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Submitted by: Andy Canoy
The Jurassic Park films to me are one of the Top 5 greatest movie franchises ever. Why? Because this is what made dinosaurs such a popular thing in the world and it got me addicted to them. I had dino figures, books, and even films/documentaries about them like Land Before Time, Walking with Dinosaurs, Godzilla, etc. Back then, most portrayals of dinos were big, lumbering, dumb animals. But these films showed audiences that they can be intelligent, deadly, majestic, and dangerous. Even the “gentle” herbivores can be dangerous.
What can be said about the original Jurassic Park movie? When it came out in 1993 people went nuts. Not only did it have ground-breaking CGI effects that still hold up today, but it had action packed suspense, a sense of awe and wonder, and just seemed gigantic. It had memorable characters such as paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, John Hammond, self-professed “chaotician” Ian Malcom, Dr. Ellie Sattler, the traitorous Dennis Neadry, the two kids, the lawyer who gets eaten by a T-Rex, and so much more. Of course the dinosaurs looked absolutely fantastic. From the vicious Velociraptors, the frilled-spitting Dilophosaurus, and the iconic Tyrannosaurus look and moved like how they would in real life. It knows what to give the audience and just how much suspension of disbelief we can lend to still enjoy it despite some silly moments. As action-packed family adventures go, this is one that is still a lot of fun and shows how bringing back prehistoric creatures can cause chaos if not treated with care. FYI the Dilophosaurus is actually larger than its movie counterpart and does not have a frill.
The Lost World was actually the first Jurassic Park I watched before the original. It may not hold up to the first one but its a damn good sequel. The story was simple and yet it made perfect sense. John Hammond’s nephew takes control of InGen and plans to capture the Isla Sorna dinosaurs and bring them to the city and make a zoo. On the other hand, John Hammond sends an expedition led by Dr. Ian Malcolm to arrive there before the hunters. The two groups confront each other in the face of extreme danger and then team up in order to survive. Site B’s set design really felt like a free-roaming jungle full of diverse life from herbivores like Triceratops & Pachycephalosaurus to carnivores like T-Rex and Velociraptors. Let’s not forget the memorable action scenes. My personal favorites were the parental T-Rexes attacking the trailer or the male rampaging through San Diego like Godzilla in Japan. The one part that made me feel like prey goes to the tall grass scene with the InGen crew and Ian Malcolm’s crew being hunted by packs of raptors. They move unseen and attack when we least expect it like a pride of lions hunting wildebeest. The only problems I had with the movie are the human characters were uninteresting except Jeff Goldlum, Vince Vaughn, and Pete Postlethwaite and its takes several minutes until we get to see the new island which is fine if the characters and dialogue made me forget its long buildup. Overall, The Lost World is a good sequel that’s not better than the original but it ups the action sequences and shows what happens when you bring a wild animal out of its natural habitat.
Jurassic Park 3 has been widely criticized as the worst sequel to Jurassic Park. But surprisingly I really enjoyed it for what it was. The set pieces were amazing. The team did an amazing job at making the structures on Isla Nublar look abandoned, but also in making new areas that weren’t seen in The Lost World that fit right in on Site B. Instead of the humorous Ian Malcolm from the first two movies, we got Dr. Alan Grant who brings a serious role and yet the mind of a child-wonder. It was nice to see his life even after experiencing the violence and tragedy of scientific experimentation with dinosaurs. The reveal that the Kirby’s are not wealthy adventurers and that they’ve kidnapped Dr. Grant for a rescue mission works pretty well as one of the twists. Once again the dinosaurs look great. The new Raptor design with added feather quills, red and yellow eyes, and bright-color skin was a welcoming change from the brown and tiger-like colors from the first two films. Now we get to the one thing that people really disliked; the Spinosaurus. But guess what? I thought the creature was incredibly terrifying and cool! T-Rex has always been the quintessential dinosaur that defines giant killer monster but with more discoveries of even larger carnivores in the past years, its reign as king of the dinosaurs has been challenged by other contenders.
The biggest negative of the Jurassic Park sequels is the human characters got less interesting and relatable to a point that in Jurassic Park 3, the only persons I though did well were Sam Neil and William H. Macy. The rest of the crew weren’t terrible actors, but I just did not care for them when something bad happens to them.
When it comes to film, this trilogy is the greatest set of films I’ve watched as a kid and adult. It was what got me into dinosaurs. Even if I grow old, I’ll remember this trilogy for the rest of my life. Picking the greatest movies of all-time are difficult but the original Jurassic Park trilogy is my ultimate childhood movie. They are a fun thrill-ride for children and adults that will have you in fear, laughs, scares, amazement, and even tears. It makes the idea of bringing extinct creatures from the past back to life plausible & dangerous.