Jurassic World Dominion was this summer’s biggest movie event in theaters, so it’s only fitting that we check out the home cinema version for those looking to add this one to their collection this holiday season. Here’s our review of the extended 4K version.
As we discussed in our review of the theater run, Dominion does little to impress on a storytelling front but provides plenty of audiovisual spectacle during its two and a half hour runtime. It also reintroduces a large part of the cast of the original trilogy, so it’s high on nostalgia for longtime fans of the series as well, bringing Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum back together for the first time in decades.
They’re joined by Jurassic World headliners Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, who by way of their guardianship over the highly intelligent raptor Blue and wonder of science Maisie get drawn into a plot full of conspiracy theory stuff and corporate greed – about what you’d expect. There aren’t any great takeaways from the plot once the credits roll, but perhaps that’s not what you should be looking for in a dino movie. Henry Wu returns to provide a bit of a different perspective on otherwise reckless tempering with nature, but to call any part of the plot “philosophical” would be a major stretch.
Does the audiovisual grandeur translate to the home screen though? It comes with 14 additional minutes of footage if you run the extended cut, pushing the length of the film to a lengthy 161 minutes. That’s long for an action movie with a so-so storyline, but the new material does add a bit of dialogue to the story that adds more context so that transitions feel a bit smoother this time around.
The 4K Ultra HD disc (a regular BluRay disc is included for the extras) features an HEVC H.265 encode of the film that brings excellent clarity and detail to the screen – right down to the point where you can see individual hairs and pores in each close-up shot. The outdoor scenes are equally impressive, especially when the plot visits lush locations that are overgrown with plantlife.
The movie also features a lot of contrast, both within and in between scenes. Scenes that take place in the icy cold pop off the screen with their incredibly white surfaces, while a visit to an underground black market is filled with dim lighting and a seedy atmosphere that gets delivered while maintaining a high level of detail despite the low light. On the other end of the spectrum, scenes that take place in warm environments look like they make the effects of the scorching sun almost tangible.
Perhaps even more impressive than the video transfer is the DTS:X soundtrack that’s incredibly rich from start to finish, making full use of a quality speaker setup if you have one. In the opening moments there’s a huge storm overhead that instantly fills the room, with vocals and sound effects piercing the extreme weather to set up a premise not too unlike the rescue scenario in Jurassic Park 3.
Not all scenes are that intense, but when visiting the underground market the soundscape helps paint a picture of a lively place where a lot is happening that you’re not seeing on screen. Outdoor scenes, especially the ones in vegetation-rich environments, are teeming with life you can’t see either, and it makes the quieter moments all the more impactful. The latter parts of the movie are very action-packaged and really let the audio track shine, with every bone-crushing bite and thunderous footstep adding to the audiovisual experience. The iconic low rumbles of a Rex approaching feels great on the low end, while screams pierce through the high end of the spectrum.
It’s a shame that this (initial) home release of Jurassic World Dominion is a tad low on extras, with just over an hour of additional material, the bulk of which is typical behind the scenes stuff. No retrospectives on the whole franchise or interesting interviews here, and the only must-see extra is the short Battle at Big Rock film that connects the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with those in Dominion. Add that to your viewing session, and you’ve got almost three hours worth of dino-infused popcorn fun that you won’t want to miss out on if you’re already hooked on the franchise.