Why aren’t the ‘Jurassic Park’ movies scary anymore?

In my review of "Jurassic World," I mentioned that these movies aren't scary anymore, but I didn't theorize about the reason beyond noting that I've outgrown being scared of dinosaurs. But there's more to it. In the ensuing days of discussing the film with fellow movie fans – some of whom loved "JW," some of whom loathed it – I've formulated five theories of why the "Jurassic Park" films are no longer scary. (Spoiler warning: Plot points from "JW" will be discussed.)

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‘Jurassic World’ is ‘Jurassic Park’ on steroids (and that’s mostly a good thing)

"Jurassic World" -- the franchise's fourth film but first in 14 years – follows pretty much the exact same plot as the original "Jurassic Park" but does everything bigger and better (at least in a technical sense). While I wouldn't have cared if any of the characters got eaten by an Indominus rex, it is unmatched by any previous "JP" film – and very few blockbusters overall – in terms of utter spectacle.

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: IDW Comics’ ‘Dangerous Games’ (2011-12)

Writers Greg and Erik Bear and artist George Jimenez repackage Richard Connell's classic short story about man hunting man, "The Most Dangerous Game," into a "Jurassic Park" yarn in the entertaining "Dangerous Games" (2011-12), which as of now is the franchise's last comic title.

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: IDW Comics’ ‘The Devils in the Desert’ (2011)

It's been the inclination of most "Jurassic Park" comics that old characters and new dinosaur species are the key to success. But the opposite approach – new characters and old dinosaur species – has produced the best comics, first with Topps' "Return to Jurassic Park" Issues 5-8 and more recently with IDW's four-issue "The Devils in the Desert" (2011).

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: IDW Comics’ ‘Redemption’ (2010)

Following 2001's "Jurassic Park III," the franchise entered a dark age for nearly a decade. Serious fans could follow the development hell of the fourth movie (which, after many fits and starts, finally will come out in June), but the drought of new material didn't end until 2010's "Redemption," a five-issue series from new license-holder IDW Comics.

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: ‘Jurassic Park III’ (2001)

"Jurassic Park III" (2001) is a stripped down B-movie that has a blast playing with the saga's tropes, one classic character and dinosaurs old and new. It's the first movie not based on a novel (although "The Lost World" diverted from the novel, it still had the heft of a novel adaptation) and it didn't feature a comic book adaptation or a "making of" book (there were toys, though). Director Steven Spielberg and composer John Williams stepped aside, handing the reins to the capable-but-less-celebrated Joe Johnston and Don Davis, respectively.

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: ‘The Lost World’ movie (1997)

Director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter David Koepp's "The Lost World" (1997) abandons so much of the 1995 novel that it's almost false advertising to say it's "based on a novel by Michael Crichton." Still, they retain the lost world idea, and that's the film's hook: Whereas "Jurassic Park" gave us hints of dinosaur behavior – such as the T-rex chasing the gallimimus flock – the sequel is all about seeing dinosaurs in their "natural" habitat; it's a modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle's concept. (Obviously, there's nothing truly natural about a small island of cloned dinosaurs, but I'll set that aside for now.)

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: Michael Crichton’s ‘The Lost World’ novel (1995)

In an interview on the "Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy" DVD set, Michael Crichton said "The Lost World" (1995) is "the only project I've ever worked on where I knew there would be a movie – there WOULD BE a movie." But one could make a strong case that Crichton's "Lost World" – despite Steven Spielberg's 1997 movie bearing that title -- still has not been adapted to the big screen.

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: Topps Comics’ ‘Return to Jurassic Park’ (1995-96) and 1995 Annual

After the mostly ridiculous "Raptor" trilogy (a.k.a. "Jurassic Park Adventures"), Topps Comics' "Jurassic Park" saga got a nudge upward in quality with the nine-issue "Return to Jurassic Park" (1995-96), which consisted of two major arcs.

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‘Jurassic Park’ flashback: Topps Comics’ Issue 0 (1993) and ‘Raptor’ trilogy (1993-94)

After the success of the movie in June 1993, "Jurassic Park" fans didn't have to wait long for follow-up stories. Arguably, they had to wait awhile for GOOD stories, as the next novel and movie came out in 1995 and 1997, respectively. But Topps Comics – which also got the license for 1993's other pop-culture smash, "The X-Files" – quickly cranked out further "Jurassic Park" adventures.

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