Julien Neaves – Editor
While scrolling through my Netflix recently I saw a thumbnail for a Jurassic World animated series called Camp Cretaceous. I was like “A Jurassic World animated series? That’s kind of weird.” And so I forget all about it and went on my merry way. But then a friend of mine (Kejan, big up yuhself) said he watched it and he thought it was decent. So then I watched it and I was like “Hey, this is decent.” And then I had the brilliant idea of reviewing not only the animated series but all five previous films, and ranking them all like the cocky reviewer that I am.
So here we are. I’ll be leaving Camp Cretaceous spoiler free but a T-Rex-sized SPOILER ALERT for all the films. Welcome to Jurassic Ranking!
#6 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
They should have subtitled this film “How to throw away all the good will your previous film built up in one movie.” But I guess that would have been hard to fit on a poster. Yeah I actively hate this movie and I am convinced it made a buttload of money coasting on the love fans had for the previous film. While the next entry was dumb this film seems to assume its audience is dumb.
First we have the teasing of Jeff Goldblum’s character when it ended up being a glorified cameo. Then we have the bait and switch of moving the setting of the film from the volcano hit-island to a mansion. Then we have the switching of the motivations of the two main characters. Then we have the stupidity of transfusing a velociraptor with freaking T-Rex blood. Then we have the inane plot of using (another) genetically engineered dinosaur as a weapon via laser pointer, making it both less effective and less reliable than, you know, an actual gun. And then the crap cherry on the dino craptitude cake is the clone girl releasing the dinosaurs into civilisation because they are clones like her. Now they are free to go and maim, injure and devour people as they please. You know the scene in the original when the T-Rex eats the guy on the toilet? This movie is the toilet.
#5 Jurassic Park III (2001)
This movie is not very good. Let’s just get that out of the way. You know when the Syfy Channel would have these low budget creature features on a Saturday like Carnosaur or Sharktopus? This movie is just a slight notch above that quality. Everything here just screams B-movie schlock.
Sam Neill returns as paleontologist Dr Alan Grant and he seems to be the only one trying. The other characters range from forgettable to annoying to brain dead, and the talents of William H Macy and Téa Leoni are completely wasted. The dinosaur effects are downgraded, the scares feel recycled, and the plot feels like it was written by a drunk monkey that stole a typewriter. And the movie contains the most ridiculous and parodied scene in the entire franchise. You know what I’m talking about. No, not the paragliding scene. The talking raptor dream sequence. Who the hell came up with that? The longer you watch this film is the more you will wish you were watching the superior previous entries.
#4 The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
For me the best Jurassic films have a perfect mix of the “awe” and “ahh!,” with awe being the glorious wonder of the dinosaurs, and the ahh! being the utter terror of the dinosaurs trying to eat and/or kill you. The first sequel succeeds in the ahh! but not so much in the awe category. Jeff Goldblum sees his side character from the first film, chaos theorist and mathematician Dr Ian Malcolm, upgraded to the lead. He heads off to a new island, Isla Sorna, with his stowaway daughter, Vince Vaughn, another guy, and meets up with his Dr Girlfriend, Julianne Moore. Sure these four have character names but you will have forgotten them by the time the movie is over.
I will say one thing about The Lost World, it will keep you mostly entertained, and it has a dark edge that you don’t find much in the other franchise entries. Whether it’s trailers hanging off an edge and glass cracking, or a stegosaurus stampede, or raptors picking off mercs one by one in the bush, there are some fun action sequences here. But the final act of the T-Rex running around San Diego deflates proceedings, and will have you checking the time to see how much longer before the movie ends. And The Lost World features the second most ridiculous scene in the franchise – Malcolm’s daughter gymnastically kicking a raptor. What is this? Gymkata? Lame! But yeah, if you are jonesing for some dino scares and dino kills this entry will leave you mostly satisfied.
#3 Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous (2020)
This animated series is a prequel/sidequel/sequel to Jurassic World and sees a young dinosaur lover (Darius) and five other teenagers at the titular camp set in Isla Nublar. Their adventure becomes a life-and-death race after deadly dinosaurs escape their encampment.
This one was better than I expected. The animation is solid, the voice acting is well done, and the characters are mostly archetypes but enough is done to make them feel like real people. And I actually did care if they made it out alive, which is a big thing for me. Most of the excitement does come from the teens’ own reckless and ill-advised behaviour but hey, the story has to happen. And there were some pretty interesting dinosaur scares and chases for the all important ahh! factor. The awe factor wasn’t too bad either, as the dinosaur reveals are set to the iconic Jurassic Park theme music. So yeah, fun times. Just a note of caution, there are some very intense scenes, and we see people get eaten by dinos (bloodlessly and they cut away before, but still) so this is not one for the younger children.
#2 Jurassic World (2015)
Okay, so Jurassic World is basically a redo of the original. But it was an enjoyable, entertaining redo that added enough things (gyrospheres, underwater dinos, raptor bonding) to make it stand out. Chris Pratt is a charming new leading man and Bryce Dallas Howard’s character is not annoying. And I didn’t want to see the two boys get devoured, so that’s a plus. But my favourite aspect of this film is that it was set IN AN ACTUAL PARK. The original film had like a ten-minute ride and that was it. This is a fully fleshed out attraction and somewhere you could imagine yourself going. Well, before all hell breaks lose and people start getting eaten. But before that, sign this brother up. So yeah, Jurassic World does not reinvent the wheel but it adds some nice shiny rims to them. And it gives enough awe and ahh! to make it the second best in the franchise (and you can fight me on that one). But I cannot defend running from a T-Rex in high heels. They’re on their own with that foolishness. And the trained raptor commandos? Yikes!
#1 Jurassic Park (1993)
What can I say that has not already been said about this multi-award winning film? It is just a masterpiece, and one of the best sit down, edge of your seat, spill your popcorn, fun Summer movies. You want awe? I give you ground breaking, award-winning special effects that still stand up to this day and surpass much of what you can find today. Audiences were used to stop motion dinosaurs, guys in suits, lame practical effects and obvious CGI. This was next level. This was freaking dinosaurs come to life! And you want ahh! Well I give you some of the most terrifying and nail-biting dinosaur stalking and chasing (and eating) that you can find, possibly ever.
Add to that a brilliant cast, majestic soundtrack, iconic (and oft parodied scenes), and instantly quotable dialogue, and you have just a spectacular film, hands and claws down. What more can be said? Nothing. The answer is nothing. Inarguably the best of the franchise and one of the best films ever made.
* Big shout out to our FUNNY CAPTION FRIDAY winner Wayne Rock. Interspecies relationships are always good for a laugh. And thanks to everyone else who submitted funny captions on our Redmangoreviews Facebook page, which you can find by clicking here.
So that’s it for me. How would you rank the Jurassic films? For my ranking of the seven Terminator Franchise Entries you can click here.
Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”.
I can also be found posting on Instagram as redmanwriter and talking about TV and movie stuff on Facebook at Movieville.