I think it’s fair to say that everyone has their franchise. Jurassic Park is mine. (And Scream, of course.) But even coming from that adoring perspective, I never thought that the Jurassic movies would come roaring back to theaters quite like they have. (And streaming services, too! Camp Cretaceous is a Netflix must-watch if you haven't checked it out yet.)
The first film hit it big in 1993, becoming the highest-grossing movie ever at the time with a grand total of over $914 million from the worldwide box office. The Lost World: Jurassic Parkmade a pretty penny in 1997 as well, but then the franchise fizzled out with the 2001 installment, Jurassic Park III. The series made its big return to theaters 14 years later and re-solidified itself as one of the most beloved and profitable franchises out there. Not only did Jurassic World pass the $1 billion mark, but so did the next installment, 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Now that the final chapter of the new trilogy is about to hit theaters, it's time to revisit my ranked list to include Jurassic World: Dominion. Of course, all ranked lists are subjective so read on to check out mine but do share your own, too!
COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY
6. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
While I do grow fonder of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom the more I watch it, it lands at the bottom of the list because it’s got two very distinct halves that could have warranted their own films -- the dino rescue on Isla Nublar and the mainland mansion auction. Initially, I much preferred the former because it felt most connected to the previous installments, and also because the mission to save the dinosaurs made far more sense than the idea of bringing dangerous creatures into a mansion packed with people and auctioning them off at a starting price of $4 million. However, the more I watch the film, the more I appreciate the style and tonal shift. As a horror lover, how can you say no to a spooky house filled with dinosaurs?
But what wound up really cementing my love of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was the realization that Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom essentially follow the blueprint of Jurassic Park and The Lost World. Jurassic Park shows you the incredible potential of a dinosaur theme park and then the whole thing crashes and burns, proving Malcolm’s (Jeff Goldblum) point; they were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they never stopped to think if they should. Then, in The Lost World, Malcolm must travel back to the region to try and stop others from making similar mistakes. He doesn’t fully succeed and dinosaurs wind up making it back to the mainland. The Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom combination basically follow that same exact path but on a larger scale, and that’s what makes the franchise as a whole work quite well.
Yes, the Jurassic movies are about what happens when humans bring dinosaurs back to life, but it’s also about man’s tendency to make the same mistakes over and over again, even when they know the consequences. And now we’ve got Jurassic Park, Lost World, Jurassic World, and Fallen Kingdom all stacked on top of each other, further hammering in that point. The two Jurassic World movies can’t match the 1993 original as far as character development, tight storytelling, and the combination of CG and animatronics go, but they are big winners in the world-building department, which is key to the building intensity of the franchise overall. Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World adds the idea of designer dinosaurs and trainable raptors. Then, director J.A. Bayona's Fallen Kingdom throws in even more extreme genetic manipulation and also dinosaurs running loose in populated areas. It's the perfect tee-up for when the park becomes the world in Jurassic World: Dominion.
5. Jurassic Park III
Surprise! The third film is not in the bottom spot of this list. I do tend to flip-flop Jurassic Park III and Fallen Kingdom, but at the moment, Jurassic Park III has the edge for being a more consistent film and one that features one of my favorite characters of the franchise. Yes, it does feel a bit like an entertaining side adventure due to the tone and focus on a small group of characters, but the movie still contributes quite significantly to a number of the franchise's key concepts and themes.
There is some goofier material in the mix like the over-the-top Kirbys (William H. Macy and Téa Leoni) and, most notoriously, Alan’s (Sam Neill) raptor dream, but we are talking about a scenario where dinosaurs exist. Alan is about to get close to the island for the very first time since the traumatic accident. Can you blame him for having a warped nightmare involving a raptor? And yes, parasailing near Isla Sorna may seem like the worst idea in the world, but as you'll read repeatedly throughout this piece, the Jurassic franchise is filled with people making poor decisions even with the knowledge of past horrors.
Now for that favorite character. It's Alessandro Nivola who plays Alan’s assistant, Billy. While Jurassic Park and The Lost World show how this magical idea of a dinosaur park could get the better of people on a larger scale, Jurassic Park III basically gives that whole idea to Billy. Billy isn’t a bad guy; he knows stealing the raptor eggs is wrong. But, taking the eggs is a quick and tempting fix to their funding problem. Like many characters in the previous films, Billy learns that taking something someone else created just because it’s there is a dangerous thing and pays the price in one of the movie’s best set pieces. If only more characters in this series would take a cue from him!
Sure, Jurassic Park III is a bit of a tonal anomaly compared to the other films, but it does offer a quick 90-minute adventure with thematic resonance.
