Jurassic Park Is Obviously The Best Jurassic Park Movie

With the release of "Jurassic World Dominion" this week there has been a great deal of discussion regarding the franchise and the movies contained within. The jury is still out on director Colin Trevorrow's upcoming trilogy capper that will see dinosaurs once again ruling the Earth, but what about the past? What is the best of the best from 1993 to now in terms of the films based on the works of Michael Crichton? I am here to say, dear reader, that there is little room for meaningful debate on this topic as the answer is and almost certainly always will be "Jurassic Park."

There has been some discussion around the /Film offices as of late on this very topic and, while I am a "Jurassic" devotee well beyond Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster classic, I simply can't stand here and let anyone pretend like any movie in this franchise — let alone nearly any other blockbuster from any franchise — can stand toe-to-toe with the original film and come out on the other side looking like a winner. Madness that way lies because popcorn movie perfection was achieved in the summer of '93, plain and simple.

The blockbuster gold standard

It is downright amazing nearly 30 years removed just how well "Jurassic Park" holds up to modern scrutiny. Perhaps the only thing that can be said is that some of the VFX shots look a little outdated but, I would argue, many more recent blockbusters with a whole lot more money and technology have CGI that looks worse. What Spielberg and the team of talented artists did back in 1992/1993 is downright staggering. That, coupled with the blend of practical, animatronic dinosaurs, gives the movie a look and feel that paved the way for the future and honored the past. It feels singular in that way, plus it services that film at hand perfectly.

So many blockbusters fail to give us people to care about or stakes that seem like they matter. There is a remarkable lack of dinosaurs for much of the movie's runtime, leaving us with human characters such as Sam Neill's Alan Grant, Laura Dern's Ellie Sattler, or Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm, not to mention Richard Attenborough as John Hammond, the man with a dream to build a dinosaur theme park. These characters work. We care about these people. They are entertaining to watch. Even minor characters such as Muldoon, played by Bob Peck, who gets to deliver the all-timer line "clever girl," offers the audience an awful lot.

But when the dinosaurs do show up? Man on man, moviegoers are in for a treat. The first time Alan and Ellie see a dinosaur after obsessing over them for their entire lives there is a true sense of wonderment that Spielberg manages to make the audience feel as well. "The son of a bitch did it," as it were. Not to mention the T-rex breakout sequence which, as I've said many times, is right up there in terms of mankind's greatest accomplishments alongside figuring out how to slice bread and going to the moon. It's that good. It's everything anyone could or should ever want from cinematic entertainment. Perfection.

To be fair...

Now, let me be extremely clear here: I am not lowering one to raise the other in this case. I absolutely love "The Lost World" despite its flaws. It has some of the best stuff in the entire franchise in it ("don't go into the long grass!" anyone?). I have joked quite seriously many, many times that "Jurassic Park III" is the worst movie I've seen the most times. There's something to that and the bird cage sequence still rips. I have not an ounce of cynicism in my bones about "Jurassic World" as it was one of the greatest moviegoing experiences of my life and I love that movie through and through, even if so many of my colleagues in the entertainment journalism space do not. I care not.

I say all of this to illustrate that I am not some jaded fan holding onto the past for dear life like someone who can't listen to any music beyond 1979 and thinks everything new is trash. I am not this person nor have I ever been, especially as it relates to this franchise. But even with all of the love I have for almost all of the sequels that have been made (with apologies to "Fallen Kingdom") at the end of the day, none of them can hope to achieve the level of perfection and filmmaking mastery that was achieved with "Jurassic Park." There is a reason it is still put right alongside "Jaws" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" as one of the greatest blockbusters ever made, frankly not sitting all that far back from "Star Wars" all these years removed. It's that good, and we all know it.