I think I speak for everyone when I say it wasn’t a surprise the Jurassic Park — or now World — film series was rebooted, especially with other classic franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek regaining momentum since the mid-2010s.
While both Star brands have, surprisingly, lost some steam with general audiences since Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII—The Last Jedi (2016) and CBS’ “Star Trek: Discovery” (2017- ), where do the dino-friendly movies stand nearly 30 years into relevancy?
Let’s take a look at one of the most successful blockbuster titles of all time and see which entries have held up the best in current times, and which were complete misses.
1. Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993)
Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park (1993): Words like ‘perfect’ and ‘flawless’ are usually hollow exaggerations by fans, but in the case of the very first JP movie [based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel], it really does live up to the hype all these years later.
Three decades on and there’s still plenty of adrenaline rushed excitement, stellar effects, interesting characters played by a talented cast, and of course, John Williams’ classic music score. Along with Jaws (1975) and E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Jurassic Park proves Spielberg is the master of action-adventure and has yet to be replaced.
2. Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
This is a movie where I feel like the viewing isn’t so polarizing if you know the backstory behind it. Allegedly, Spielberg had ‘director’s block’ before production on The Lost World began and basically made the sequel as a test run to see if he still enjoyed making movies after completing his landmark Schindler’s List (1993).
This time around, in the Jurassic universe, the new characters are a little blander and the action scenes a bit hokier. While the movie still shot to number one at the box-office, most people have always preferred the previous journey from four years earlier.
3. Joe Johnston’s Jurassic Park III (2001):
The first Jurassic movie without Spielberg’s direct involvement, and it shows, in some instances. Johnston is a fine action filmmaker on his own, so the dinosaur sequences are solid, and we get some legitimate suspense throughout — save for a goofy, meme-worthy dream sequence near the beginning.
Ignoring some slightly obnoxious characters played by William H. Macy and Tea Leoni, JP3 is about on the same level as The Lost World entertainment-wise.
4. Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World (2015)
If you’ve noticed this list is going in chronological order, that’s because the Jurassic movies seem to be a franchise that hasn’t gotten lucky, so far, with a random, decent feature in the middle of mediocre, schlock sequels. With all the hype and press coverage leading up to the revamped, newly titled Jurassic World, the final product was a bit of a letdown story-wise, even with all the usual flashy aesthetics. It wasn’t really a good sign when the main takeaway from Trevorrow’s first effort in the series was female lead Bryce Dallas Howard wearing heels during her big face-off with the T-Rex in the third act.
5. Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
While the earlier Jurassic sequels were accused of lazy callbacks and fan service, Fallen Kingdom takes a truly bizarre, batsh!t crazy route that you almost don’t know what to do with it because it’s such a trainwreck.
Wild dinosaurs, corrupt government and of all things, human clones, now exist in the Jurassic series. To me, there are movies that are bad because hardly any effort is being put into them, and then there’s this.
6. Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)
And now we reach our current installment, presently in theaters. In my mind, sequels that are bizarre and confusing aren’t as forgettable as sequels that are lazy and predictable, which is, unfortunately, what Dominion is.
At least with Fallen Kingdom, it was like a car crash you couldn’t take your eyes off. Here, we just get predictable fan service and phoned-in tropes. Worst of all, it’s a complete waste of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum reuniting since Jurassic Park.
Much like the Ghostbusters franchise, we can easily see the very first effort of the Jurassic Park/World features was clearly the best and continues to be so.
If it were me, I wouldn’t have given into temptation and let the magic of the 1993 picture live on in peace by itself. But since the box-office returns of the sequels speak for themselves, it looks like the Jurassic brand — whether it’s movies, books, theme park rides, or video games — will be here to stay for a while.
What’s your favorite Jurassic Park movie? Rank all 6 in the comments below!
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