Jurassic Park roars


The original movie franchise has both bite and intelligence.

by Allen Therisa in Sequel Fever

Cover your ears.
Cover your ears.


Great big dinosaurs running amok; very, very loud roaring (and screaming); chaos theory; a little blood but no guts, children in peril; lots of stunts; Jeff Goldblum in black leather, Sam Neil in full frown; dastardly Brits and a wagging finger at scientific promise.


Blockbuster-tastic monster franchise intrigues and succeeds in equal measure.



Jurassic Park (1993)

Richard Attenborough is genial and Scottish, rich and foolish, and injects dinosaur DNA into eggs to bring prehistoric reptiles alive in a theme park that could give Disney a run for its money.

However, a power cut and criminal shenanigans wreck havoc as the dinos run loose and chase Neil, Goldblum, Laura Dern, and two terrified children around in the rain.

Some genuine shocks, real ideas (chaos theory for beginners, the end of history for pessimists), and a jaw-dropping invocation of what cinema is about.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

Dull and gloomy, with even more rain than in the first one.

Spielberg promises hoards of dinosaurs trampling a city (cool), while the reality is a single dinosaur bumping around a night-time San Diego (not so good). Goldblum is back (hurrah), but so is Attenborough (boo) overacting just as much as in the first one.

There's a passably sonorous Brit in the able form of Pete Postlewaite, and Julianne Moore is in the Laura Dern role.

Seems to go on forever and despite the screaming and the running about, not much seems to happen.

Jurassic Park III (2001)

Funny, violent, injected with the intelligence that made the original such a sparkler (and whose deficit killed Lost World), III kicks off with well-intentioned deceit, is filled with taunt set-pieces, and is punctuated with genuine moments of terror. Neill and Dern are reunited (hurrah),

Téa Leoni and William H Macey make a jovial marriage in trouble and it has dinos in the air.

Took $180 million at the box office, which was unfortunately dwarfed by the two previous entries.


Jurassic Park, without a doubt. There was such hype behind this movie on its original release that the reality of seeing the thing on the big screen was bound to disappoint.

Which it didn't.

Astounding, articulate, and so very, very loud, it gave a whole new dimension to the cinema-going experience. Add to that its perfect encapsulation of the fears the fall of the Soviet Union was beginning to generate (sadly characterised by the bloodshed about to be unleashed in former Yugoslavia) and you have the perfect chin-stroking blockbuster.


The Lost World.

So portentous, so dark, so very slow and disappointing, and it just goes on and on. Muddled.

And what are all those ridiculous dinosaurs doing in it?

Not that much.

Recent articles: