Jurassic Park Franchise Retrospective Review (1993-2015)
Jurassic Park (1993):
It is a science-fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg and it is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Its screenplay was written by Crichton and David Koepp. The film takes place on the fictional island of Isla Nublar near Costa Rica, where John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), a billionaire, has created a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs. He brings scientist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) to the island along with his grandchildren to explore. While they are there, a shutdown of the park's power facilities makes them fight for their survival and escape the island. Aside from the technology used by characters in the film, Steven Spielberg’s take on Michael Crichton’s novel somehow unbelievably holds up to this day. The John Williams score and the special effects that brought dinosaurs to life are incredible that keep this film absolutely thrilling from front to start. The only flaw is that the antagonists of the story lack a punch. However, the film's overlying ethical conversation is what helps the film holds up. Throughout the film, the characters discussing the ethics of what is happening on the island and the controversial topic of scientific advancement. While many believe that dinosaurs are immensely cool and technology could eventually allow us to recreate these creatures. But should we? Do humans have the right to play God? The combination of scientists and children represent the audience. People, like children, go to these films wanting to see dinosaurs and perhaps wanting to see them in real life but the logical adult sees the problem with trying to live with dinosaurs. This is the debate that is pushed with this film. Does this take away from the thrilling aspect? No, not at all and the dinos are on screen for about fifteen minutes of screen time. Speilberg keeps these creatures away from the audience to build anticipation and which creates both terror and wonder. This is one of those film classics that also uses horror film tropes to scare the audience about the threshold of creation. This film ends with the humans surviving but not without defeat. The park is shut down and Hammond realizes the error of his ways. He has failed but Speilberg has succeeded again in creating one of the best monster/adventure film ever made.
Rating: 5.0/5.0 bowties
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997):
Spielberg returns as the director and Goldblum returns plus a few in cameos in this sequel and while it may be one of his lesser films, it isn't a terrible film as it has great production value especially in its cinematography. There are some thrilling aspects typical of Speilberg and the previous film such as the raptors in the tall grass scene. They do make the coverup of the prior film logical with non-disclosure agreements but the fact that the reason behind the second island is terrible. That plus the “gymnastics to defeat a velociraptor” scene is why this film is fairly forgettable. Goldblum returning is not even a saving grace and every other person is fairly plain. The dinosaurs somehow look worse than the previous film and this takes away the wonder that the previous film had and it turns out to be an average monster movie
Rating: 2.5/5.0 bowties
Jurassic Park III (2001)
This film marks the return of Neill but the leaving of Spielberg and Williams. This film started filming before the script was done and honestly, it shows. It tries to recapture the magic by involving some of the main characters of the original and adding a new dino antagonist in the Spinosaurus. While this does make the film somewhat tolerable, William H. Macy and Tea Leoni's marriage plotline was absolutely dreadful and the dinos once again somehow looked worse than the prior two versions. This shows especially in the fight between the Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Spinosaurus. The magic from the original is essentially gone completely from this film. It comes off as awful as a generic horror film involving teenagers making dumb decisions.
Rating: 1.5/5.0 bowties
Jurassic World (2015):
It took 14 years to bring back a film into this franchise as a sequel/reboot with new characters but it exists in the same universe as the other films. It builds on Spielberg's original film by updating the story with a "successful" park implemented on the original island. It touches on a similar message but one that's not about creation but human greed. People want things that are faster, stronger, and tougher. They aren't happy with simply having dinosaurs in existence that they get to see as audience members can at their local zoo. This message holds strong throughout the film as the original did but as the original did, the humans in the film have to create something new. They create the Indominus Rex which is a new creature with abilities and for once in a Jurassic Park sequel, the special effects look good and definitely show the advancement in technology since the original film. Chris Pratt plays the hero in the film who can communicate with raptors that may push the silly line but it is enjoyable enough. However, one of the biggest flaws is how much this film relies on nostalgia. The film does not even try to hide it so much so it ends up being punchlines to jokes. The plot is pretty much the exact same thing as the original just with a new monster. Owen Grady (Pratt) is Dr. Grant, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a worse Dr. Sattler, there are two annoying kids, they are essentially brought together by a rich man who wants to have the best park ever. Everything else is pretty ridiculous and outlandish such as Claire running from a Tyrannosaurus Rex in high heels. While this may work well for an entertaining and good popcorn flick, it ends up being a mix of the previous films with its attempt for a message and it's outrageous and cheesy scenes. The lack of sophistication that this film has makes the message not as engaging as the original. As such, this good and entertaining film still lacks the wonder that the original had.
Rating: 3.5/5.0 bowties
What did you all think of the films? Let me know in the comments section.
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