4K ULTRA HD REVIEW / HDR FRAME SHOTS
(1) The lead characters are face-to-face with a huge Giganotosaurus that stands 18 feet tall and 50 feet long. (2) Dr. Alan Grant spots a Dreadnoughtus as he and Dr. Ellie Sattler arrive at the Biosyn Research and Sanctuary in the Dolomites Mountains in northeastern Italy.
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“JURASSIC WORLD DOMINION”
4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & Digital Copy; 2022; PG-13 for profanity, intense sequences of action, and some violence; streaming via Amazon Prime Video (4K), Apple (4K), Movies Anywhere (4K), Vudu (4K), YouTube (4K)
Best extra: Extended version – 14 minutes longer
DURING THE LAST three weeks, producer/writer/director Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) posted social media messages encouraging everyone to watch the new ‘Extended Edition’ of “Jurassic World Dominion,” just released on digital platforms, 4K disc, Blu-ray, and DVD. One of his Tweets said, “Deeply grateful to Universal Pictures and Amblin for restoring our original cut … On behalf of everyone who worked so hard on this film – thank you.”
We took Trevorrow’s advice and first viewed the 4K Ultra HD ‘Extended Version’ seamlessly encoded on a 100-gigabyte disc with the Theatrical Cut and extras. The added footage clearly makes the film a much better watch – from 2.5 stars to a solid 3 stars – with its character development and added dinosaur scenes for the third installment of the Jurassic spinoff. During its recent theatrical run, it received mixed reviews from critics, while audiences still scored it nearly 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, a part of the six-film saga that originated nearly 30 years ago with Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” (1993). So far in 2022, it’s still the No. 2 global box office money maker, right behind “Top Gun: Maverick.” But, among the three “Jurassic World” films it’s third, topping $975 million, while “Jurassic World” (2015) grossed $1.6 billion and “Fallen World” (2018) $1.3 billion.
The five-minute and 30-second prologue takes you back to 65 million years ago before the Earth was nearly destroyed by a meteor. It’s a tranquil Serengeti like-world until a T-rex battles a Giganotosaurus and then it flashes to the present-day as a T-rex rampages a drive-in theater.
The added footage starts from the get-go, reinserting the five-minute and 30-second prologue that was originally featured as an IMAX preview and online short months before its theatrical release, but surprisingly MIA during its multiplex run. It’s set 65 million years ago in a tranquil Serengeti like-world as hundreds of dinosaurs march across the plains. Then it quickly turns into a violent battle between a T-rex and Giganotosaurus that foreshadows a final showdown at the conclusion of the film, then transitions to the present-day four years after the volcanic island Isla Nublar was destroyed. Now the dinosaurs are running wild across North America and spreading globally while existing with humans. A helicopter chases a T-rex rampaging through a drive-in theater showing a double feature of the classics “American Graffiti” and “Flash Gordon.”
Not until the seven-minute and 43-second mark, does the ‘extended version’ pick up where the theatrical version starts, as a fishing trawler is attacked by a giant Mosasaurs chomping onto its steel crab pot as its surfaces from the ocean.
Later, two more minutes were added at the end of a western sequence as Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) rounds up a pack of Parasaurolophus while riding a horse in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, with two federal wildlife officers. They encounter a gang of dinosaur poachers demanding the dinosaur since its bone powder is worth $500,000.
(1) Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) a former operations manager at Jurassic World, continues her work to protect dinosaurs. She and Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), a paleo-veterinarian, break into a cattle ranch in Nevada and discover a number of infant Nasutoceratops. They only rescue one of the babies with the help of Franklin Webb (Justice Smith). (2-4) Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is now a dinosaur wrangler and rounds up a pack of Parasaurolophus in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with two federal wildlife officers. (5) During the ‘extended version’ Owen runs into poacher Rainn Delacourt (Scott Haze), who says he’s a federal agent for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife. (6&7) 14-year-old Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) now lives with Owen and Claire and goes into town and sees two huge Apatosaurus in the local lumber yard.
The remaining minutes of footage is distributed throughout the two hours and 30 minutes of onscreen action not including the closing credits. It gives more breadth to 14-year-old Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon), a clone of her mother Charlotte, and desperately sought by the sinister Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) and his biotech company Biosyn. She now lives with Owen and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) near a Pacific Northwest lumber mill town that's supposedly off-limits to her.
“Dominion” brings back the first film stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum. The added footage expands Ellie Sattler’s research after a supersize locust attack on a heartland farm. As expected, it provides a few more beats of Ellie’s relationship with Alan Grant at a dig site in Utah, and there are some tender moments between Owen and Claire. Toward the end, there’s an expanded conversation between Dodgson and his protégé Ramsay Cole (Mamoudou Athie), plus added moments with pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise).
