Jurassic Park movies have enthralled audiences for decades. The iconic franchise not only brought prehistoric creatures back to life but nestled itself snugly into our collective pop culture psyche. And 30 years on, still stands tall. Here’s recalling the cinematic magic that kept us on the edge of our seats for three thrilling decades, with a lineup of all Jurassic Park films out there, their order of viewing, and where to stream them.
“Welcome to Jurassic Park!”
It’s hard to believe, but the Jurassic Park universe was created over 30 years ago. Everything started when Steven Spielberg adapted Michael Crichton’s 1990 book, Jurassic Park, into a science fiction feature film in 1993. Audiences became instantly obsessed, and it is considered one of the greatest films from the 90s. The Jurassic Park series has become one of the most beloved film franchises of all time. It’s impossible to think of dinosaurs without mentioning Jurassic Park.
It amazed and thrilled audiences everywhere. Its incredible special effects brought the extinct reptiles to life and scared all the kids who saw it despite definitely being too young. These prehistoric creatures have become increasingly popular since the first film’s release. A whole generation suddenly wanted to be archeologists when they grew up.
Since then, 5 more films have been released; 2 more Jurassic Park movies, and 3 Jurassic World movies. It’s essentially 2 trilogies, both of which have been completed. There is also a short film (Battle at Big Rock), a five-minute prologue/trailer to Jurassic World Dominion, and a five-season Netflix animated series (Camp Cretaceous) included in the franchise. However, the six feature-length films certainly steal the spotlight and are much more popular and well-known than anything else.
How To Watch: Jurassic Park Movies In Order
To answer that, let’s see how many Jurassic Park movies are there in all. The films are viewed as one franchise split into two series. There are six movies in total. The originals, those with Jurassic Park in the title, came out in the 90s and early 2000s. Those are considered the originals. The revival of the franchise began in 2015 with the most recent release happening in 2022. Those are known as the Jurassic World films, or the Chris Pratt ones.
As for, how to watch them? That’s the easy part. There are no prequels, so the films should simply be watched in order of release. So that would be Jurassic Park (1993), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Jurassic Park III (2001), Jurassic World (2015), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), and Jurassic World Dominion (2022).
A short, Battle at Big Rock, was released in 2019, right after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the second of the sequels. While it is not essential to see, it provides information that could affect the storyline of the Jurassic World films, so feel free to watch it if you want to feel slightly more informed. It’s only 10 minutes. There is also an animated Netflix series currently running, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, that began in 2020, but it is unrelated to the continuity of the films.
All Jurassic Park Movies, Ranked (And Where To Find Them)
6. Jurassic Park III (July 18, 2001)
Jurassic Park III is the first film in the franchise to not be directed by Spielberg. It was instead directed by Joe Johnston who is also known for directing films such as Jumanji and Captain America: The First Avenger. Jurassic Park III is definitely the least popular and critically the worst of the three, but it’s pretty strong in the dinosaur department. This third installment introduces the things that the first two were missing: pterodactyls and William H. Macy. (Technically they are Pteranodons, but it’s the right idea.)
Sam Neill returns to play Dr. Alan Grant in this third Jurassic Park installment. Grant has been researching velociraptors since his first encounter with them on Isla Nubar. He isn’t able to find funding until he meets Paul and Amanda Kirby (played by William H Macy and Tea Leoni). The couple promises to pay his research fees if he takes them on an aerial tour over Isla Soria, the island from the previous film. what Paul and Amanda aren’t telling him is that they actually plan to land the plane and explore the island. While they do have a good reason, they’re totally leaving Grant out to dry.
The Kirbys’ son went missing on Isla Soria 2 months ago, and when the government provided no assistance, they took matters into their own hands. Since they appear well-to-do, they were able to convince Dr. Grant that they would be able to fund his research. They most definitely cannot, even though Amanda says she “could write all kinds of numbers on this check.”
Where to Watch For Free: Peacock, Tubi
Where to Watch to Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
5. Jurassic World Dominion: (June 10, 2022)
Jurassic World and Battle at Big Rock director Colin Trevorrow returns for the third and final Jurassic World movie. The last film, Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom, didn’t leave the story in a great place, so many people and critics weren’t looking forward to Dominion‘s release. That is until it was announced that the three original cast members would be returning. Those cast members were Sam Neill as paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, Laura Dern as paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, and Jeff Goldblum as chaos theorist Ian Malcolm.
Dinosaurs and humans now inhabit the Earth together, introducing a new and very fragile balance. The world just became an unstable ecosystem, which is why Claire and Owen have taken Maisie with them to live in the mountains of Sierra Nevada. A new character, Lewis Dodgson, is introduced as the owner of Biosyn, a global biotech giant currently suspected of kidnapping clones. Ellie also discovers that Biosyn might be working on unauthorized projects, such as a new genetically modified organism that would cause an irreversible environmental disaster.
