The latest ‘Jurassic Park’ is here: Take a look back at every film leading up to it
(Stacker) - Unless you’ve had your head buried under a rock for the past few months—or, you know, preserved in amber—you likely know that there is another “Jurassic Park” movie in theaters. “Jurassic World Dominion” was released on June 10, 2022, in the United States, just in time for the summer blockbuster season. The sixth installment in the series, the movie is the conclusion to the “Jurassic World” trilogy, and finally brings a storyline to the big screen that has been in development since the first “Jurassic Park” hit theaters in 1993.
According to Universal Studios, the movie—which is set four years after the destruction of Isla Nublar—brings both sets of scientists and caretakers together for the first time. Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard will reprise their “Jurassic World” roles while Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Sam Neill are set to return as the heroes from the original film. Richard Attenborough, who played the billionaire industrialist who started it all, died in 2014 and will not be making an appearance. The film will also imagine what it would be like if dinosaurs and humans coexisted in today’s world.
In case it’s been a while since you’ve seen some of the earlier “Jurassic Park” films—the series has spanned three decades, after all—a quick cheat sheet has been created to remind everyone of all their basic plot points before heading to theaters for “Jurassic World Dominion.” Using IMDb data and various news and entertainment industry sources, Stacker compiled a list of the five “Jurassic Park” franchise movies that preceded it. So grab your pith helmets and night vision goggles, and strap in for a tour of these prehistoric tales.
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‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Metascore: 68
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 127 minutes
The first installation in the original trilogy, “Jurassic Park” is based on a novel by Michael Crichton. The story was so inventive that it sparked a bidding war among Hollywood’s biggest studios, with the rights eventually going to Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg for a cool $1.5 million. The director then turned the 450-page book about a billionaire who employs a group of scientists to turn a remote island into a wildlife park stocked with de-extinct dinosaurs—a plan that predictably has disastrous results—into a tight two-hour action flick.
The final product is considered to be a landmark film in terms of its visual effects and commercial success. It created the dinosaurs using groundbreaking CGI by George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic company—a feat that was rewarded with an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, one of three wins for the movie. At the time, it was the highest-grossing film in history and had licensing deals with more than 100 companies. Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, and Richard Attenborough star in this first installment, alongside Wayne Knight and Samuel L. Jackson.
‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’ (1997)
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Metascore: 59
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 129 minutes
Four years after the original “Jurassic Park” shook up Hollywood, Steven Spielberg returned with a sequel, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.” Once again, the overall plot of the movie is based on a Michael Crichton novel, but this time the success of the adaptation is more middling.
Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, who, after being hired by John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), heads out to a second remote island where the dinosaurs that once populated the wildlife park were originally bred. He and his group (played by Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn, and Richard Schiff) must work to convince the world the remaining dinosaurs should be left in peace, while another faction—helmed by Pete Postlethwaite as Roland Tembo—attempts to execute its own devious plan.
Critics were mixed in their reactions to the movie—some delighted in the action sequences and special effects, while others bemoaned its lack of direction and focus. Still, the movie managed to garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.
‘Jurassic Park III’ (2001)
- Director: Joe Johnston
- Metascore: 42
- IMDb user rating: 5.9
- Runtime: 92 minutes
The final film in the original “Jurassic Park” trilogy, “Jurassic Park III” differs in form from the first two in a number of ways. For one thing, it is the first film not directed by Steven Spielberg—Joe Johnston directed while Spielberg acted as an executive producer. It is also the first of these movies not directly based on a Crichton novel. However, it does bring back two characters from the first two films—Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant and Laura Dern as Ellie—who take their own journey to Isla Sorna in an effort to help a divorced couple (played by William H. Macy and Téa Leoni) find their long-lost son.
This installment is much campier and more carefree than any of the others, feeling more like a B-movie than a Hollywood blockbuster. But fans didn’t seem to care about the major changes, and the movie still brought in $365.9 million at the box office worldwide.
‘Jurassic World’ (2015)
- Director: Colin Trevorrow
- Metascore: 59
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 124 minutes
In 2015, Universal rebooted the “Jurassic Park” trilogy with “Jurassic World.” Set 22 years after the events of the first movie, the film returns viewers to Isla Nublar where a new theme park stocked with cloned dinosaurs has been built on the site of the original. This time around scientists are taking security much more seriously, but push things a bit too far when they try their hand at being god—creating an entirely new species of a prehistoric beast through transgenesis.
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard star in the movie, which earned $1.6 billion at the box office, making it the most financially successful film in the series to date. While executive producer Steven Spielberg was never on set for the making of “Jurassic World,” he told The Hollywood Reporter he was “very involved” in creating and writing the story, which helps explain why the reboot landed so well with fans.
‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ (2018)
- Director: J.A. Bayona
- Metascore: 51
- IMDb user rating: 6.1
- Runtime: 128 minutes
Capitalizing on the success of “Jurassic World,” Spielberg released a sequel, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” in 2018. Fearing Isla Nublar’s long-dormant volcano may finally be ready to explode, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard return with Jeff Goldblum (reprising his role as Ian Malcolm) to evacuate the remaining dinosaurs from the remote locale. However, they quickly discover the team of mercenaries sent to assist them might have ulterior motives.
“Fallen Kingdom” didn’t fare quite as well with critics as the original “Jurassic World.” However, the fans still loved it, making it the third movie in the series to bring in more than $1 billion at the box office. Interestingly, this installment uses more animatronic dinosaurs than any other sequel in the series, despite the progression of computer-generated imagery special effects.
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