Thirty years ago, Steven Spielberg unleashed his dinosaurs all over the globe, and take it over they did, as many decades later, it remains his highest grossing film – no mean feat for the man who made Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET and Jaws. The formula was simple: Jurassic Park would be a combination of the adventure movie and the thriller but with brought back to life dinosaurs posing as the villain instead of a shark or an army of treasure hunting Nazis. It went on to be the film with which all blockbusters would be compared to.
Never intended to become a pop culture franchise, Jurassic Park originates from a bestselling book from Michael Crichton and has since gone on to devour pretty much everything in its way, spurning lines of toys, a live touring show and, ironically, a number of theme park rides.
With six films across two different but connecting trilogies, you may be wondering how best to get started with Jurassic Park, so here is the best order in which to watch some dino mayhem.
How to watch the Jurassic Park movies in order
When released in 1993, Jurassic Park became the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Steven Spielberg’s own ET in the process. Inspired by groundbreaking special effects and immaculate dinosaur animatronics as well as Spielberg’s typically impeccable direction, Jurassic Park became the rare blockbuster to receive widespread critical acclaim and has since become one of the most loved films ever made.
Starring Sam Neill and Laura Dern as a couple of palaeontologists and Jeff Goldblum as chaos theorist Dr Ian Malcolm, the trio become trapped in Jurassic Park after industrial sabotage wrecks the security precautions freeing regenerated dinosaurs. The original and the best.
The Lost World
After author Michael Crichton wrote a sequel to his book – somewhat at the urging of Spielberg – the great director wanted to adapt that too. Featuring only Goldblum and Richard Attenborough from the first film, The Lost World depicts John Hammond’s (Attenborough) attempts to redeem himself as he reckons with the consequences of his creation.
Though an enormous commercial success, The Lost World has never been anybody’s favourite Jurassic Park film and Spielberg has voiced his displeasure with it on many occasions. Talking about the sequel, he said: “My sequels aren’t as good as my originals because I go onto every sequel I’ve made and I’m too confident.
“This movie made a ka-zillion dollars, which justifies the sequel, so I come in like it’s going to be a slam dunk and I wind up making an inferior movie to the one before. I’m talking about The Lost World and Jurassic Park.”
Jurassic Park III
The first film made without the input of Spielberg or Crichton, Jurassic Park III was instead directed by Joe Johnston and saw Neill and Dern reprise their roles from the first film – albeit the later in little more than a cameo.
With production starting before a script was finished, Jurassic Park III came out as bit of a mess, but the film has found itself as something a cult favourite these days due to its action and genre thrills.
A fourth Jurassic film was planned as far back as 2001, with several more attempts made throughout the rest of the decade. Set over 20 years after the events of the original film, a theme park made up of genetically created dinosaurs is finally open to the public before one of the creatures escapes and goes on a rampage.
Featuring an all-new cast made up of Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and Vincent D’Onofrio, Jurassic World replicated the financial success of the first film and Spielberg and Neill also voicing their support for the movie.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Expanding on the events of Jurassic World and also throwing it back to the original with the return of Goldblum in a small role, Fallen Kingdom charts a dinosaur rescue mission as several entities seek to make a profit of what is left of the fallen theme park including selling the creatures at auction.
Following the pattern of the original trilogy, Fallen Kingdom was not received anywhere near as well as Jurassic World, with the film increasingly reliant on CGI over animatronics and criticism aimed at the lack of chemistry between Pratt and Howard.
Jurassic World: Dominion
Continuing the Hollywood trend of bringing back old faces for new films, Dominion featured the trio of Neill, Dern and Goldblum together for the first time since the original Jurassic Park. The other big development is dinosaurs now live in relative harmony alongside humans after the events of Fallen Kingdom.
Despite being a behemoth at the box-office, Dominion proved to be the least popular Jurassic film, with critics unimpressed with the movie’s dialogue, rehashed set-pieces and the newer characters.
All films in the Jurassic Park franchise are available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video.
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