Book vs Film: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – Part 1

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When you think of Dinosaurs what first comes to mind? The Jim Henson inspired sitcom called Dinosaurs? the Flintstones? . Or do you think of the 1993 masterpiece by the great Steven Spielberg. It received critical praise for its mind blowing special effects and opened a new chapter for the movie industry, showing that in right hands Computer Generated Imagery or CGI can create amazing creatures and new worlds. Not only did it look fantastic but its musical score, by John Williams, perfectly complimented what was seen on screen and is now so engrained within our society, like the theme from Jaws, we instantly know who wrote it and were it came from. But did you know the much loved movie was based on a book by Michael Crichton and written just three years earlier?

The Plot

Paleontologist and Paleobotanist Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are invited to an island off the coast of Costa Rica by businessman John Hammond to experience a once in a lifetime trip. Joining them are Lawyer Donald Genaro, Mathematician Ian Malcolm and John Hammond’s grandkids Timothy and Alexis.

It has been 20 + years since the first Jurassic Park movie was released in theaters worldwide and it had sequels including one released this year. All films take bits and pieces from the original novel, I’ll point them out when I get to them.

The film follows the main plot closely to the book. There are a few things missing but most of the plot is there. In the book Grant and Ellie are invited to the island by Hammond but it was over the phone and not in person. They enter their trailer and it is not Hammond who is waiting for them but a government agent who is investigating John Hammond and his company. Genaro is worried about the safety of the park and obviously knowing what the park actually holds, is asked by his boss to make sure that nothing is wrong with the place, if there is he needs to shut it down. Alexis and Timothy are invited by their grandfather as pawns in showing off the park. Ian Malcolm is also invited. While the plot of the book and the film are similar, the book has the added excitement of Raptors getting on to a ship heading back to mainland Costa Rica. The only characters that know about this are Grant, the kids, and Malcolm. Since Malcolm is injured during the event that happened on their tour and Grant and the kids are lost within the resort, it is a race against time to get back to HQ and send out a message to the ship. I have to admit, I liked that, it added pressure on the characters to not only survive but to get back to the HQ as quickly as possible.

Similarities And Differences to the Book

In the film raptors are the main enemy, while the T REX appears as if it’s just looking around for something to eat. In the book how ever the raptors and the T REX are equally as dangerous, while raptors are shown to be the big baddies to everyone within the park HQ, the T REX is actually stalks Grant and the kids continuously. This is actually used in Jurassic Park 3, in that film the characters are stuck on a similar island, the raptors do appear and are trouble for the film’s protagonists when they get to EnGen’s broken down facility, but while they are out in the wild they are stalked by Spinosaurus.

The book begins with a family on vacation in Costa Rica, the daughter is attacked by a small dinosaur called Procompsognathus, this opening is actually used in the opening to the second film, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but instead of it being one dinosaur it is a herd of them. In 2015’s Jurassic World, there are little nods to the book. The characters are constantly talking about control, which is a dominate feature within the book. When the main female protagonist’s nephews go missing after being attacked. Chris Pratt’s character deduces that the boys escaped from the foot prints in the mud near their vehicle, this is similar to a scene in the book in which Grant and the kids go missing and Muldoon uses footprints in the mud to deduce that they escaped the attack on their vehicle. The Cearadactylus in the film were finding it hard to lift people during the attack in JurassicWorld, this mirrors the attack on Lex in book where the Cearadactylus can’t support her weigh. There are also little nods like Lex wanting to ride a baby Triceratops and in the film you can see a little girl riding a baby Triceratops.

This is going to be a long one so I’m going to stop here. Come back for part two, when I talk about the characters and the differences between the book version and the film version.

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