Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is one of the most successful, crowd-pleasing films of all time. But is it truly Hollywood’s best dinosaur movie?
When Jurassic Park premiered in 1993, it blew audiences away with the adventure that brought dinosaurs into modern times to wreak havoc. Steven Spielberg was already known for his crowd-pleasing work, but this film instantly became one of his most iconic.
Though the sequels didn’t get the same kind acclaim, the trilogy still serves as an amazing and fun achievement. They each offer the same kind of out-of-this-world adventure few movies can deliver. But these films are not the only ones that have used dinos to entertaining effect. As good as the Jurassic Park series is, there are some other films that might compete for the best dinosaur movie.
This could have easily been a schlocky B-movie about killer dinosaurs, but Spielberg knows how to bring the magic out of a story. He finds ways to excite audiences with the unexpected, craft unforgettable sequences, and get them emotionally invested beyond the action.
9 Alternative: King Kong (2005)
After taking on Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson felt confident to retell the classic story of King Kong. The adventure takes place on a mysterious island that seems trapped in time with all sorts of prehistoric and deadly creatures living there.
Though Kong is clearly the star of the show, his battle with three dinosaurs makes for the most exciting sequence in the film. This extended sequence is terrifying and heart-pounding with some dino-action that even Spielberg would be impressed by.
8 Jurassic Park: The Score
The pairing of John Williams and Steven Spielberg is a match made in movie heaven. Though Spielberg has created some truly fantastic films, it’s impossible to imagine them without those iconic John Williams scores. This is very much the case for Jurassic Park.
Even before the astonishing world of the park is revealed, the score gets the audience’s heartbeat rising and lets them know they are in for something truly epic. When the music swells at the sight of the first dinosaurs, it’s hard not to get swept up in the moment, and hearing that score will immediately remind you of Jurassic Park‘s best moments.
7 Alternative: Dinosaur (2000)
A lot of films featuring dinosaurs show the creatures through the eyes of human characters. What makes Disney’s Dinosaur so interesting is that it is a look at how dinosaurs lived in their own time.
The film used groundbreaking animation to tell this epic story. Though it is probably one of the most overlooked of Disney’s films, it is a beautiful glimpse at a time that we have always been fascinated by yet know so little of.
6 Jurassic Park: The Action
A big part of the fun of bringing dinosaurs into modern society is seeing how terrible of an idea that is. As effective as the filmmakers are at creating interesting characters and a complex story, the real draw is seeing dinosaurs terrorize people.
Each of the three films has standout action sequences that are still thrilling to revisit. The jeep attack in the first film is iconic; the trailer sequence in Lost World: Jurassic Park is incredible; even the mostly-ignored Jurassic ParkIII delivers a great riverboat sequence.
5 Alternative: The Good Dinosaur (2015)
It was just a matter of time before Pixar decided to take on dinosaurs for one of their magical stories. The Good Dinosaur follows a young dinosaur named Arlo who forms a friendship with a young human boy.
Nothing about Jurassic Park would have worked if the dinosaurs didn’t feel believable. Thanks to some incredible animatronics and some pioneering visual effects, the movies achieved that feeling.
Rewatching the films all these years later, the look of the dinosaurs still holds up extremely well. It’s a rare thing for visual effects to feel timeless but it adds to the rewatchability factor of these films.
3 Alternative: The Land Before Time (1988)
The Jurassic Park movies may have defined the childhoods of many film fans, but they certainly are not suitable for all ages. That’s why The Land Before Time is a great kid-friendly adventure that led many young kids to fall in love with dinosaurs.
The film follows a group of young dinosaurs who have lost their parents while making a long voyage across a dangerous land. It’s a dino film that the whole family can enjoy together. But be warned — it still packs an emotional punch all these years later.
2 Jurassic Park: The Idea
Jurassic Park is not the first movie to show dinosaurs on the big screen, but more than any other movie, it makes you believe these ancient and powerful creatures are walking the Earth once again.
These movies not only explore the fun, adventure aspect of such a story, but introduce some fascinating ideas, such as whether or not using science in this way is wise, and the idea of life finding a way millions of years later. It elevates these films to a higher level of enjoyment.
1 Alternative: The Jurassic World Series
The original Jurassic Park trilogy introduced the idea of bringing dinosaurs back into the world; the Jurassic World films took that idea further and explored what it might be like if John Hammond’s original vision came true.
The first film showed a fully functioning version of the park which, of course, goes horribly wrong. Its sequel explored the responsibility of bringing these creatures back into the world. Jurassic World: Dominion looks to finally show the world where dinosaurs live among the humans.
Next Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone: 5 Characters With The Most Screentime (& 5 With The Least)
About The Author
A writer and film fan. I always enjoy keeping up with the latest films in theaters as well as discovering some hidden gems I may have overlooked. Glad to be a part of Screen Rant’s positive and fun community and have the opportunity to share my thoughts with you.