Retrospective on the Jurassic Park Franchise

Retrospective on the Jurassic Park Franchise

Michael Crichton’s masterpiece novel titled Jurassic Park in 1990 garnered a lot of attention and competition among some leading directors of the movie industry. The novel triggered a bidding war between Joe Dante, Richard Donner, Tim Burton, and Steven Spielberg. However, Spielberg appeared as the director of the original movie in 1993. In creating a perfect replica of the dinosaurs portrayed in the novel, Stan Winston created a perfect design, having previously designed the Aliens and Predators. 

With the expectation very high due to the elite team responsible in producing the movie, Jurassic Park debuted in 1993, and it quickly became the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of Titanic in 1997.

The four sequels which followed the movie include The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Jurassic Park 3 (2001), Jurassic World (2015), and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018).

Join us on a look back at the Jurassic Park movies.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park was a movie that portrayed a race for survival for humans after scientists, who John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) employed, have altered the natural course of science. InGen’s scientists have discovered the way to create genetic hybrids that make it seem as if Dinosaurs walk the earth once more.

Since the park had several accidents while in construction, InGen’s lawyers required that these scientists and experts examine the park to judge its safety. Thus, the movie opens with scientists who have come to experience the wonders of a man and his company who have successfully enclosed prehistoric animals in tall electric fences. In addition to the scientists, Ian Malcolm, Alan Grant, and Ellie Sattler, an attorney, Donald Gennaro, sets out to investigate the Park’s safety. Furthermore, Hammond brings in his grandchildren, Lex and Tim Murphy, to stand for the target market.

While the group is on an automated tour, an employee, Denis Nedry, who felt wronged by Hammond’s attitude and refusal to give him a raise, tries to steal several embryos for Dodgson, a rival company. So, Nedry shuts down the system of the park to steal the dinosaur embryo for $1.5million. Unfortunately, he not only loses the embryo canister, but he also loses his life in his attempt to flee the island.

The visitors who had earlier learned of Ingen’s ability to recreate the dinosaurs have warned about the repercussion of their viciousness and intelligence should such creature break free from the scientists. However, their fear became a reality, and dinosaurs were set loose. The animals hunted them rigorously till they finally found a way out of the park through a helicopter.

Reception

The movie received several awards, including best science fiction movie, best directing, and best writing. However, despite bringing Michael Crichton to the team, there were still some observable differences between the novel and the movie. Irrespective, the movie was a huge financial success and currently ranks 39th among the highest-grossing films ever.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

The Lost World - Jurassic Park

Following the tremendous success of the original Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton received pressure to write another sequel of the novel. One of those who requested the sequel was Steven Spielberg, who directed the first movie. The second sequel of Jurassic Park was then based on the second sequel of the novel written by Michael Crichton in 1995, titled The Lost World. Steven Spielberg, who had earlier directed the first film, also directed this sequel.

The film

Four years after the event, which unfolded at the park in Isla Nublar, history was bound to repeat itself in a different form. A wealthy family visited Isla Sorna, 87 miles from Isla Nublar. The family was ignorant of the presence of dinosaurs on the island. While wandering around, their daughter meets a dinosaur pack who quickly overwhelms her. Luckily, her father’s yacht crew rescued her.

As a result, the family filed a lawsuit against Ingen, which frustrated John Hammond to resign, and his nephew quickly replaced him. As the movie unfolds, Isla Sorna becomes clear as the original place the research took place. Hammond’s nephew, who leads the group, keeps the ambition of a dinosaur theme park which he can only achieve by capturing several animals. Within a limited time, the expedition team captured many dinosaurs, and the company is prepared once again to realize its plan.

Fortunately, Hammond had set the wheels in motion to protect the animals on this island. First, he sent a scientist, Sarah Harding, to document Isla Sorna. Then, he convinced Ian Malcolm to launch a rescue team and venture to the island as well. Thus, this group quickly presents an obstacle to InGen’s ambitions. The animals again went on a rampage, destroying both group’s communication equipment and leaving them stranded.

Luckily for InGen, their hunter, Ronald Tembo, tranquilizes the male Tyrannosaurus Rex. While in transport to San Diego, the dinosaur receives the incorrect dose of both tranquilizers and stimulants. Thus, he goes on a rampage in the city. Eventually, Ian Malcolm, using his infant as a lure, leads the creature back to the ship so that he can return to Isla Sorna.

In the end, the island became a nature preserve.

Reception

At its release, the film recorded enormous success recording the highest single-day box office of around $26 million, and it became the sixth highest-grossing film at that time. It was only second to Titanic in the highest-grossing film of 1997.

Jurassic Park 3 (2001)

Jurassic Park III

There was so much uniqueness about the third sequel of Jurassic Park. The sequel was not based on a novel directly written by Michael Crichton though the reflection of his ideas was still present in the movie. Steven Spielberg also settled for the executive producer role rather than the director role he played in the first two sequels. Joe Johnston, who had expressed his interest in directing a sequel of the movie, directed Jurassic Park III.

