus Rex walks through a circular outdoor structure and turns into the original film’s iconic logo. It’s enough to let you know the real star of this series has always been and will always be the T-Rex. Cue the Jurassic Park theme song.

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