As the franchise ends with Jurassic World Dominion, we rank all six films based on which ones are most and least likely to stand the test of time

Let the dinosaurs run amok among humans and you’ve guaranteed yourself a blockbuster hit — nay, a blockbuster franchise comprising several hits across decades. Hollywood was instantly aware of that fact soon as novelist Michael Crichton published his worldwide bestseller Jurassic Park in 1990. Almost every top filmmaker of the era was caught in a mad rush for filmmaking rights of the book, and Steven Spielberg ultimately beat everyone including James Cameron to it. Three years later, Spielberg would direct Jurassic Park the film, which would go on to become the biggest hit of all times back then. And when Crichton published a sequel novel, The Lost World, in 1995, Spielberg was quick to use the book as the basis of his sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, in 1997.

Nearly three decades after Jurassic Park, the allure of dino adventure has remained unabated among fans despite a hiatus of around 14 years in between the Jurassic Park and the Jurassic World trilogies. The three Jurassic Park films and their three Jurassic World follow-ups have managed to set up a universe of fantasy cinema that has pushed the envelope on big screen entertainment as never before, with each film yielding mega grosses globally. With the latest release, Jurassic World Dominion, an era comes to an end. The makers so far have been officially non-committal over whether the franchise will reboot at some point in the future, so the guessing game is on.

Meanwhile, we feel Hollywood’s greatest creature carnival ever should surely have its own countdown. So, here are all six Jurassic films, arranged in reverse ranking order. We felt the best parameter to judge these films would be to consider which is most likely to stand the test of time.

Once the initial frenzy dies down, we’ll all probably wonder if this over-hyped and underwhelming last film was necessary at all. Colin Trevorrow’s wrap-up for the Jurassic lore garnered obvious buzz over the past three years since Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom released in 2018, but ended up like franchise finales often do — a cliched commercial vehicle aimed at cashing in on pervading hysteria through smart marketing. The film fluctuates incoherently between two unrelated sub plots — the first is about a greedy billionaire who wants to control the world’s food supplies by unleashing genetically enhanced locusts and a second one that concerns the raptor Blue and Maisie, the little cloned girl of the last film who is now a teenager, who are both kidnapped for genetic experimentation by the same billionaire. The biggest disappointment is the film doesn’t have a single dinosaur action sequence that would remain memorable. While fans loved the return of Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill from the Jurassic Park films, the actors hardly had engaging roles.

By 2001, when the third film of the Jurassic Park series released, the whole idea of dinos gone berserk in the modern world had started to seem tiresome and repetitive. Joe Johnston was roped in to direct after Steven Spielberg, having directed the first two films, pulled out of the franchise. Jurassic Park III tried adding life to the saga by introducing new species of dinosaurs, including flying reptiles. An action sequence involving some of the human cast, a gigantic crumbling birdcage and a pterodactyl out hunting for its hungry chicks was outstanding. However, such sequences were few and far in between, and the film’s weak script mostly rehashed formula as Sam Neill’s Dr Alan Grant ended up on the abandoned island Isla Sorna with a middle-aged couple to rescue their stranded young boy.

Spanish director JA Bayona was roped in to direct the second Jurassic World film, overall fifth of the franchise, mainly because it was felt he could bring in fresh flavour to the series. Bayona had impressed as a horror filmmaker with the 2007 hit, The Orphanage. He had also scored with the disaster film, The Impossible, in 2012 and the 2016 dark fantasy, A Monster Calls. A generic blend of these films was thought to be the perfect recipe for Fallen Kingdom. Among the pressures Bayona had to deal with was the fact that his film’s immediate predecessor, Jurassic World, which rebooted the saga, had become a global blockbuster, and he had to churn out a sequel that lived up to commercial expectations. Most viewers felt the film’s core plot, about the illicit trade of new species of genetically engineered dinosaurs, wasn’t strong enough to sustain the action-adventure, though the film went on to become a worldwide hit.

In retrospect, this would have to be the riskiest project among all Jurassic sequels. The 2015 film ambitiously set out to reboot a blockbuster franchise that really belonged to the last generation — Jurassic Park III, the last release of the film series before Jurassic World, had, after all, opened a good 14 years before, in 2001. Indian fans were doubly excited because the late Irrfan Khan played a strong supporting role as the tycoon Simon Masrani, who owns Jurassic World, the theme park of cloned dinosaurs where chaos ensues after a transgenic beast breaks away from its enclosure. The film introduced Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas as key cast members of the rebooted franchise. The Colin Trevorrow directorial hit bullseye and managed to rejuvenate global audience interest in the Jurassic lore. Among the Jurassic World films, it is undoubtedly the best.

Novelist Michael Crichton followed up his global bestseller Jurassic Park with The Lost World, and the book served as template for the film of the same name. The Lost World: Jurassic Park would be the only other film of the franchise that Steven Spielberg himself directed apart from the 1993 first film, Jurassic Park. The sequel brought back Jeff Goldblum as the eccentric chaos theorist Dr Ian Malcolm, the only cast member to return from the first film, along with a fresh cast toplined by Julianne Moore, Pete Postlethwaite, Vince Vaughn and Vanessa Lee Chester. A continuation of the plot of the first film four years later, the film’s storyline left a lot to be desired. However, Spielberg’s treatment, blending action and humour with non-stop thrills, kept fans engrossed all along. A highlight sequence of a Tyrannosaurus Rex on rampage down the streets of San Diego remains a franchise classic.

The one that started it all doubtlessly remains cream of the crop, for the sheer originality of concept and execution, as well as the pathbreaking use of CGI and animatronics that appear entertaining even today, almost three decades after the film’s release. Steven Spielberg changed the way sci-fi adventures, as well as creature features, would be made, with the film’s release in 1993. Considered a Hollywood classic today, Jurassic Park took home a global gross of over $912 million upon release, becoming the biggest hit ever anywhere in the world at that time. Based on Michael Crichton’s bestseller novel of the same name, the film cast Sir Richard Attenborough as the industrialist John Hammond, who opens a theme park named Jurassic Park that showcases genetically-engineered dinosaurs for the ticket-paying public. Spielberg was clearly in the mood to have some outlandish fun with this film, before releasing his gritty Holocaust drama Schindler’s List later the same year.

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