4. Jurassic World: Dominion
Is Dominion the conclusion to the Jurassic World trilogy I hoped for? Far from it, but Colin Trevorrow’s final Jurassic film is still brimming with stellar visuals, cast chemistry, and worthwhile ideas.
When the franchise started to lean more heavily into the action genre, it necessitated the use of more digital effects. The effects in Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom are solid, but not only does Dominion show off an especially effective balance between the use of digital and practical, but Trevorrow seems to know precisely how to frame those digital-heavy moments to ensure the creatures are believable in their real-world settings.
As for the return of Jurassic Park’s big three, their storylines are a bit on the thin side, but what the film lacks in depth and new layers Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum make up for in chemistry and charisma. Dominion is packed with echos of unforgettable moments from the 1993 original, beats the trio seems to enjoy recreating to great effect.
But ultimately, it’s Bryce Dallas Howard who not only runs away with this particular movie, but with the new trilogy overall. Claire Dearing experiences a significant arc that essentially mirrors the core themes of the franchise and the lessons one would hope viewers take from it, and Howard is able to make the most of every single ounce of that journey. Claire begins the trilogy as an all-business operations manager with no understanding of the creatures in her park only to realize the error of her ways, she makes an effort to change and winds up inspiring others to do the same all along the way.
But, of course, as it’s a tad lower down on the list, Dominion isn’t without its faults and most fall in the “missed opportunity” department, like when it comes to making the most of Biosyn. Biosyn is an extremely important element of the Jurassic source material and it’s only been teased in the very first film. After all these years, it’s finally time for Biosyn to take the spotlight and function as a key part of the storyline, but it’s done with absolutely no mention of the company’s history with InGen. So ultimately, not only does the addition of Biosyn fail to spark excitement with fans of the source material, but it’ll also likely feel like a random, insignificant addition to those who have never read the books or don’t know who sent Dodgson to give the Barbasol can to Nedry (Wayne Knight) in that first film.
The biggest missed opportunity of the bunch, however, is Dominion’s failure to lean into precisely what the franchise has been building towards all along — when the problem spirals out of control so significantly that there really is no ignoring mankind’s mistakes anymore because the park has now become the world. Trevorrow does that quite effectively in his Jurassic short film Battle at Big Rock, but Dominion is so focused on locusts and what’s happening in Biosyn Valley that very little screen time is dedicated to an ingenious wish fulfillment-type question this franchise has very much earned the right to explore; what if we lived side-by-side with dinosaurs?
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Here's another pair that tends to swap places on my list depending on the day - The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic World. Right now, the thrill of seeing John Hammond's dream fully operational (for a short period of time) is winning out.
No, The Lost World: Jurassic Parkdoesn’t come close to matching the 1993 original, but Jurassic Park did set the bar astronomically high. The fact that Steven Spielberg managed to deliver a sequel film with another great ensemble of characters, unforgettable set pieces, and a story that significantly broadens the world of the franchise is quite the accomplishment.
As inspired by Michael Crichton’s sequel book, The Lost World boasts a great set-up by introducing Site B on Isla Sorna -- because of course InGen had a production facility hidden away from the crowds that would have flocked to Jurassic Park. Not only does the new location give The Lost World the opportunity to deliver new dinos, set pieces and locations that still feel connected to the original film, but it also gives the story a major thematic boost as well.
Depending on how you interpret the final moment of Jurassic Park, that film essentially left the park and the dinosaurs behind. But as we all well know, you can’t just brush a problem under the rug and forget about it, especially something that significant. As Ian Malcolm says in the first film to John Hammond, “You didn't earn the knowledge yourselves, so you don't take the responsibility for it.” In The Lost World, that responsibility is shifting. In a similar sense, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard) is standing on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as he can; taking the dinosaurs that were created by the Site B staff and bringing them to a park on the mainland.
I'm well aware of the criticisms of the gymnastics scene and the Rex's San Diego romp, but a case can be made for both. Not only is the former a meaningful step forward for Kelly after she's cut from the team, but it's also an inspirational beat for any young Jurassic fan (like yours truly) who was eager to see a young girl step up and kick some butt. And when it comes to the Rex making it to the mainland, it's a franchise necessity. That's the moment that signals to the world that these dinosaurs can't just be cut off and forgotten. They share this planet with us now, there are many individuals eager to exploit them, and should we cross paths again in an uncontrolled setting, this is a preview of what it might look like. And now, sure enough, despite that warning, we see how that plays out on a much larger scale in Dominion.
2. Jurassic World
When you’ve been waiting for 22 years to see John Hammond’s (Richard Attenborough) original vision up and running, Jurassic World does get the benefit of coasting on the inherent thrill of finally seeing the park operational. But, I'm a big believer that leaning into that and following the Jurassic Park blueprint was the most effective way to tell this story.
