One of my first blog posts on Tan’s Topics was a ranking of the six Spider-Man films to date in order of how awesome they each were. And now, with the release of the latest instalment in the Jurassic Park/World film series, I thought I’d rank these 5. This list might be a bit more obvious and I can imagine will probably be similar to a lot of other people’s if they did their own, but there’s no harm in explaining further:
5. Jurassic Park III
The over-use of obvious CGI and annoying lead characters (bar Alan and Billy) made Jurassic Park III a very average watch and very disappointing in comparison to its predecessors. While the introduction of the Spinosaurus – which I’ll give bonus points to the film for being one of the best non-Tyrannosaurus creatures of all five instalments – made it more thrilling in parts, it didn’t help save the cheesiness of the Kirbys’ naivety and less than innovative storyline – they even recycled Sarah’s “lucky pack” from the previous film and give Billy a “lucky” bag too.
Also, while it’s great that they made the velociraptors more biologically correct in terms of their communication methods and appearance, the added “feathers” looked as if they’d just been given a fancy new quiff for the sake of it and failed to build upon the iconic significance they held in the first two films. There is a reason (or many reasons) this film performed so poorly in comparison and why a direct sequel was never made. And here’s JP3 summed up in one GIF:
4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
A tough call between the latest film and the second. Both shared the similarity of spending very little time on the islands and having more time spent in the civilised world. What I loved about this film is its several nods to the first and second films in some of its scenes. It carried on the idea from Jurassic World of creating a new dinosaur and built on the vision of using them as weapons, with that being the main focus of this one. The ideology of dinosaur rights was certainly pretty cute, and the emotions you see the dinosaurs displaying throughout struck at heartstrings with the audience.
You also see more character development here (well, for the two leads at least) compared to the other films, making it slightly less of the “chased by dinosaurs” cliché that we’ve come to expect. And while the plot twist of Eli being the “bad guy” made for some great tense moments and the subplot of Benjamin Lockwood’s “cloned” daughter added extra interest (but still, WHO IS HE?), the former character’s personality is not too different to John Hammond’s nephew Peter in the second film and the subsequently potential backstory of Maisie is left unfulfilled and unsatisfying. You are also left feeling a bit sorry for Blue, who again shows she might be able to survive without her siblings and proves yet again that raptors may be brave fighters, but are ultimately not cut out to fight solo without help from others. Hopefully she’ll be given justice or new companions in the next film.
3. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
What makes this film edge out the latest to take 3rd place is simply its level of cultural impact. Most of what makes the fifth film so good is what was already done in this film: dinosaurs that show emotions other than anger and hunger, a sense of wanting to root for their survival through the action and the actions of the main characters, and the experimented idea of what happens should you take them out of their “natural environment”.
Of course, some of the film’s most iconic scenes include the two T-Rex attacking the van (even if said scene drags out quite a bit and features the horrendously awful but also funny line “three double cheeseburgers with everything… no onions on mine… and an apple turnover!”, the raptors pouncing from the long grass, and the Godzilla-like chase through the city. We also get to see more of Ian Malcolm’s biting wit compared to his cameo in Fallen Kingdom, even if we are all still completely baffled to this day at the lack of explanation as to why his “daughter” is black…
2: Jurassic World
Above: Arguably the greatest dino fight of the series between four of the most fearsome beasts in the franchise.
Bringing John Hammond’s – and every Jurassic Park fan since then – vision of a dinosaur theme park to life, Jurassic World delivered a thrilling new aspect to the franchise. The innovation of creating a new hybrid dinosaur to peak visitors’ interest mirrored our own thirst for something a bit different other than emphasis being placed on the T-Rex and raptors. Instead, the legendary Rex makes a last minute scene-stealing and life-saving appearance and the raptors’ intelligence is both explored and exploited.
We also get a better mix of characters with better development, from experts in dinosaurs (Owen, his assistant Barry, and Dr. Wu) to those who are in charge but naive regarding the animals (Claire, Vic and Simon), to the polar opposites of the brothers (Zach, the average couldn’t-care-less teenager and Gray, the young dinosaur nerd) and their interchanging and evolving clash of personalities and ideals. Although the overall premise of the film is nothing new (escaped dinosaurs chasing everyone), the plot itself is probably just what everyone wanted and more.
1. Jurassic Park
Of course, the original film was always undoubtedly going to top the list. Despite the nagging feeling that although Alan answers Ian’s unfinished question as to whether he and Ellie are [together] with a simple “yeah” and yet we are never given the slightest hint that they are anything more than colleagues, and the entire human cast doing some hilariously bad over-acting in some scenes, Jurassic Park stands as a monument in cinematic history.
If you’ve never read the book but you are under the general impression that no film adaptation is better than the source material, then I suggest you read the book to see how well this has been translated onto the screen, thanks to Spielberg’s genius. What’s also quite ironic is that although technological advances meant that by Jurassic Park III the CGI should have been miles better, you are left thinking the first still looked far more realistic.
EDITED JUNE 2022: Read here to see if I think Jurassic World Dominion is any good and where it would rank within the franchise.