Jurassic World Dominion Has The Same Problem As A Classic Anime

"Mobile Suit Gundam" is one of the biggest and most beloved anime franchises ever. Yet as exquisitely crafted as it is, and as profound as Yoshiyuki Tomino's anti-war story is, there is one thing the franchise could never escape: that no matter how often you tell the audience that kid soldiers fighting with giant robots is a bad thing, seeing them fight is pretty cool.

In its sixth entry, the "Jurassic" franchise faces the same problem. One of the many, many things wrong with "Jurassic World Dominion" is that the film wants to be a cautionary tale and a somber look at how we treat wildlife in our planet, while being obsessed with making the audience cheer every time the main characters hurt a dinosaur to escape danger they should not even be in.

Heavy spoilers for "Jurassic World Dominion" to follow.

Life finds a way

It's not like the franchise hadn't touched on animal rights and conservation before now. After the first "Jurassic Park" focused on the corporate greed and the god complex that brought the dinosaurs back from extinction, "The Lost World" was all about how, now that the dinosaurs are already here, we should just leave them the hell alone. To make it more impactful, the film took place not at an enclosed location, but on open fields that were undisturbed until the humans came in. The film even ends with a speech from John Hammond saying:

"These creatures require our absence to survive, not our help. And if we could only step aside and trust in nature, life will find a way."

But "Jurassic World Dominion" is nothing like this. The new film follows the bold and exciting ending of "Fallen Kingdom," which finally unleashes dinosaurs upon civilization and teases a brave new world where humans and dinosaurs live together. But rather than giving us "The Flintstones"-style thriller we've always wanted, "Dominion" throws aside its promising premise in favor of yet another film mostly set at a compound, and also a weird story about how the dinosaurs deserve to be a part of our world and to be hugged — while still having set pieces where the humans have to outsmart, outpower, or even outgun the dinos.

Not so heroic heroes

Indeed, the first half of the movie focuses on all the horrible things humans would do to dinosaurs if they lived among us, from poaching, to black market trading, farm breeding, wet markets, cockfighting, and more. This is clearly meant to elicit a negative response from the audience, a plea for them to draw a connection between the dinosaurs in the film and the way we treat actual animals in real life. When Owen and Claire get to a black market site for dinosaurs, they are appalled by what they see, and they genuinely feel bad for the dinosaurs.

And yet, in the ensuing sequence where Owen and Claire have to escape from killer hybrid velociraptors chasing them, they have no problem running over the dinosaurs with cars, or even throwing one out of a plane and to certain death. It doesn't get better once they reach the Biosyn compound, as our so-called "heroes" kick, throw things at, electrocute, and otherwise hurt dinosaurs to get out of situations they should not even be in. When Chris Pratt's Owen repeatedly stabs the Giganotosaurus, the theme music for the original "Jurassic Park" plays as a cue for applause, clearly a sign that he's doing something "heroic" — the Giganotosaurus is a carnivore, after all, so I guess that makes it okay? 

This is not unlike the way "Gundam" would wax philosophical about the cost of war one minute, and then have roaring music as a kid blows up a ship full of child soldiers in an exciting action scene the next.

A self-contradicting movie

The first "Jurassic Park" got away with violence against dinosaurs because they were shown as unnatural monsters that should never have been allowed to come back to life. It was a survival thriller where the few remaining humans were innocent bystanders trapped in a secluded location without much hope to escape rather than fight back. But in "Dominion," the human characters outright go straight into the danger zone, invade the home of these creatures, and somehow expect them to just be docile and give the humans some welcome tea.

This weird treatment of the dinosaurs is not restricted to "Dominion," of course. Who can forget how "Jurassic World" had one of the velociraptors get outright blown up by a bazooka, and not to talk about the depraved sadism of showing dinosaurs jump off a cliff to their deaths in "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom"? 

"Jurassic World: Dominion" serves as the weird, self-contradicting finale to a weird, self-contradicting trilogy, one that asks the audience to think of the dinosaurs as more than theme park rides, while treating them as even less than theme park rides. We may not have to learn to live in a world with dinosaurs, but it will take a lot of willpower to live in a world where this movie exists.