'Jurassic Park' was released in 1993 and has since produced five sequels (including next year's 'Jurassic World: Dominion'), an animated show, and two short movies. But we're here to talk strictly about the main features, so here are all the 'Jurassic Park' movies, ranked from worst to best.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
The bottom of this list isn't necessarily a bad place to be. After all, none of the subsequent 'Jurassic Park' movies have been bad, even if they're nowhere near as great and as iconic as that original film. Nevertheless, 2018's 'Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom' is the 'worst', although it was a tough choice between this one and the next on our list.
Directed by J. A. Bayona, 'Fallen Kingdom' picks up three years after the events of 'Jurassic World', and as it sees the return of Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), it's actually the only direct sequel in the series ('Dominion' will be the next). And this time, our heroes must save the dinosaurs from a pending volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar.
There's a lot to like about 'Fallen Kingdom', and we applaud Bayona for some truly incredible visuals and haunting imagery. There's no doubt that he adds his own flavor to this 'Jurassic Park' sequel, with the last half of the film even feeling like a gothic horror of sorts. And there are some great sequences, too, with the claustrophobic underwater scene being the most thrilling.
But the problems? Well, there are a few, else it wouldn't have qualified for the bottom spot. The film feels very much split down the middle, and its shift in setting - and even plot - is pretty jarring, to say the least. And while we've grown accustomed to seeing human villains in the 'Jurassic Park' movies, the ones here are really busy twirling their two-dimensional mustaches.
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Are you surprised? 'Jurassic Park III' is perhaps the most hated of all the sequels, although 'Fallen Kingdom' does - and in this case, has - give it a run for its money. But with that said, the fifth movie in the franchise is at least well put together, while Joe Johnston's 'Jurassic Park III' got off to a very troubled production, which you can almost see in the finished product.
Set four years after the events of 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park', 'Jurassic Park III' takes us back to Site B (Isla Nublar) for the second and last time (so far) in the series. We see the return of Alan Grant (Sam Neill) as he's tricked into helping Paul and Amanda Kirby (William H Macy and Tea Leoni) save their son, who's stranded on the island.
'Jurassic Park III' is a fun, popcorn-fuelled summer blockbuster, and there isn't a dull moment during its short runtime. If you're looking for one of the more fun 'Jurassic Park' movies that doesn't provoke any thoughts, and offers nothing more than back-to-back dinosaur action, there really is a lot to enjoy with this entry.
However, there's also a lot that will frustrate you. The film clearly takes a bit of a nosedive in quality, with a downgrade in special effects (strangely the animatronics are the problem here), while the plot is so paper-thin it's barely even there. Nevertheless, over the years, 'Jurassic Park III' has garnered a bit more appreciation from fans. It's a short and sweet effort, after all.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
There was a time when 'The Lost World: Jurassic Park' was everyone's favorite sequel in the franchise - which made sense at the time, considering it was the only one. Like the original film, the 1997 sequel is also based on a bestselling novel by the late author Michael Crichton, and while vastly different, retains the same beats and overall concept for the most part.
Four years seems to be the magic number when it comes to time passed (except for the 14-year hiatus that followed the third film, of course), which will also be the case with 'Jurassic World: Dominion'. Spielberg's second and last entry in the franchise invites us to a second island, a former breeding ground for Jurassic Park, which has also long since collapsed.
Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) leads a rescue mission as he searches for his girlfriend Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore), who has taken John Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough) up on his offer of studying dinosaurs in a more natural habitat. But the InGen board has other plans - hire a team of expert game hunters to capture dinosaurs for the far more accessible Jurassic Park San Diego.
'The Lost World: Jurassic Park' is really the only sequel in the franchise that truly understands the original 1993 film - which is largely down to two things: Steven Spielberg and Michael Crichton. The atmosphere and the suspense here are on point, even if there's a lot of cheesy humor thrown into the mix this time around. While far from perfect, this might just be as nostalgic as 'Jurassic Park'.
Jurassic World (2015)
Just when we thought the 'Jurassic Park' movies were long extinct following the underwhelming performance of 'Jurassic Park III', Universal Studios decided to do what InGen scientists had done - bring something prehistoric back from the dead. And who better to direct a new film than an unknown indie filmmaker? A gamble, yes, but Colin Trevorrow was clearly the best man for the job.
'Jurassic World' probably had one of the biggest marketing and promotional events we'd seen for a blockbuster in many years, and so it already wielded the power of '90s nostalgia before it even hit theaters. It was an exciting time to be a 'Jurassic Park' fan, and many will likely remember the weeks leading up to the cinematic release as much as the movie itself.
And the final product is worth its weight in gold - the park is open, now a Disney World-esque zoo built on the rubble of InGen's failed safari park. And it's dinosaurs galore - even the t-rex from the original film is in the mix. So what's the catch? The Masrani Corporation has signed off on the creation of a genetic hybrid - and the creature doesn't plan on staying cooped up forever...
You might think of 'Jurassic World' as a farfetched version of 'Jurassic Park', but we can't really think of another way the movie could have worked. And not only is it a love letter to the original film, it's also a direct sequel, flipping the coin and showing us that even if the park had opened, but it was also always doomed to fail. And as for the dinosaur battle in the third act - pure cinema gold.
Jurassic Park (1993)
You're probably about as surprised as we are. Steven Spielberg's masterpiece shouldn't just be at the top of the 'Jurassic Park' movies list, but at the top of everyone's list, period. Based on the 1990 bestselling novel by Michael Crichton, 'Jurassic Park' was destined for success, but no one expected that it would change cinema forever with its ground-breaking special effects.
Like the InGen scientists in the film, Spielberg and his crew achieved the impossible, yet there's really only 15 minutes' worth of dinosaurs in the movie (despite it feeling anything but). Using his classic less-is-more approach, Spielberg takes a leaf out of his own 'Jaws' manual and relies largely on suspense and atmosphere to thrill audiences.
On a remote Costa Rican island, InGen has used the latest genetic engineering technology to clone extinct animals for their remote safari park. Due to open to the public in a year, InGen CEO John Hammond first needs to convince the board that the park isn't dangerous, so he invites a group of select scientists to give it their approval. But one of his disgruntled employees has other plans...
'Jurassic Park' is one of those movies where almost every scene and every line of dialogue has been immortalized over the decades, whether on tee-shirts, mugs, posters, Internet memes, and so on. It remains one of the most impressive and influential films of all time, and its ability to mix together many genres - including horror - is a lost art.
'Jurassic World: Dominion' releases in theaters on June 10, 2022.