With a new Jurassic Park film unleashed on the world (I'll talk about the new film in a future column), I have decided to look back at the other films in the film franchise. I first became familiar with the world of Jurassic Park via the novel by Michael Crichton. The novel was awesome, and when the film adaptation was announced, I was wondering how in the world this could be filmed with realistic dinosaurs. Flash forward to 1993, and with several friends in tow, we headed over the mountain from the Tri-Cities to Asheville to, at the time, a top notch theater to view the film for the first time. I will never forget the first time I saw the very realistic dinosaurs on the big screen. As if movie fans didn't realize this already, Steven Spielberg is a genius. After viewing the film my friends and I couldn't stop talking about what we had just seen. After many viewings, we all waited in anticipation for a sequel, and were rewarded with the 1997 release "The Lost World." For the few of you who may not know anything about the JP series, it basically involves dinosaurs who were genetically re-created, who live on the island of Isla Nublar (a fictional island), and eventually will be presented as a tourist attraction called Jurassic Park. When the park's owner brings several experts in for a preview tour, chaos ensues due to the combination of industrial sabotage and a tropical storm. A "cat and mouse" game between humans and dinosaurs makes up the majority of the first film. The second film is set four years after the disaster at Jurassic Park, and the characters discover a Site B located on nearby Isla Sorna, where the dinosaurs were grown and hatched for the theme park. More excitement between humans and dinosaurs ensues, providing for a fun and satisfying sequel. The year 2001 saw the release of "Jurassic Park III", probably my least favorite of the film series. This effort was not directed by Spielberg, and only featured actor Sam Neill from the first two films in a major role. In my opinion this film was too brief in running time, missed opportunities for story development, and involved a group of people searching for their missing son who, after an accident, ends up on Isla Sorna with the dinosaurs. There is plenty of excitement, but this film is the weakest of the series in my opinion. Thus, the first JP trilogy ended with a thud. Moving forward to 2015, a new trilogy of films began with "Jurassic World", directed by Colin Trevorrow, and the film was a mega hit. New characters and actors were introduced in the new trilogy, including Chris Pratt, and Bryce Dallas Howard. The plot involves a new park called Jurassic World, a dinosaur theme park once again housed on Isla Nublar. The park is huge, and features a dinosaur that never existed in real life, and was invented for the park (trouble!). Due to unexpected happenings, the dinosaurs break free, putting the park visitors in extreme danger. The really awesome part of this film is how Chris Pratt's character Owen Grady has trained a trio of vicious Velciraptors, one of which is his favorite named Blue. The raptors will eventually play a role in helping save our human characters. The film ends with the park being abandoned like in the original film. 2018 saw the release of "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom", and was also very successful. The stars of the 2015 film returned and the plot involves an attempted rescue of the remaining dinosaurs from an impending volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar. While on the island Owen and Clare (Howard) discover a group of mercenaries are attempting to gather the dinosaurs and bring them to the US mainland. After much excitement on the island, the dinosaurs are transported to a large estate, where they are to be sold on the black market. Of course, Owen and Claire are attempting to prevent this from happening, and by the end of the film all the dinosaurs are released to roam across the United States, setting up the new film in the final trilogy (?), now in theaters. "Jurassic Park" has been a fun and exciting film series, and who doesn't love dinosaurs? The original film brought about groundbreaking special effects, which like the original "Star Wars" film, forever changed the landscape of cinema.
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