The second act is still “Dominion’s” weakest link, a mixed bag, with shades of a Bond/Jason Bourne spy thriller taking place at a Malta dinosaur black market and, eventually, to the Biosyn dinosaur sanctuary in the Italian Alps.
(1) Owen’s trained Velociraptor Blue arrives at the cabin with an offspring, which Maisie calls Beta. (2) Owen hears a gunshot in the woods. (3) Large extinct locust attack a family farm as the two children take refuge in the barn. (4) Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) is shocked by the damage done by the locust. (5) Ellie heads to Utah to get a second opinion from an old friend Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill). (6) Dr. Sattler works with an infant Nasutoceratops before she and Dr. Grant head to the Biosyn Research and Sanctuary in Italy. (7&8) Maisie offers Beta some of her sandwich.
Beyond the Extended Cut, the best is the intense short film “Battle at Big Rock” where a blended family tries to survive a T-rex attack during a camping trip at the Big Rock National Park one year after the events of the “Fallen Kingdom.” Ten featurettes are also included showcasing the nearly 1,500 VFX shots, with 40 different dinosaur species, all handled by the folks at ILM. “The crazy goal is we wanted our digital dinosaurs to be so convincingly real that people think they must be animatronics,” says VFX Supervisor David Vickery. Trevorrow also demanded more naturalistic animal behavior from the dinosaurs. Plus, they restored the original T-rex digital model from the ‘90s, referencing Stan Winston’s animatronic to match textures and lighting for the latest version.
Another featurette celebrates the union between the ‘90s legacy actors with the “Jurassic World” cast. Chris Pratt recalls seeing “Jurassic Park” twice on opening weekend as a 14-year-old: “It really defined my generation.” Plus, another featurette captures the final night of filming with the cast and crew on a soundstage at the famed Pinewood Studios in England. Other production featurettes focus on the Dino black market set and the action sequences in Malta; the number of animatronics used for the return of the impressive and dangerous Dilophosaurus, Dimetrodon, the enormous locusts, a baby raptor – Beta – and the introduction of the biggest animatronic ever, the massive Giganotosaurus known as the largest terrestrial carnivore. “In every movie, there needs to be a new big, bad dinosaur and it was really important we found a real dinosaur that actually existed,” Trevorrow says.
(1) Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler arrive at the Biosyn airfield in Italy. (2) While riding a Biosyn helicopter (a modified Eurocopter EC135) Dr. Grant spots the Dreadnoughtus. (3) Biosyn Genetics CEO Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott) greets Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler with Biosyn Communication Director Ramsay Coles (Mamoudou Athie) (4) Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) is now the in-house philosopher at Biosyn. (5) Right, Henry Wu is troubled with his latest creation - the giant locusts. (6&7) Rainn Delacourt a second lieutenant to dinosaur smuggler Soyona Santos (Dichen Lachman) is attacked inside the Malta black-market fighting pit. (8&9) Claire and Owen end up in Malta searching for Maisie, and they hitch a ride with contract pilot Kayla Watts (DeWanda Wise) to the Biosyn headquarters.
Hands down “Dominion” features the best picture of the six “Jurassic” films, with “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997) a close second. Trevorrow and cinematographer John Schwartzman (“Seabiscuit”) captured the action on 35mm and 65mm film stock, and a couple of nighttime scenes on 8K Redcode RAW digital – with all the footage mastered in 4K (2.00:1 aspect ratio), except the VFX shots which were rendered in 2K. For my 2.05:1 wall screen, it’s a perfect aspect match with the maximum resolution. The clarity is first-rate from the facial close-ups of Owen and Claire to the detailed drone imagery along a British Columbia riverbank subbing for California and aerial cityscapes from the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. With the majority of “Dominion” captured on film stock, there’s a nice dusting of natural and controlled film grain.
The HDR10 and Dolby Vision grading is slightly darker than the 1080p watch, with a maximum light level of 542 nits and average light of 415 nits. The facial toning is natural and the contrast levels feature deep, dark blacks for the night scenes, tunnels, and caves, while bright highlights and midtones from fireballs are detailed. Most scenes are bathed in a neutral color palette, except for the warm tones during the final act.
The 4K disc, 4K digital, and Blu-ray are all encoded with the active eight-channel DTS:X soundtrack sending effects and music cues from Michael Giacchino’s orchestrated score (“Up,” “Ratatouille”) to height speakers. The bass response during the dinosaur prologue, other dino scenes, and the Malta chase sequence gives the subwoofer a good punch.
It's not often a director gets a second chance to rework or release their original cut, but levelheaded minds prevailed and Colin Trevorrow got his wish so we could see a more complete “Jurassic World Dominion.”
— Bill Kelley III, High-Def Watch producer