The Jurassic World Dominion Moments That Made Laura Dern And Sam Neill Feel Like They Did On The Original Film

Sam Neill and Laura Dern sitting on the hyperloop train in Jurassic World Dominion.
(Image credit: Universal)

Returning to a role like Dr. Alan Grant or Dr. Ellie Sattler is a prospect that can be intimidating but also comforting when making an upcoming movie. With Sam Neill and Laura Dern embodying their Jurassic Park characters again, there were bound to be moments where the production of Jurassic World Dominion would send both actors straight down memory lane. As it turns out, there were a few moments that mad them feel as though they were working on the OG film. And they weren’t the only people on set that felt like they were stepping back almost 30 years into the past.

While speaking with both Sam Neill and Laura Dern during their respective Jurassic World press days, it was time to get nostalgic. Looking back at the impact of Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster adaptation of Michael Crichton’s original novel, stories of how Laura Dern’s role inspired fans all over have come to the forefront.

That inspiration is two fold, because when approached to star in Jurassic World Dominion, the actress shared the same concern pretty much everyone working on the film had. To make a sixth Jurassic movie, with the original trio of legacy characters returning, there had to be a good reason. If there was any doubt in her mind that Dominion wasn’t a good idea, it seemed to have washed away her first day on set. Here’s the first of two moments that the Oscar winner told CinemaBlend made her feel her most Jurassic: 

Honestly, there were two. One, when I walked on set for the first time on a day that Sam Neill walked up to me in Dr. Alan Grant’s hat, and I turned to my right and Jeff Goldblum was wearing Ian Malcolm’s black leather jacket. I was like, ‘Oh my god, we are doing this.’ Not only the three of us, but the whole crew got misty eyed, and we were very emotional on that morning. That had a sweetness I will never forget, at the nostalgia of what [Jurassic Park] means to so many people, and the people who made this movie.

It’s easy to call Jurassic Park things like “a landmark classic” or a “massive blockbuster” almost three decades on. However, that still feels like it’s kind of underselling the reaction to the movie overall. Though it became the top movie of 1993’s box office showings, that wasn’t always a given with this then untested brand. In fact, right up to its earth shattering release, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Action Hero was supposed to be the victor of that weekend.

Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, and Laura Dern stand together in concern in Jurassic World: Dominion.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Even with Jurassic World Dominion’s critically savaging reviews, the film managed to land the best non-superhero opening since 2019. Those good feelings from Isla Nublar’s natural splendor have kept this franchise alive through an entire trilogy of legacy-quels, though that’s not all that’s survived. As Sam Neill responded to the question of his most Jurassic moment, he shared this very in-character observation: 

That’s a good question. I think it’s probably, and there’s a little clip of it on social now, it’s the moment that Laura and I meet Jeff. He’s given some pompous speech to students about the end of the world. The dynamics between those three characters, and this is true of life too, you still feel the same about people 30 years later, as you did 30 years ago. I’ve got people that went to school with me that I’m deeply fond of, and some of them I absolutely loathe. Nothing’s gonna change that, and that’s 50 years ago! Jeff’s character never shuts up, and Alan is a workman of few words, and that always drives him crazy.

Having the Jurassic Park trio together certainly showed that they hadn’t lost any steps since last teaming up. Jeff Goldblum’s uncanny improv abilities were the best evidence, as both Sam Neill and Laura Dern had their favorite Dominion outtakes that they wished could have stayed in the finished film. The magic of the old gang together is still undeniable in the finished film, and it led to Dern’s other most Jurassic moment on set:

I think the second is working with the practical dinosaurs. Working with these mind blowing, stellar animatronics. You know, the painters and the technicians, from building the eye to painting the skin, to being a puppeteer inside its body. All of the people that come together to make this a reality, including me, because I had PTSD being back in the throes of this.

One scene in particular stood out to her, and it’s one that you can see in the most recent trailer for Dominion. Once the legacy cast of Jurassic Park and the new kids from the World series meet up, they’re faced with some close encounters that involve the Joker-esque Giganotosaurus. That creature in particular mined the practical experience for moments like the one the Ellie Sattler icon describes below: 

It was incredible, we’re on this watch tower in the middle of nowhere, literally, and it all felt disconcerting. When this thing comes at you, and it’s real, it’s radical. And just the nature of no railing, at night, and Chris and I…have radical things happen to us, and Jeff and Sam, everybody gets parcelled off and then we come together and are confronted with one of the more difficult leading men any of us had ever worked with. … The fact that that was not a visual effect, and it was a practical dinosaur on set with us, is insane.

Once they’ve reached the ending of Jurassic World Dominion, audiences will probably have their own picks for the moments that felt the most reverent towards Jurassic Park. Reading Laura Dern and Sam Neill’s personal picks will only help bolster those discussions, as the events that transpire in this summer blockbuster are the payoff to a gamble made at the movies in 1993. Paired with the chemistry of the stars that helped land that first dinosaur adventure in the history books, it's enough to keep fans inspired to the entire series for some time to come.

Whether you’ve seen it yourself, or still need to take this latest walk with the dinosaurs, Jurassic World Dominion is currently showing in theaters. Those of you who have a nostalgic desire for the original trilogy can turn back to the past, so long as you’re an HBO Max subscriber. At the time of this writing, that’s where you can relive all of those iconic moments as you stream the Jurassic Park movies.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.