With the release of Jurassic World: Dominion, we now have the conclusion of not just the Jurassic World trilogy, but of the franchise overall (assuming Universal isn’t tempted to do another one). It all started with a Michael Crichton novel, one whose movie rights were sold before the book was even published.
And what it became was one of the highest grossing films of all time, and a franchise that inspired an entire generation’s passion for dinosaurs (myself included). So with the series seemingly being complete, we thought it was time to look back on the franchise itself and rank every movie from the worst to the best!
6. Jurassic World (2015)
At risk of incurring the wrath of the internet, let’s just say it, Jurassic World is not a very good movie. It’s polished and rams up the nostalgia factor, but it doesn’t actually have anything going for it on its own merits.
The biggest accomplishment it makes is reminding us why we love the original Jurassic Park. So it decides to follow every single story beat and just essentially remake the original but have the audacity to call itself a “sequel”. It’s very much The Force Awakens of the Jurassic Park franchise, and we don’t mean that as a compliment.
5. Jurassic Park III (2001)
From a purely technical perspective, this movie is probably the lowest quality. The series went down the CGI rabbit hole, and while it’s obvious in the later movies, at least it’s good CGI there. Jurassic Park III suffers from being released at a time when the technology was still figuring itself out, and as a result, its effects have aged very poorly.
In addition to that, this is probably the hammiest of all the Jurassic Park films, but honestly that’s a feature and not a flaw. It’s the most B-movie out of them all, but it kind of owns and knows exactly what it is. It never tries to infuse itself with any deeper philosophy, and it just delivers a larger budgeted SyFy original movie.
The second you feature a raptor saying, “Allan” you’re either very foolish or know exactly what you’re doing. And we’re giving this movie the benefit of the doubt…
4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
In a strange turn of events, the Jurassic World trilogy actually got better as things went on. Fallen Kingdom borrows bits and pieces from The Lost World, but it’s very much its own thing. Recreating the massive dinosaur extinction via volcanic eruption was both compelling and heartbreaking.
At its core is the entire question of Malcolm’s warnings against tampering with nature, and the idea that nature itself is “course correcting” is an interesting idea to ponder. It makes you question where you would lie on the debate of whether or not anyone should intervene to save them.
Granted, its third act gets a little hokey. But as a diehard horror fan, it’s cool to see them go full slasher movie when the Indorapter gets loose in the Lockwood Estate. Plus, is no one going to tell them that if you can point a laser pointer at someone to make the dinosaur go after them, couldn’t you just as easily shoot them and not have to deal with the highly volatile predator?
3. Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)
As previously mentioned, the Jurassic World films get better as they go and Dominion is a testament to that. Following the cliffhanger ending of Fallen Kingdom, this finale actually shows us a modern world inhabited by dinosaurs, and the many ramifications that it has. We see dinosaurs in the snow, we see an entire black market of dinosaur breeding, and we even see them interacting with and coexisting with modern day animals.
It actually takes the series into new territory and blends legacy characters with newer ones. To be fair, some of its character moments feel contrived out of fan service, and honestly that’s the only reason that holds this one back a little. Check out our full review here!
2. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
This was honestly a difficult movie to place. Sure it’s an unnecessary sequel, but then again so is every film in this series after the original. It has its flaws, including a third act that feels completely out of place with the tone of the rest of the movie. The movie itself takes itself far more seriously than Jurassic Park III, but at times is just as hammy.
But it does benefit from having a Michael Crichton source novel, Steven Spielberg’s directing, and a solid new musical theme that is almost as good as the original score. It features some spectacular sequences (particularly the raptor attack in the tall grass and the trailer going over the cliff) and, at the time, did tread new territory from the original.
1. Jurassic Park (1993)
Was there really ever any question? This list (and all other lists about this franchise) are really just a competition between the sequels, because we’re all in agreement that Jurassic Park remains one of the greatest blockbuster films of all time.
It’s smartly written, asks fascinating questions about science and ethics, and features some of the best effects ever made, compliments of Stan Winston and team. It uses CGI, but only sparingly. And because most of the dinosaur effects are done via practical animatronics/puppets, the CGI is more believable and to this day, the dinosaurs have never looked as good as they did in 1993!
Which ones are your favorites? Let us know in the comments!
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