The Jurassic Park and Jurassic World films are, combined, one of cinema’s great franchise juggernauts. The relatable themes, deep and existential questions, form-evolving visual effects, and all the pace and excitement of your regular blockbuster, ensure that the Jurassic films offers a myriad of reasons for moviegoers to pay for a ticket and to buy some merchandise.
Vital to this connection and the franchise’s position as the 60th most lucrative media franchise in history (having accumulated $9.38billion to date), is the work of its directors: Steven Spielberg, Joe Johnston, Colin Trevorrow, and J.A. Bayona, respectively.
Managing life-sized mechanical versions of prehistoric creatures with burgeoning visual effects techniques, all-star casts, influential writers and all the expectations that come with a really expensive studio blockbuster, the four filmmakers to have helmed Jurassic movies have overcome many an obstacle to exemplify their abilities. In doing so, they have managed to merge all of these contradicting opinions, techniques and filmmaking requirements, into a franchise’s worth of entertaining and fun cinema releases.
In this edition of Ranked, we here at The Film Magazine are looking beyond the Jurassic franchise to judge the careers of the four men to have thus far directed a Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movie, ranking Spielberg, Johnston, Trevorrow and Bayona in terms of their overall feature directorial output, for this: the Jurassic Franchise Directors Ranked.
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4. Colin Trevorrow
Jurassic World Dominion
Colin Trevorrow came from nowhere to helm the first Jurassic World in 2015, his quirky independent hit Safety Not Guaranteed being the only feature directorial credit he had ahead of receiving the backing of hundreds of millions of dollars and the reboot of a beloved franchise. His Jurassic films have been incredibly successful, albeit critically divisive, but unlike the other directors on this list he does have a certified non-Jurassic dud that brings his success rate way down given his relative lack of releases…
Trevorrow may have worked on the scripts of all three Jurassic World movies, acting as producer on each, but his only directorial release between Jurassic World (2015) and Jurassic World Dominion (2022) was so bad, and so critically derided, that it got Trevorrow fired from his role as writer-director on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. 2017’s The Book of Henry, starring Naomi Watts as the mother of a young Jacob Tremblay (Room), was ill-conceived and borderline nonsensical, and it is by far the worst movie to have been made by any director on this list.
Given that any critical duds from Joe Johnson and Steven Spielberg have been written off by at least a handful of popular or critical masterpieces, Trevorrow sits at the foot of this list owing to his relative lack of consistency in his so-far short career.
Recommended for you: 10 Best Moments from the Jurassic Park Franchise
3. J.A. Bayona
An incredibly talented director who experienced widespread critical success in different genres across his first three feature directorial efforts, J.A. Bayona’s negative press for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom doesn’t speak accurately of the Spanish director’s talents.
Blurring visual effects with storytelling prowess as effectively as anyone you might expect to have helmed a Jurassic film, Bayona’s Patrick Ness adaptation A Monster Calls (2016) is particularly memorable for excelling beyond the limitations of its budget. It also vitally presented Bayona’s very hearty tendencies perhaps better than any of his other films – like Spielberg before him, Bayona is never one to shy away from romanticising that which he seeks to explore.
While Bayona’s short, four-film-long career is tough to compare to the directorial juggernauts to come on this list, it is undeniable that he has proven himself to be more than a one hit wonder, and that even with a divisive reception to his Jurassic World movie he will likely be back sooner rather than later with another gem.