The plot

Dr. Allan Grant was relentless with his research after the visit to Isla Nublar in the first sequel. While he had moved on from his time at Jurassic Park, the public still only cared about his experiences there. Despite the popularity of his experience at the Park, he lacked funds to continue his scientific studies.

Since Grant required funding, the Kirby family, whose family friend and son went missing after a visit to an ocean near Isla Sorna, saw an opportunity. The couple offered the grant to Dr. Grant under the condition that they would like an aerial tour of Isla Sorna. Reluctantly, Dr. Grant agrees, ignorant of the original intention of the family. 

While flying the island, Dr. Grant realizes the desire of the family to land the plane and quickly opposes the plan. However, Cooper, a mercenary for the Kirbys, knocks Grant unconscious before he could properly present his agitation. Looking to capitalize on his experience to find their child, the family was unaware that Dr. Grant had never visited the Isla Sorna; rather, he visited the Isla Nublar.

The group landed and began searching for their child and a way to avoid dying by the dinosaurs. Unfortunately, both a pack of Velociraptors and a Spinosaurus follow the group’s steps. While the raptors only want the return of their stolen eggs, the Spinosaurus is only interested in a snack. After several close calls, with some group members perishing while the others, alongside the boy, found their way to safety.

Reception

Although the sequel was the lowest-grossing film of the franchise, it still managed to earn $181.2 million in the United States, the eighth highest-grossing film of the year globally. The movie also received mixed reactions to its release as critics felt it marked a decline in creativity in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Jurassic World (2015)

Jurassic World

Jurassic World was the first among the Jurassic World trilogy and the fourth among the Jurassic Park franchise. The movie had new hands ushering its production. Colon Trevorrow directed while Frank Marshall produced the film. Although Steven Spielberg made contributions to the movie, he only kept his status as the executive producer.

The plot

The movie returned to Isla Nublar, where two brothers Zack and Gray, visit their aunt who works at the park. The boys were handed over to another staff whose responsibility was to guide the boys around the park. Ignorantly, the boys escaped her tutelage and visited a restricted area.

Coincidentally, a new breed of dinosaur called ” the Indominus Rex,” which is highly viscous and dangerous, has broken loose. The boys narrowly escape the creature, but their aunt and the park owner’s search for the boys and the need to preserve his park made the dinosaur more dangerous. The park’s security team unleashed their trained dinosaurs in a bid to fight and recapture the Indominus, but the attempt was also unfruitful.

In the end, both the Tyrannosaurus Rex from the original film and Blue, one of the trained Velociraptors, teamed up to suppress the Indominus Rex. The boys reunited with their family, and quickly fled the park.

Reception

The move received a positive reaction from critics and film lovers globally. Like most of the Jurassic Park franchise, the movie was a high commercial success.

Although some critics felt it lacked the suspense that was a major attribute of the first movie.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom

The Jurassic World: The Fallen Kingdom is the sequel to Jurassic World and the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. J.A Bayona directed the movie, replacing Colon Trevorrow. Meanwhile, Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley, and Belen Atienza produced this film.

The plot

After the Indominus Rex went rogue, people deserted Isla Nublar for the second time. So, the world had to decide whether the island should become a sanctuary for the dinosaurs to flourish on their own. Before that time, a team of scientists had gone to extract the DNA of the Indominus. The group expectedly fled from a Tyrannosaur and coincidentally released the Mosasaurus into the ocean. Worse still, the island’s volcano showed signs of an impending eruption.

With the government opting to let the creatures die off, Sir Benjamin Lockwood, a former partner of Hammond and a former staff of InGen, decided otherwise and began making attempts to rescue the dinosaurs. The duo activated the tracking device of the dinosaurs and soon found them. They shipped and moved some of the dinosaurs before the eruption began.

Unfortunately, since the rescue team never had the best intentions in mind, the animals soon fell into the wrong hands who auctioned on the black market. However, Owen Brady and his group tried to stop the auction. As they caused chaos to stop the auctions, the newest hybrid creation, the Indoraptor, was debuted and quickly escaped.

Once again, Blue assisted Owen by fending off the Indoraptor. Unfortunately, one final dilemma faced the group as a deadly gas threatened to extinguish the captive creatures. In the end, Maisie, Lockwood’s “granddaughter”, decided to free the dinosaurs into the world.

After the release of dinosaurs on American soil, the senate had to reconsider its stance on the dinosaurs’ destruction. Rather, they stated that the dinosaurs should be able to lie peacefully with humans.

Reception

The film was commercially successful as much as other movies in the franchise, but it received mixed reactions. Some critics argued that the film lacked the entertainment of the first sequel directed by Steven Spielberg.

Conclusion

The next sequel of Jurassic Park is Jurassic World: Dominion which has a scheduled release in 2022. The movie will feature the return of Colon Trevorrow to the directing of the movie. Drawing from the preceding sequels, it is safe to conclude that the upcoming sequel is one to look out for.

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About the author

Author: Chris Ingledue 

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Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!

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Retrospective on the Jurassic Park Franchise
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Retrospective on the Jurassic Park Franchise
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Join us on a retrospective on the Jurassic Park Franchise. Explore the films that have made Jurassic Park a household name.
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Wheeljack's Lab
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