It’s an interesting premise and a smart direction for the franchise to take, even if critics weren’t impressed. It makes you wonder that if this were to actually happen, would humans remain the apex predator, or would we fall second on the food chain?
Where to Watch For Free: Amazon Prime Video
Where to Watch to Rent/Buy: Apple TV
4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (June 22, 2018)
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom had a new director, J. A. Bayona, but Jurassic World director, Colin Trevorrow was still on the writing team. Truth be told, it isn’t the most intelligent movie. The new dinosaurs are pretty cool, and it has a very interesting plot twist. That being said, it’s still somewhat hard to follow. But that doesn’t make it any less entertaining.
It takes place 3 years after the Jurassic World theme park has been destroyed, but an active volcano is about to burn the whole island. The dinosaurs still remain on the island, so Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) and Owen (Chris Pratt) face the dilemma of going to rescue the dinosaurs or allowing them to naturally go extinct again. We see the return of Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), who recommends that the dinosaurs were unnaturally created and that they should be naturally eradicated by the volcano. Claire feels awful just leaving them there to die, and Owen knows Blue, his favorite velociraptor, is still on the island as well.
It makes the audience face the morality of the situation with the characters. And what no one knows is that by saving the dinosaurs, they might be playing right into some evil corporation’s hands. Fallen Kingdom introduces new dinosaurs, a new location, a new little girl named Maisie, and mysterious motives and conspiracies. The original trilogy had similar aspects, but the Jurassic World movies really lean into it and come on much more heavy-handed.
The film ends on a wicked cliffhanger. Not one that necessarily makes you excited for the next movie, but certainly one that leaves you wondering, “Could humans and dinosaurs coexist? And if they could, should they?
Where to Watch For Free: FXNow (with cable), Hulu Premium
Where to Watch to Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
3. Jurassic World (June 12, 2015)
Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard lead the cast of 2015’s Jurassic World, the film that revived the Jurassic Park series after 14 years. A fourth Jurassic Park film was in the works in 2005, but the script wasn’t coming together the way executive producer Steven Spielberg wanted it to. The idea was to explore a functional and successful dinosaur theme park. Colin Trevorrow was signed on as director in 2013 to make Jurassic World, and he followed in that same direction.
Chris Pratt is Owen Grady, a velociraptor trainer and ethologist at the park, and Bryce Dallas Howard is Claire Dearing, the new operations manager. The story follows Claire‘s two nephews, Gray and Zach as they visit Jurassic World. Things, of course, go horribly wrong when an attraction breaks down and leaves the boys helpless and vulnerable to a wide range of wild dinosaurs.
Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong), a character from the original trilogy, has also been working on creating new dinosaurs through genetic enhancement. His new dinosaur is known as the Indominus Rex and is the park’s newest attraction. Owen, being a specialist in animal behavior, tells Claire and Dr. Wu that the Indominus Rex is unpredictable and that the enclosure might not be as secure as they think.
Watch Jurassic World (2015) For Free: Peacock, Tubi
Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
2. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (May 23, 1997)
The second in the series is named The Lost World: Jurassic Park. It takes place nearly five years after the original film. It’s revealed that even though Hammond had lost ownership of InGen, he was able to conceal the existence of another island that was also breeding dinosaurs. Ignoring the fact that he was seriously injured on the previous island, Ian Malcolm reluctantly returns to assist Hammond because his girlfriend, Dr. Sarah Gooding (Julianne Moore) is hired by the new management, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard), who happens to be Hammond‘s nephew and the new owner of InGen.
The second Jurassic Park introduces new actors to the franchise, even if they get killed off pretty quickly. The Lost World features famous actors such as Vince Vaughn (Wedding Crashers, Freaky) and Pete Postlethwaite (Inception, The Usual Suspects).
The Lost World answers the age-old question: What would it look like if dinosaurs appeared in San Diego? And if you weren’t scared of velociraptors after the first film, you certainly are now.
Watch The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) For Free: Peacock, Tubi
Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
1. Jurassic Park (June 11, 1993)
In 1993, life found a way to bring dinosaurs back to life. Although, it’s more like Steven Spielberg found a way. Jurassic Park is about a new theme park-type island that features real dinosaurs. Dr. John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough), the leader of the project, recruits Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Alan Grant (Sam Neill), and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), all leading experts in their respective fields. Of course, things soon go awry when the dinosaurs start mating unexpectedly, and then escaping their enclosures.