This franchise is all about people making the same mistakes on larger and larger scales. Sure, it's easy to say, 'Look what happened at Jurassic Park! Why would you ever do that again?' But then, just like the wonder of seeing Ellie and Alan catch their first glimpse of that Brachiosaurus in the first film, you get chills all over again when Gray (Ty Simpkins) opens his hotel room window revealing a fully functioning Jurassic World.
And this park isn’t just John Hammond’s idea made a reality; it’s John Hammond’s idea times ten. It’s not just about going on a Jeep tour and hoping to catch a glimpse of a dinosaur behind an electric fence anymore. It’s taking a tram into a park that’s the size of a small city that gives you the opportunity to run alongside dinosaurs in a gyrosphere, to actually touch a dinosaur at the Gentle Giants Petting Zoo, and so much more. Perhaps this makes me part of the problem, but even after seeing all the dino destruction in these movies, if a park like this really existed, I'd be first in line to get a ticket.
Trevorrow's vision for Jurassic World may not match the first film in establishing a connection to an unforgettable, layered cast of characters, but it does catch the thematic wave that the first film kicked off and it’s also hugely successful when it comes to embracing the magic and terror of humanity’s need to make everything bigger, scarier and cooler without factoring in the potential consequences. Jurassic World may be missing some of the grounded realism that gave Jurassic Park that “reach out and touch it” vibe, but highly advanced visual effects, very creative park advancements, and well-executed action scenes essentially turn the film into an experience that truly offers the thrill of a theme park ride.
1. Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park isn’t just my favorite movie of the franchise; it’s my favorite movie of all time. On first viewing, back when I was a teeny tiny budding movie-lover, I was completely swept away by the magic of John Hammond’s dream, and then riveted by the nightmarish chaos of the park’s collapse. Not only did Jurassic Park mark my very first vivid memory of being wowed by movie magic, but it’s also the first time I remember fully grasping the power of science, the irresistible urge to do something incredible because you can, and then the wallop of realizing that that power comes with great responsibility.
I adore every single stitch of Jurassic Park from the horrific opening scene that isn’t talked about nearly enough, to Lex’s (Ariana Richards) Unix system triumph to some of the most widely beloved scenes of all time -- the Rex breakout, Nedry (Wayne Knight) versus the Dilophosaurus, the Velociraptor kitchen scene, and then some. Jurassic Park is packed to the brim with brilliant filmmaking whether we’re talking about cast chemistry, details like how the crew used a guitar string to create the ripple in the glasses of water, or the game-changing combination of CGI and animatronics.
There’s a reason why Jurassic Park is my one and only movie tattoo. (For now. A Scream tattoo is in consideration.) From my first viewing back in the summer of 1993 to my most recent watch mere days ago, Jurassic Park has never lost a single ounce of its magic. In a sense, Jurassic Park has become a safety blanket. Bad day? Turn on Jurassic Park! Caught a disappointing movie and need a reminder of what can be achieved through cinema? Watch Jurassic Park! Don’t have access to the full feature? Just put on the iconic John Williams score and you’re immediately transported back into the film.
I am forever grateful to the folks behind Jurassic Park for launching this franchise, for inspiring filmmakers for decades, and for playing a huge part in making me the movie lover I am today.
What is considered the best Jurassic Park movie? ›
- #1. Jurassic Park (1993) 91% #1. ...
- #2. Jurassic World (2015) 71% #2. ...
- #3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) 54% #3. ...
- #4. Jurassic Park III (2001) 49% #4. ...
- #5. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) 47% #5. ...
- #6. Jurassic World Dominion (2022) 29% #6.
