Book Review: Jurassic Park

I remember as a kid being very afraid of this movie. I had a fear of things I didn’t understand, like dinosaurs, and would be the one to cover myself up and stay update at night when my parents would put movies on like this. Obviously that has changed and I find it far more entertaining now. For a long time I didn’t realize that the movie was actually a book before it came out so when I discovered that it was I put it on my TBR list and forgot about it. I thought since I already watched the movie it wasn’t as important to get to it. It wasn’t a priority since I thought I knew everything about it but I’ve now learned since then that the books usually are worth reading and this book definitely didn’t disappoint.

If you’ve seen the movie, you know the basic premise. Millionaire wants to open up a dinosaur park so he invites people in their field of expertise to come green light his project. everything goes wrong. the execution however, is very different so I decided to watch the film right after reading the book to get a comparison.

First I would like to say that the book is a pretty easy read. The writer does get into some pretty heavy moral, and scientific detail but not too much that bogs down the story, or confuses you. In fact I would say the moralistic views of Malcom and scientific explanations of the park are actual really interesting and make the story better. I was completely into everything Malcom was saying even though he dove deep into chaos theory and moral standing of whether we should be playing with forces we have no understanding of.

imagine having read this book before, the now famous movie, came out. in the time it was written it was way ahead of its time. The idea of cloning dinosaurs, bringing these things that have been long extinct to life must have blown the minds of every reader. I say this because we are now so inundated with dinosaur imagery and movies and media that I believe some of the luster of this book is taken away. But if you can sit down and imagine what it must have been like to crack open this book and read a story about a tycoon bringing dinosaurs back to life to create a theme park; it must have been one incredible ride.

I tried to read this book in that way, taking in every scene and character, and seeing them for the first time. I have to say that I was completely captivated by the park. The writing was amazing and keeps you engaged in the story till the very end. it’s interesting when you see the movie after reading the book because everything in the movie happens at double the speed. in the book, it actually felt like time was passing, whereas in the movie it felt like I was watching a sped-up version of the events. There are just a lot of things they can get into the book that you can’t get into with the movie. So if you want to know more and feel more engaged with the characters and know more about their motivations I would say read this book. It is well worth the time. The good thing is that it is not even that long.

*Spoilers ahead*

there are a lot of similarities and differences to the book and movie and I would like to actually point out a few.

The movie starts out with the transfer of a raptor into its paddock where a ton of hired grunts with weapons are overseeing the dinosaur. the raptor breaks out momentarily and eats one of the men presumably and then they fade out to Mr. Gennero, the lawyer, being sent out to find MR hammond as they discover amber deep in a mine.

In the book, none of those scenes actually happen. The first scene we get is that of a patient being rolled into the ER by a helicopter. He’s bleeding profusely and white foam is coming out of his arm from lacerations that the attending physician says looks like the person has been mauled. When questioned, the park associate that Brought him in says that there was an accident at a construction site and he was crushed, but the doctor doesn’t really believe what he is saying. As the man lies there dying, he awakes long enough to mutter in Spanish two words, El raptor. The doctor then goes home and looks up the word in Spanish and then in English to discover it as a bird of prey. Then we get another scene of a girl at a beach. her family on vacation go down to a secluded beach to have alone time and a little girl runs into a “lizard” while exploring the beach. The parents are talking about something they saw in the forest when they hear a scream and find their girl having been bitten. they rush her to the hospital as her arm slowly oozes with white foam and swells up and the girl describes what she saw to the doctor. the doctor, confused because he has never heard anything like what she saw, goes to the beach to try to see something himself and finds a monkey eating the corpse of a lizard and scares it off. unsure of what he seeing, he calls Dr. Grant who is currently at a dig site and sends him a fax. Meanwhile more stories keep emerging of lizards going into houses and attacking small children even killing a baby.

So already there is a bigger set up to the story in the book than there is in the film. The whole reason they are invited to the island, in the book, is because Mr. Hammond, the tycoon, wants to get their seal of approval. the Lawyer portrayed by a bumbling skinny guy who dies on the toilet is actual a strong man who is actually against the park because of the rumors of the dinosaurs getting out. Mr. Hammond is trying to convince everyone that the island is perfectly secure.

The characters are different in the book too. Grant is an outdoorsman, it even says that one time he got lost in the forest and walked out out of it a few days later with a broken leg. Ellie, his love interest in the movie, is actually just his associate engaged to be married some dude she met in college while she is still working on her Phd. The two kids, Lex and Tim, are different too, with Tim being the older one in the book who is into dinosaurs and computers, and lex being a little girl who is stubborn and defiant, if not a little spoiled. Malcom is a lot more outspoken about the park in the book than in the movie. John Hammond, the tycoon old guy from the movie, isn’t friendly and inviting as the movie portrayed him. in fact he is so indifferent to the fact that his kids are missing and his employees dying that he goes and enjoys dinner while he waits for the park to start running in proper order again. the only reason he wanted his grandkids there in the first place was to convince the lawyer that it was perfectly safe to bring kids, and not because his daughter is having a divorce or that those kids mean all that much to him. He even dies in the book as he is complaining about the people that worked for him not sharing his vision of the park.

Besides that, there is a whole river scene that is used in the third movie and a scene by a waterfall that is used in the Jurassic world, which is also what the ride is based on in universal studios. There’s a scene in the Aviary that is seen in the third movie too and a whole subplot about dinosaurs’ breeding, and the number of raptors reaching as high as 30-50. The whole book ends with the Costa Rican navy bombing the island in the background as they sail away from the island.

Overall this book was so worth the read. the similarities are there enough that you can see where the first movie took inspiration and the set pieces are numerous and varied enough where you will not harken to the movie as a reference. I highly recommend reading this book for fans of Jurassic Park. This being my first Micheal Chrichton book, I’m excited to read the sequel and other stories written by him.

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