The original Jurassic Park won over the hearts of fans and critics alike, with the majority of audiences agreeing that it’s the best in the Jurassic Park franchise. It’s terrifying and entertaining, while still being thought-provoking. There are many popular quotes from the films, but there are a few that really stand out and make you reflect. Malcolm provides a lot of comedic relief, but he is a scientist of chaos theory. When all hell breaks loose, he says, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Audiences quickly learn that velociraptors are extremely smart, Jeff Goldblum looks great without a shirt on, and objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Not to mention adding “Clever girl” to their vocabulary.
Watch Jurassic Park (1993) For Free: Peacock, Tubi
Rent/Buy: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
Battle at Big Rock – Short Film (September 15, 2019)
“Do not feed the wildlife.”
The Jurassic Park short film, Battle at Big Rock, was conceived just a year after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was released, and Colin Trevorrow is back in the directing chair. The film essentially shows the first interaction and conflict between humans and dinosaurs in the real world. It takes place about a year after Fallen Kingdom, in which dinosaurs escape their captivity and flee throughout California.
The film centers on a family going camping in Big Rock National Park (a fictional park) in Northern California. In the short, audiences see the family get caught in a battle between a family of Nasutoceratops and an adult Allosaurus.
It’s only 10 minutes, but it definitely isn’t a necessity to see it. It wasn’t very widely advertised in the first place. It is fun to see just because it gives you an idea about what happened after Fallen Kingdom and informs you a little more about what is going on in Jurassic Park Dominion. So if you have a little time and want to watch a good short film, you should check out Battle at Big Rock. And if you want to watch it for continuity purposes, watch it after Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom.
Where to Watch For Free: Youtube
Jurassic World Dominion: The Prologue (November 23, 2021)
This five-and-a-half-minute youtube video is the official prologue to Jurassic World Dominion. It was originally the first five minutes of the film, but in the end, it was removed from the theatrical cut. It can still be found on the Blu-Ray and 4K releases in the “extended cut.” Director Trevorrow has spoken quite a few times about why he cut it from the film, and the main reason is simply that the film already has a very long runtime; a whopping two hours and 23 minutes to be exact.
Its content is exactly what you would think; it’s the intro to a movie. That being said, it is gripping and really well done. It starts back when the dinosaurs first roamed the earth 65 million years ago. It’s a good touch and really the only part that I think should have been kept in the theatrical release. Dominion is the last film in the series, bringing the huge franchise to a close, so opening the film back when it all began feels very full circle, especially since we know Jurassic World Dominion is about dinosaurs freely roaming the Earth again. It also shows a mosquito sucking the blood of a Tyrannosaurus, thus setting up the entire premise of dino DNA being extracted from an amber-fossilized mosquito.
Most people remember this prologue for the drive-in movie scene in which the original Jurassic Park T-Rex crashes into a drive-in. That is the cover image and how it was advertised, so it makes sense since it is the most memorable part. If you’re interested in new dinosaurs, want a little bonus content, or are just itching to see more dinosaurs in the real world, then Jurassic World Dominion: The Prologue is the thing to watch.
Where to Watch For Free: Youtube
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous – Animated Series; 5 Seasons (2020-2022)
Camp Cretaceous was a very successful and popular animated series on Netflix. Many Jurassic Park and Jurassic World folk worked on it, including Spielberg (Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World, Battle at Big Rock, Jurassic World Dominion). It was brought to Netflix by Dreamworks Animation (Kung-Fu Panda, Shrek) in association with Spielberg’s film and television company Amblin Entertainment. It also features the voices of well-known actors like Jenna Ortega (Wednesday), Sean Giambrone (The Goldbergs), Raini Rodriguez (Austin and Ally), Ryan Potter (Big Hero 6), Paul-Mikél Williams (Raven’s Home), and Kausar Mohammed (Monster High).
The show follows six teenagers who are the lucky winners chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Camp Cretaceous. Camp Cretaceous is a new adventure camp located on Isla Nubar, the island where the original Jurassic Park was located. History soon repeats itself when dinosaurs break free from captivity and start attacking the camp, leaving the campers trapped and stranded. The kids, all former strangers, have to band together if they want to survive.
There are 5 seasons with 8-12 approximately 24 minutes episodes per season. The show may be set in the Jurassic Park universe, but it is definitely not a must-see in terms of continuity or context. It is however the most recent, so if you want to watch it, you should watch it last.
Where to Watch For Free: Netflix
In conclusion, it’s pretty simple to watch the Jurassic Park franchise in order: just do it chronologically, 1-6. If you’re feeling fancy, go for the extras. The short film and prologue are excellent, and the animated Netflix series will give you all the dinosaur love you’ve been missing since the series ended.
I’m an actor, singer, writer, and artist, incredibly passionate about film and other art forms. Outside of work, I love spending time with my dogs and eating Poke.