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Why ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ is 2022’s Unexpected Eco-Catastrophe Film

“Life finds a way.” In a world striving towards new frontiers, does the new ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ (2022) hold a daunting cadence for us all?

Credit: Jurassic World Dominion/Universal

“Life finds a way.” In a world striving toward new frontiers, does ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’ (2022) hold a daunting cadence for us all?

Colin Treverrow’s new ‘Jurassic World’ digs deep into the environmental destruction that haunts the ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise. In his film, the exploits of the eponymous Jurassic World have led only to greater destruction. Dinosaurs have been let loose. Illegal poaching and breeding farms abound. The environment faces one of its greatest threats ever, a hoard of self-replicating, gene-spliced locusts. And, worst of all, a billionaire stands at the steering wheel.

Treverrow finds his film’s main antagonist not in the dinosaur nor the locust but in Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) – a callous billionaire. The CEO of the bio-engineering company, Biosyn – the competitor to ‘Jurassic Park’s InGen. What’s most interesting about Dodgson is that he’s a villain because he’s a billionaire. In the film, Dodgson’s greatest act of evil is his wish to profit from environmental collapse. From the destruction he’s engendered as the CEO of Biosyn. And so, Treverrow plays on one of the franchise’s darkest undercurrents: that the destruction envisioned in all of the ‘Jurassic Park’ and subsequent ‘Jurassic World’ films are at the hands of unaccountable billionaires.

Certainly, Treverrow tries to remind us that Dodgson isn’t that different from the franchise’s original billionaire, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough). The seemingly affable CEO who brought about dinosaurs in the first place. Something we can’t really ignore, not with the re-introduction of Hammond’s original victims: Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum). Our attention is drawn to the franchise’s vicious cycle of destruction.

Credit: Jurassic World Dominion/Universal

So, Treverrow’s film exposes the dangerous platform of these two billionaires – and the ecological crisis they have always posed. A reality that is not so dissimilar to our own world, where billionaires are the leading cause of climate change and ecological collapse. It turns out then, that the landscape of ‘Dominion’ is not so distant nor so unimportant as expected. Instead, Treverrow’s film resists the usual sci-fi/action label stuck to the franchise. It stands out as a film that tries to tackle the worldly consequences of its predecessors, and the billionaires it remains surrounded by in real-time.

The Legacy of ‘Jurassic Park’

Evidently, Treverrow’s film is not as distant from its predecessor as some might think. It wrangles with the franchise’s legacy of brazen billionaires: previously John Hammond and now Lewis Dodgson. And with Jurassic World collapsing with even more destruction than the original Jurassic Park, ‘Dominion’ stands out as a film that finally grapples with the extensive consequences of billionaire exploits – both in the franchise and in reality.

So, let’s start by talking about Spielberg. Steven Spielberg’s classic ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993) kick-starts the destructive cycle seen in Treverrow’s film. It introduces venture capitalist John Hammond, a man who dreams of resurrecting dinosaurs from extinction. The CEO of the bio-engineering company InGen, Hammond teams up with geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), and they eventually discover how to clone dinosaurs from DNA extracted from pre-historic mosquitos preserved in amber.

What follows is a tale of death and destruction, all at the behest of making profit. For, post-discovery, Hammond acquires the island of Isla Nublar where he builds the infamous Jurassic Park. A zoological attraction intended to make back all the money poured into Hammond’s scientific experiments. The implication here is that only mass destruction is bound to follow such unchecked wealth. And with Hammond in mind, Treverrow makes no mistake in situating Lewis Dodgson as his antagonist.

Credit: Jurassic World Dominion/Universal

Treverrow certainly holds no punches. He takes the devastation engendered by Hammond to its most catastrophic conclusion: a biblical-esque plague of locusts engineered by Biosyn consuming humanity’s source of food – and leading the world to extinction. And Treverrow ensures that this world is a recognizable place.

To do so, Dinosaurs become like our own animals. They’re poached and bred on horrifying farms. They’re bartered and sold in black markets alongside other collectibles: dinosaur meat, teeth, and skin. And Treverrow even imagines pseudo cock-fighting rings, filled with dinosaurs forced to kill one another.

The landscape of Treverrow’s film is terrifyingly similar to our own world. And fuelled by the fervent billionaire experimentalism seen not just in Spielberg’s infamous classic, but in today too, Treverrow doesn’t venture too far into the realm of the fantastical to expose the consequences of it. Even in Lewis Dodgson’s seemingly affable counterpart, Treverrow finds an opportunity to warn us.

The Environment versus Billionaires

Treverrow’s film provides a way into thinking about just exactly how destructive billionaires are. It doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to find a Dodgson or Hammond equivalent in today’s society. And it’s not a surprise that Dodgson’s crimes are primarily ecological. The richest 1% are the leading cause of climate change.

Credit: Jurassic World Dominion/Universal

Indeed, in much the same vein as Hammond or Dodgson, billionaires today are consumed by destructive extra-curricular pursuits. The super-rich are mainly linked to luxury carbon consumption – think mega yachts, private jets, and space travel. The inevitable result of which is exceptionally high carbon footprints. Kylie Jenner came under intense public scrutiny recently for taking her private jet on a 17-minute flight. A journey that was equivalent to a quarter of the total annual carbon footprint of one person. And that’s just one example.

It doesn’t even touch on billionaire space travel – which seems the most reminiscent of the unthinking experimentalism of the franchise’s CEOs. Jeff Bezos took an 11-minute journey to space. Sir Richard Branson went to the edge of space. And Elon Musk’s private space travel company SpaceX is keen to expand with a vehicle that could take humans to Mars. It’s safe to say that Bezos, Branson, and Musk make a dinosaur resurgence seem like children’s play.

In this way, ‘Dominion’ holds a lot of weight as an ecological film. It understands the haunting reality of billionaire exploits. And it treats the trivial with the seriousness it deserves – as a marker of a pressing future that winds its way scarily closer.


Treverrow’s film justifies its existence as a fervent, and political, echo of the unmitigated platform of today’s billionaires. It treats the exploits of billionaires with just condemnation. And in a franchise ensconced by repeating cycles of destruction, Treverrow has a lot to warn us about. ‘Dominion’ is more than just sci-fi and action. It’s a film that reminds us precisely why ‘Jurassic Park’ remains so relevant.

Written By

I'm an English Lit student in my final year of study. I enjoy dissecting pop culture, as well as thinking way too much about film, books, and TV. You can likely find me talking about some new release or another - or gushing about 'Everything Everywhere All At Once'.

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