Every 'Jurassic Park' and 'Jurassic World' Movie, Ranked by Metacritic

Find out where the latest 'Jurassic' title falls into the franchise when it comes to critical acclaim.
by Andrea Reiher — 

The cast of 'Jurassic World: Dominion'


When author Michael Crichton released his 1990 science fiction novel about a billionaire's theme park populated by real dinosaurs created from fossilized DNA, he probably had no inkling of the global phenomenon he had just kicked off. 

But Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment did because they bought the rights to the book before it was even published. Together, they made two blockbuster films out of Crichton's first and second novel, Jurassic Park and the follow-up The Lost World. Those two films spawned four more sequels, a Netflix animated series titled Jurassic World Camp Creteceous, a ride at Universal Studios, two short films, a plethora of merchandise, and a slew of video games, including Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, which lets players create their own theme park where the dinosaurs can wreak havoc at any time.

Now comes the sixth installment in the film franchise, Jurassic World Dominion, which is the first to reunite all three main characters from the original trilogy with the main characters from the updated trilogy. The description of the film is that it takes place four years after Isla Nublar was destroyed during Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and dinosaurs now roam the earth freely, which is upending the balance between man and beast.

While it is a huge step for the franchise as far as its storytelling world, Metacritic also wanted to explore how it fares compared to its predecessors when considering critical acclaim. So, to that end, here, Metacritic ranks every Jurassic feature film, based on Metascore.

Jurassic Park

Metascore: 68
Best for: Those who love bold ideas
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 127 minutes

Much like how Spielberg's Jaws left audiences stunned and thrilled in the summer of 1975, so did Jurassic Park in the summer of 1993. It introduced John Hammond's (Richard Attenborough) theme park that featured real dinosaurs made from ancient DNA trapped in amber — and what happened when they didn't want to behave like animatronic theme park characters. The dinosaurs were combinations of CGI and real effects which still look real nearly 30 years later. In fact, critic Roger Ebert called the dinosaurs "a triumph of special effects artistry." It is roller coaster from start to finish.

"Colossal entertainment — the eye-popping, mind-bending, kick-out-the-jams thrill ride of summer and probably the year." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Jurassic World

Metascore: 59
Best for: Fans who love the original but want to meet some new characters in similar circumstances
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes,
Runtime: 124 minutes

Largely regarded as the best film in the franchise after the original (as evidence by it having the second-highest Metascore, only behind the original), this 2015 reboot of the story focuses on the completely revamped dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar, run by Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard). Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) is there as sort of the "velociraptor whisperer," who pushes back against head of security Vic Hoskins (Vincent D'Onofrio), who believes that velociraptors can be weaponized. The thrust of the action centers around the Indominus rex, a dinosaur created by Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong). This new threat is highly intelligent, incredibly violent and vicious, and is able to camouflage itself extremely well. It starts rampaging through the park just as Claire's nephews Zach and Gray Mitchell (Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins, respectively) go missing in the park. Eventually, Owen's trained velociraptors sacrifice themselves to save the humans, with only his favorite, Blue, surviving, and the island is evacuated once more.

"Jurassic World is fresh and thrilling, and while it often tips its hat to the original, it's not a slavish copy, introducing more than enough new wrinkles into the prehistoric playbook to launch a new wave of sequels." — Chris Hewitt, Empire

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Metascore: 59
Best for: Jeff Goldblum fanatics 
Where to watch:

, Google Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 129 minutes

This is the only other film in the franchise besides the original to be both based on a Crichton book and directed by Spielberg, but it did not bring back Drs. Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant (Laura Dern and Sam Neill, respectively). Instead, the 1997 film focuses on Dr. Ian Malcolm (Goldblum), who is recruited by John Hammond to work with Dr. Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) to observe and catalog the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna, an island near the original Isla Nublar that was abandoned during a hurricane, so now the dinosaurs created there have free reign. Taking a page from King Kong, Drs. Malcolm and Harding realize that John's nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard) actually plans to take the dinosaurs back to an attraction in San Diego. They attempt to stop him, but one Tyrannosaurus is released into the city when the boat carrying the dinosaur crashes. They manage to capture the escaped predator and take him and his infant back to the island, which John declares is now a nature preserve.

"There is no way, no matter how much Spielberg flounce was imbued in this sprightly sequel, that it was going to be as good as the original. It isn't. By a long shot. But even two-thirds of the way toward Jurassic Park is about a third better than your average buster of blocks." — Ian Nathan, Empire

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Metascore: 51
Best for: Viewers who want wall-to-wall action 
Where to watch:

, fuboTV, Google PlayiTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 128 minutes

Owen and Claire appear in this 2018 film trying to save the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar from a volcanic eruption that will wipe them out, while Goldblum joins to argue that the dinosaurs never should have been created in the first place and should be allowed to perish in the eruption. Claire sets out to save the dinos with Owen, who wants to rescue Blue, the velociraptor he bonded with in Jurassic World. They are aided by John's former partner, Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who wants to help relocate the dinosaurs to a new island — except his assistant is secretly planning to sell the dinosaurs.

"Another Jurassic flick wasn't necessary, but it's a fantastic ride all the same." — Calvin Wilson, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Jurassic Park III

Metascore: 42
Best for: Completists who have to watch all of the films in a given series
Where to watch:

, Googl Play, , iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 92 minutes

There's a reason for the nearly 15-year gap between the two Jurassic trilogies — the third film in the first trilogy, which was released in 2001, was not nearly as well-received as its two predecessors. This one sees a married couple trick Alan into coming to Isla Sorna, the island full of dinosaurs from The Lost World, to find their missing son — and basically, dinosaur carnage ensues. Ellie also appears very briefly in this sequel, but really, it's just a host of new characters lining up to be dino-meals, plus Alan trying to save every person and every animal he can while his nefarious assistant Billy (Alessandro Nivola) plots to steal two velociraptor eggs from the island to sell in order to fund his research.

"Not as awe-inspiring as the first film or as elaborate as the second, but in its own B-movie way, it's a nice little thrill machine." — Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun-Times

Jurassic World Dominion

Metascore: 37
Best for: Those who want to see a lot of star power share a screen
Where to watch: In theaters
Runtime: 146 minutes

The final piece of the Jurassic puzzle brings together all of the heroes from the original film and the Jurassic World part of the story. Now, it is four years after Isla Nublar was destroyed and dinosaurs just live freely in the world. But that means a new black market has opened for poachers to hunt and take dinos, and it also means one very specific corporation is still trying to engineer new creatures. Owen and Claire have been living remotely, keeping Maisie (Isabella Sermon) hidden because of how valuable she is to the corporation, but people come for her, also taking Blue's child in the process. This leads them to stop at nothing to find them both. Meanwhile, Ellie is called to assist with an ecological disaster brought on by corporate experimentation. She reunites with Alan to get proof of what is happening. 

"The new trilogy ends frail whimper rather than a T-rex-worthy roar." — Chris Evangelista, Total Film