I really do love these grudge matches. I’ve pitted bad video game movies and rap biopics, and now I’m going to pit Jurassic Park sequels. In one corner, you have 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and in the other corner, you have 2001’s Jurassic Park III. I don’t think anybody will argue that either movie is better than the 1993 original. But when it comes to which sequel is better, then I think we can get a good grudge match going.
Now, like my Notorious Vs. All Eyez On Me and Daredevil’s Kingpin articles, this grudge match will be broken down into categories. I’m going to cover things like the story, the characters, their connections to the first movie, and of course, the dinosaurs. So, why keep arguing which movie is better? Let’s settle this with a grudge match!
Both movie’s stories pale in comparison to the original. But out of the 2 sequels, which story is superior?
The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s Story
The first JP sequel is loosely based off of the Michael Crichton novel of the same name. In this movie, Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum returns after John Hammond summons him to lead a team to a second island called Isla Sorna. It’s here that Malcolm and his team confront another InGen group that wants to bring the dinosaurs to the U.S. Chaos ensues.
Truth be told, some of the movie seems like a bit of a retread of the first movie. But having a T-Rex attack San Diego kind of fills my love for giant monsters attacking cities.
Jurassic Park 3’s Story
Jurassic Park 3 again takes place on Isla Sorna, but it stays put there and never ventures off into a city like its predecessor. This movie’s about a fractured couple, played by William H. Macy and Tea Leoni whose son gets lost on the island, and they hoodwink Dr. Alan Grant to help them get him.
The story this time around feels even more hackneyed and unnecessary than The Lost World. It’s not a bad story. It’s just rather silly. Let me just put it this way. It definitely feels like the third movie in a series. Make of that comment what you will.
The Story Victor: The Lost World
I kind of like the cheesiness of Jurassic Park 3 (especially since it features a talking dinosaur). But JP3 feels unnecessary, whereas The Lost World… also feels unnecessary, but at least a bit more necessary than JP3.
Both movies have a rather large cast of characters, but out of the 2 sequels, which movie has the best group?
The Lost World’s Characters
I’m going to be honest with you. Besides Dr. Ian Malcolm, I actually had to reread a quick summary to remember that Julianne Moore is even in this movie. I do remember that Vince Vaughn is in it as a photojournalist, but not in a good way since I didn’t enjoy his performance.
In fact, the only character I genuinely remember besides Ian Malcolm was his daughter in the film, played by Venessa Lee Chester. She kicks some raptor butt with gymnastics. Otherwise, the other characters are rather bland.
Jurassic Park 3’s Characters
I always preferred Dr. Ian Malcolm to Dr. Alan Grant in the first movie, but I really like Dr. Grant in Jurassic Park 3. He has a lot more personality and he works well with William H. Macy’s and Tea Leoni’s bickering couple.
In fact, the characters in JP3 actually feel as interesting as the dinosaurs in this one, and I genuinely feel more fear and terror in this story because I like the characters a great deal. JP3 has a lot of problems, but I honestly don’t think characters is one of them.
The Character Victor: Jurassic Park 3
What is a Jurassic Park movie without dinosaurs? Which sequel has the superior dinos?
The Lost World’s Dinosaurs
Like the first movie, the velociraptor plays a big part in this one. You also have a stegosaurus, as well as some lesser known dinos like the Compsognathus, the Gallimimus, and the Parasauolophus.
Oh, and of course you have the T-Rex in the end destroying San Diego. But we had the T-Rex in the first movie, so it’s a lot less impressive here. Meh.
Jurassic Park 3's Dinosaurs
Jurassic Park 3 has a buttload of dinos, like the Ankylosaurus, the Brachiosaurus, the Triceratops, and also a wicked battle between a T-Rex and a Spinosaurus.
And while they’re not technically dinosaurs, the scene with the “walking” Pteranodon is nightmare fuel. No question, if you love dinos, then you can’t help but love JP3. It’s the best!
The Dinosaur Victor: Jurassic Park 3
The dinosaurs in JP3 are amazing. In fact, in my mind, it has the best dinos in the entire series!
Connection To The First Movie
Neither film is as good as the original, but which film is the closest to the superb first flick?
The Lost World’s Connection To The Original
The whole set-up for The Lost World is that John Hammond from the first film has summoned Dr. Malcolm, which gets everything rolling. So, the first movie is super connected to this film.
The novel was even written as a direct response to the popularity of the first movie. And Michael Crichton even brought Dr. Malcolm back from the dead (He died in the first book) so he could continue the adventures in this movie. So, is The Lost World connected to the first movie? You bet your sweet bippy it is!
Jurassic Park 3’s Connection To The Original
The connection to the original for JP3 is a little slippery. Dr. Alan Grant is interested in a raptor’s larynx and wants to do more research, and only goes along for the ride because he’s been tricked.
Dr. Grant even says himself that he knows nothing about this island since the first island he was on was Isla Nublar, not Isla Sorna, so he doesn’t even know where he is.
The Connection To The First Movie’s Victor: The Lost World
As I mentioned earlier, both films feel unnecessary, but at least The Lost World feels like it is a natural progression to the story, while JP3 almost feels like fanfiction. It’s the best sort of fanfiction, sure, but fan fic nonetheless.
The first movie still looks good today since it used a combination of animatronics and CG, but mostly animatronics. So, which sequel still looks good?
The Lost World’s Special Effects
The Lost World is actually a really dark movie, which I think hides some of the special effects. Unlike the first movie, there’s a lot more CG in this one. The dinosaurs end up looking fine, but they still look much better in the original.
And this is kind of a problem, since as mentioned earlier, I think the characters are pretty bland so the special effects need to pick up the slack, which unfortunately, they don’t.
Jurassic Park 3’s Special Effects
Jurassic Park 3 actually has more animatronics than The Lost World, and they’re pretty good in this one. Plus, since most of the movie takes place in day time, we get to see the monsters in their full glory, and they still look good today.
In fact, out of the 3 JP movies, and the two Jurassic World movies, I actually think JP3 looks the best out of all of them.
The Special Effects Victor: Jurassic Park 3
No contest, Jurassic Park 3 looks awesome, even today.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park Vs. Jurassic Park 3: Which Movie Wins?
It was a tough battle, but I think that Jurassic Park III is the superior sequel. What do you think? Is there anything that you would contest in my argument? Sound off in the comments section down below!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.