Archive for March, 2011

Jurassic Park and The Lost World by Michael Crighton

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on March 17, 2011 by Griff


hey there, I’m finally back again and what can I say? the anime marathon just didn’t go too well, it turned out to just be too much of a time sink to try to cram in so much anime in so little time, but I still plan on watching anime one day at a more leisurely pace and I still plan on continuing this blog, so I figure I’d better write something just to show I haven’t died

anyway Jurassic Park is my generation’s Star Wars, as a 21 year old child of the 90’s I ate slept and breathed Jurassic Park as a kid, it is in fact the first movie I have a very vague memory of seeing in theaters way back in 1993 (can you believe it was almost 20 years ago?) I don’t think there was a boy alive back then who WASN’T a fan of Jurassic Park, like I said it’s pretty much the Star Wars of the 90’s, a huge grossing blockbuster adventure movie that was a big hit with kids and thus had a ton of toys

I must’ve seen Jurassic Park close to a thousand times in my lifetime, I watched my beloved VHS tape (which I still have) on an almost daily basis as a kid and sometimes more than once in a single day, whenever I was tired of playing and there was nothing good on tv, chances are Jurassic Park was going into the VHS player, I watched it so much as a kid that I started to do really weird stuff to mix things up, one of which was talking during the T Rex attacks and adding my own dialogue from the perspective of the pissed off T Rex, Mystery Science Theater 3000 style, I also did two things that I can’t for the life of me understand why, I once rented the tape (yeah, the tape I owned) from the public library and watched it, I think it was because I was so fascinated by the novelty of renting tapes from the library for some reason, the second time was when I watched it on thanksgiving night on NBC (although I think I quit because I got tired of the commercials)

so you can imagine that when The Lost World came out it was the biggest event of my life up until then, the idea of finally getting something NEW Jurassic Park related was mind blowing, of course I soon learned that it was nowhere near as good as the original, but I digress (I haven’t seen The Lost World in forever, so the recent Nostalgia Critic review was interesting)

ok so all these paragraphs are just leading up to the main event, which are reviews of the books, not the movies, unfortunately I haven’t actually watched Jurassic Park in over 6 years, I made a conscious decision to let some time pass and now I’m just waiting for the blu ray with bated breath, I’m so sick of waiting for the blu rays in fact that I decided to re-read the books of Jurassic Park and The Lost World

I first read Jurassic Park back in 2004 and I didn’t really get a whole lot out of it, it was in fact the first adult novel I ever read and I was pretty new to reading as a whole (I was the only kid who skipped reading Harry Potter), however this time as a much more avid reader coupled with how much of the book I had forgot, it was almost like reading it for the first time

so you know the story to Jurassic Park of course, during the 1980’s an eccentric billionaire named John Hammond spent tons of money on both a private island theme park and cutting edge genetic tech to clone dinosaurs, finally in 1989 (which was the year I was born interestingly enough) the park is just about ready, but nervous investors force him to give a tour to a group of qualified individuals to give their thumbs up to the park, do I really need to list the characters?

well long story short I had an absolute blast re-reading Jurassic Park, as great as the movie is, they left out a lot from the book, they still did an excellent job adapting the book, but as is often the case the book goes into waaaay more detail about things

there’s also tons of awesome sequences that feel like Michael Crighton wrote them with a movie in mind, there’s a lot more stuff with Grant and the kids out in Jurassic Park, including a part where they get on a river raft and the T rex swims out into a lake and tries to eat them! it’s like Jaws meets Jurassic Park, there’s also an aviary with dangerous Pterodactyls in it (which they did save for the crappy third movie)

generally there’s only one major character in the book that’s not in the movie, but some of the characters that die in the movie survive in the book and Vice Versa, you really don’t know what to expect, one of the biggest differences is the character of John Hammond in the book, in the movie he was a jolly old grandpa figure, one who had noble intentions, but was still blinded by his hubris and later realized his mistake, in the book however he’s way more sinister and not really sympathetic at all, he’s pretty much the villain

lastly what else is awesome about the book is it’s “deeper” than the movie if you know what I mean, I’m talking of course about the “chaos theory” of Ian Malcolm, which is touched on in the movie, but is the core of the book, there’s some really fascinating ideas and discussion in the book, which I found tedious when I first read it, but fascinating as an adult

overall is was great experiencing something that you loved and were so familiar with as a kid and on a different and deeper level, it really reignited my passion for Jurassic Park (I’m looking forward to the game)

next up is The Lost World and there’s not really a whole lot I can say about this one, it’s not terrible, but it’s not as good as the first book

the premise is clever, the whole Site B stuff, in the movie I think it was where they studied the behavior of the dinosaurs, but in the book it was actually where they created the dinosaurs in a huge factory sized laboratory (you see it takes a lot of tries to clone a dinosaur before you get one without any birth defects) and it has a small town where most of the staff lived

however the book doesn’t really do much with the idea, it’s just an excuse to get people on an island with dinosaurs again (no fences this time), it would’ve been more interesting if more secrets were revealed than just “this is where they made the dinosaurs and they had some trouble”, they could’ve at least explored the houses

I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, my clearest memory is the Nostalgia Critic review, but I can tell you the book is completely different, there’s no trip to San Diego at the end and instead of Ingen (which is bankrupt in the second book) sending a whole posse of guys to try to round up and capture dinosaurs with cool Humvees and stuff, it’s rival corporation Biosyn (ha, BioSIN, do ya get it?) that sends just three guys to try to steal dino eggs, which makes more sense, but wouldn’t sell as many toys I guess

that’s actually one of the coolest things about the book, in the first book Biosyn is the company that hires Nedry to steal the embryos and Lewis Dodgson is the guy that came up with the idea, Dodgson as you may remember was only in the “DODGSON! DODGSON! WE GOT DODGSON HERE!” scene in the first movie, but he plays a bigger role here and that’s cool

lastly the characters just aren’t as good as the first book, I’m not sure Ian Malcolm really works as the main character and there’s two more kids again that just feel unnecessary, by far the best character is Malcolm’s girlfriend Sarah Harding

overall while all of Jurassic Park keeps you on the edge of your seat, parts of The Lost World are kind of tedious, it does however have a cool finale that makes it worth reading