Image via Universal.
“You really do have dinosaurs on the brain.”’
If you don’t know what Jurassic Park is, have you been living under a rock?
Jurassic Park is a science fiction novel by Michael Crichton. It was adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg, which was released in 1993. It had 2 sequels: The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001).
In 2015, the Jurassic Park franchise expanded when Jurassic World was released in 2015, directed by Colin Trevorrow, starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Having seen the original films, I watched Jurassic World for the first time this summer. Jurassic World is basically a soft reboot of Jurassic Park (1993) with some questionable characters and plot elements, which has some fun moments nonetheless and much better CGI dinosaurs.
Its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was released in the summer of 2018, which I watched too. I thought Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was much better than its predecessor in characters, storytelling, and visuals. It was the scariest Jurassic Park film I’ve ever seen and in places was incredibly gruesome and gory.
A third sequel is planned, preemptively titled Jurassic World 3 and is estimated to be released in 2021.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, as most already know, is about an amusement park and zoo founded by John Hammond. The park is filled with real dinosaurs, recreated in laboratories using DNA recovered in dinosaur fossils and preserved insects. The paleontologist Alana Grant, the botanist Ellie Sattler, the mathematician Ian Malcolm, and Hammond’s two grandchildren, Timmy and Lex, are invited to view the park before it officially opens. Whilst all seems fun and interesting initially, the park begins to malfunction, and so the dinosaurs escape, wreaking inconceivable havoc.
I loved this book more than I even thought I would.
It was instantly entertaining and instantly scary, as there are dinosaur attacks in the book omitted from the film, so the characters are never far away from a predatory encounter.
The arguably most memorable scenes from Jurassic Park (1993) are when the Tyrannosaurus Rex escapes and when Timmy and Lex are hunted by Velociraptors in the kitchen.
These scenes are expertly written in the book and genuinely frightening – more so than in Spielberg’s film because your imagination can truly go crazy. Every time characters have to run or hide, it’s so exciting and tense.
In addition to the intense events within Jurassic Park, there was also lots of interesting scientific information about the various dinosaurs. This made them more complex than just ‘scary monsters’, explaining Grant and Sattler’s fascination with them, and highlighting Hammond’s exploitation of them.
Crichton really paints Hammond as the villain of the piece, which doesn’t come across as strongly in Spielberg’s film. Hammond is a man eager to get rich and create popular entertainment quickly by exploiting living creatures for gain, whilst neglecting to fund proper care and research into what individual species require and the dangers they pose. Ian Malcolm criticises Hammond and the industry of modern science, predicting the park will devolve into chaos immediately, due to the park’s focus on commercial gain rather than safety and careful study. No doubt this analogy can be applied to modern zoos today.
Jurassic Park was a highly entertaining book, and I’d happily re-read it. I ordered Crichton’s sequel, The Lost World, the same day I finished Jurassic Park.
I strongly recommend if you love the film franchise but haven’t yet read the book on which it’s based!