Next year will mark the 30th Anniversary of the Steven Spielberg masterpiece, Jurassic Park. Created by special effects artists from Industrial Light & Magic, the films’ practical and CGI effects still hold up to this day. The film truly brought dinosaurs to life on the big screen.
After the massive success of the first movie, Universal has since greenlit five sequels. However, not all of the films were met with critical and commercial praise.
I have been a massive fan of this film franchise ever since the original. The following list is strictly my opinion and one that I’ve been contemplating on over the past week.
6. Jurassic Park III
I can sum up this disappointing sequel in three ways: cheap-looking practical effects, poor scriptwriting, and annoying characters. This was the first Jurassic Park film that was not directed by Steven Spielberg and it shows. Spielberg came on only as a producer on the film with Joe Johnston taking on the reigns as director.
It was a tall order to conclude a franchise after its sequel that wasn’t universally loved. This film follows Sam Neil and company to Isle Sorna to rescue the Kirby’s son Eric. From the raptor dream sequence to the unbelievability of a young 12 year old child surviving on a dinosaur ridden island for two months, Jurassic Park III fails in nearly every category. Even the short 30 second T-Rex fight against the Spinosaurus was a huge let down not to mention the films’ running time of only 92 minutes (including credits).
Many people thought that this would be the final film to conclude the Jurassic Park franchise. However, there would be another…
5. Jurassic World: Dominion
Universal was too preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should (see what I did there?). Thus, Jurassic World: Dominion was born.
Where do I even begin with this movie? Supposedly, this film is the culmination of the entire six-film saga. Let me get the positives out of the way first. Seeing the original cast of Sam Neil, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum was pure delight. That’s it. That’s all I got.
If you had watched all the trailers and read the movies’ info, you would not be mistaken into thinking that this movie was about humans having to survive and live amongst dinosaurs. After all, that was the set up at the end of the last movie. Except, that is not what this film was mainly about. Instead, a good portion of this movie focuses on having to prevent these giant locusts from destroying the world’s food supply. Yes, I’m not kidding. Not to mention there is also three different story lines woven into one movie making Jurassic World: Dominion a very messy film.
It’s safe to say that Jurassic World: Dominion was pure disappointment.
4. Jurassic World
The film that began a new generation of dinosaur-loving fans. Jurassic World was a reintroduction so to speak of the Jurassic Park franchise. You can say it’s mostly a retread of the first movie, however Jurassic World does stand out in its own right.
This movie takes place once again on Isla Nublar where the original events of the first movie happened. With plenty of call backs to the original along with updated CGI effects, Jurassic World was a decent follow-up to the 1993 film. Jurassic World also introduced fans to two new dinosaurs: the sea-dwelling Mosasaurus and the Indominous Rex.
The movie was a major hit grossing over 1.6 billion dollars world-wide at the box office. With fans flocking to the theaters, a sequel was inevitable…
3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Now I know what you’re thinking. How could Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom be better than Jurassic World? Well I’m here to tell you that it is. With a change in director, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom would be a new story finally bringing dinosaurs to uncharted territories.
The first half of the movie takes place on Isla Nublar where the volcano on the island is beginning to erupt. As a result, this would destroy the entire island and everything living on it. A rescue team is sent to save as many of the dinosaurs as possible including Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard).
After barely making it off the island, the film gives us a very emotional scene where a brontosaurus overlooks the ship and gets taken away by the smoke and boiling lava. It was later confirmed by the director that that particular dinosaur was in fact the original brontosaurus from the first Jurassic Park movie.
The second half of the film takes place inside of a mansion where dinosaurs are being auctioned off for a lot of money. It is at this point where Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom turns into a haunted house movie with dinosaurs. There are a lot of scary and tense moments in this film especially when the Indoraptor gets loose inside the mansion.
I understand a lot of critics and audiences do not enjoy this movie but I thought it was a more refreshing take on the Jurassic Park franchise; one that we hadn’t seen in previous films.
2. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
To this day, I still do not understand why so many people dislike this movie. While it’s nowhere near as good as the first, The Lost World: Jurassic Park is a worthy follow up to its predecessor. The film is darker (in both tone and lighting) with more dinosaurs (two T-Rexes!) and enables Jeff Goldblum as the central character along with a younger Vince Vaughn.
The film is a fun survival-adventure movie. The stakes are higher and like the first movie, the effects still hold up today. There are plenty of dinosaurs to go around and more deaths to boot.
Sure this movie has the infamous gymnastics scene along with a final act that is a bit of a let down. However, there are still many memorable moments including the trailer scene that still gives me chills to this day. There are moments of pure horror including the intense raptors encounter. Though Ian Malcom has most of the memorable lines throughout, there is one line in particular spoken by a relatively minor character that does not go unnoticed: “Don’t go into the long grass!”
The Lost World: Jurassic Park should get more love and attention, especially after some of the more disappointing sequels.
1. Jurassic Park
Was there any doubt here? Considered to be in my top ten movies of all time, Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is a triumph of film making. The John Williams score, the special effects, the characters, all culminate in a fun-filled adventure. You’ll never look at a plastic cup filled with water the same way again.
From “What have they got in there, King Kong?” to “Hold onto your butts,” Jurassic Park has some of the most quotable moments in movie history. The film is a pure adrenaline thrill ride from start to finish. I can’t find anything I didn’t like about this movie. Phil Tippet, Stan Winston, along with the entire team from Industrial Light & Magic absolutely outdid themselves.
Jurassic Park was every kids dream growing up wanting to see realistic dinosaurs on a big screen. Spielberg delivered on every level. This film will remain a classic for years to come.
So that’s my ranking of the Jurassic Park franchise. Do you agree with my list? How would you rank all six films? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section down below!