The chaotic production was followed by a less than scintillating worldwide release—although Jurassic Park 3 went on to make $368 million worldwide, it was seen as a significant disappointment and much less profitable than even The Lost World.Is Jurassic Park 3 the worst one? ›
The third and final film in the new trilogy of “Jurassic Park” films is the worst reviewed of all six films in the franchise, holding a 34% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. “There's so much plot, so many characters, so damn much Chris Pratt, that the dinosaurs end up taking a backseat,” one critic wrote.What is the saddest Jurassic Park movie? ›
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom features the saddest death of the franchise, involving a Brachiosaurus running down the dock trying to escape the smoke and lava of the volcano exploding on the island.Which Jurassic Park is the scariest? ›
1. Jurassic Park Perfectly Balanced Its Genres and Had Genuine Frights. Even after nearly 30 years, the original Jurassic Park has maintained its place at number one; this time for how scary the film has remained.What is the weakest dinosaur in Jurassic Park? ›
Tuojiangosaurus is the third cheapest dinosaur. It is also one the weakest dinosaurs in the game due to its low health and unimpressive attack.What killed the boat Jurassic Park 3? ›
An adult pterodactyl chases and kills Billy (although the final attack happens off screen). An enormous dinosaur attacks a small boat containing Dr Grant, Paul, Amanda and Erik. The dinosaur smashes the boat, traps the people underneath, and then lunges wildly at them.Will Jurassic Park ever end? ›
As Trevorrow said, it is very unlikely that the Jurassic Park franchise will end there, as if there is one thing guaranteed to bring in an audience in huge numbers it is movie about dinosaurs. As he concluded, “For me I think it might have been clearer if they'd said, 'The end of an era', as opposed to all of it.Why did Jurassic World Dominion fail? ›
Fast-forward almost 30 years later and “Jurassic World: Dominion,” takes several steps back from the original. Colin Trevorrow's final installment in the Jurassic saga is a film riddled with messy subplots, terrible CGI, and a poorly written story that fails to bring the franchise full circle.Is Jurassic Park 1 rated R? ›
Even so, the franchise kept the PG-13 tradition, allowing children to see their favorite dino creatures come to life before their eyes. So, while the Jurassic Park movies are filled with danger, they are primarily concerned with wonder.
Does Jurassic World ignore 2 and 3? ›
rex. Nevertheless, Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow made it clear that, while he didn't feel that either film matched the original, both The Lost World and Jurassic Park III are still in continuity. They're simply "off to the side" of canon due to their taking place on a different island from the first.What is the most brutal death in Jurassic Park? ›
Eddie Carr – The Lost World: Jurassic Park
He's the unsung hero of the movie, only to become a chew toy for a pair of T-Rexes. It's probably the most gruesome demise within the original trilogy, as the dinos fight over his body, eventually tearing him in half.
Whitby Hertford was raised in Oak Park, California, and is an actor, writer, and director. He studied at the University of Essex's East 15 as a MFA theater-directing scholar and is a graduate of the University of Utah's actor-training program conservatory.How did Blue get pregnant in Jurassic World? ›
It turns out that Blue has been able to asexually reproduce due to the monitor lizard DNA within her system, and has given birth to a daughter named Beta. Blue and Beta live in the wilderness near the cabin where Grady lives with Claire Deering (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon).What are the 5 deaths in Jurassic Park? ›
The Muertes Archipelago, also known as The Five Deaths (Las Cinco Muertes in Spanish), is a chain of five islands 200 miles southwest of Costa Rica. They are named Isla Matanceros, Isla Muerta, Isla Pena, Isla Sorna, and Isla Tacaño.Which raptor dies first in Jurassic World? ›
In the Jurassic World Special Edition Junior Novelization Delta is the first raptor of the Jurassic World Velociraptor Pack to die instead of Charlie. Furthermore, due to her death in the novelization, Echo is the one that kills Hoskins instead of Delta.Who would win Giga or T-Rex? ›
In a fight between Giganotosaurus and T-Rex, the Tyrannosaurus would win. The two dinosaurs are pretty similar to one another, but their approaches to fighting would make a world of difference.What is the deadliest hybrid dinosaur? ›
1 The Monstrous Indominus Rex
Making the top spot for the most dangerous dinosaurs is the genetically modified Indominus Rex. Created from the DNA of 15 different species, this is the ultimate predator.
The “king of the tyrant lizards” will always be one of the scariest and deadliest dinosaurs around with a bite force three times that of a great white shark - making it the strongest bite force of any land animal that has ever lived.
Despite the fan consensus, Jurassic Park III's monster-centric action makes the movie a better sequel than the draggy, overstuffed The Lost World. Jurassic Park III may receive a lot more fan hate, but The Lost World is actually the worst of Jurassic Park's first two sequels.
Is Jurassic World Dominion the best movie? ›
Although overly familiar, “Dominion” boasts everything you'd ever want in a “Jurassic” film and is the best in the series since the original 1993 movie. (That said, apart from Steven Spielberg's wondrous opener, this is not exactly a high bar.)Is Jurassic Park one of the best movies ever? ›
In 1993, Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park took the world by storm. The film centering around a theme park of cloned dinosaurs who run amok is not only considered one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all time, but it launched a franchise that's still going to this day.Is Jurassic Park better than Jurassic World? ›
1 Overall: Jurassic Park
Ultimately, though, Jurassic Park emerges as the more inspired of the two. Jurassic World may have more to say in the long run thanks to a more cohesive vision, but the execution simply can't match the highs of the original classic or its sequel.