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T-rex from the movie





Jurassic Park: Book to movie adaptation review

Block 2

 Ever wondered what it would be like to live on an island full of dinosaurs for a weekend? Not many people have, until reading the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. In this story, Crichton creates an excellent plot that grabs the reader’s attention right away. Set primarily on an island 12 miles off of Costa Rica, Jurassic Park is full of suspense, starting early on and only ceasing at the very end of the book. Overall, this book deserves a rating of 9.5/10. It’s an excellent sci-fi/action adventure read, and keeps the reader turning pages non-stop until the very end. The book is all about a seventy-seven year old man, John Hammond, who decides he wants to genetically engineer dinosaurs on an island later called Jurassic Park, off the coast of Costa Rica. He has two grandkids, who play a main role in the book, Lex and Tim. He hires a few scientists to do this job for him, including Dr. Wu, one of the more important scientists. In addition, there is Dr. Harding, who works with the dinosaurs to help solve problems within the fences that keep them from escaping. Then, there is Mr. Gennaro, a lawyer who makes sure safety precautions are in place, or else the island would be shut down. Then there is the main character, Mr. Alan Grant, and his co-worker, Dr. Sattler. These two are paleontologists previous to going to Jurassic Park. Also, there is Muldoon, who is the main ranger at Jurassic Park. Lastly, there is Ian Malcolm, a mathematician who studies something called “Chaos Theory” which suggests that Jurassic Park could never work out because there are too many things that could go wrong. This critique is mainly to focus on the book-(just described) to movie adaptation. By the way, the movie was directed by Steven Spielberg.
First, we will look at the acting and role selection for the movie. The main role, Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill, was excellently done. His actions were well-scripted, and Spielberg did a great job to show how he slowly connected with the kids. In the beginning, he had to show a distaste for kids, which he did well- and made a good bit of humor out of it. Neill did a good job to show the bond that he created over time with Hammond’s grandkids, Lex and Tim, how he ignored them at first but eventually when forced into an environment with them he connected with them. Another well played role was Ray Arnold, by Samuel Jackson. Jackson does an excellent job of showing Arnold’s distress at all times, which is Arnold’s most important aspect (as a chain-smoker). There is still one role that was not as well played, that could have been cast better. This was Lex- played by Ariana Richards. First of all, Richards was a bit too old to play this role. In the book, her brother Tim is portrayed as older than her, because he would take responsibility in every situation he was in with Lex. In addition, Lex was meant to be a little more annoying than she was in the movie- she was supposed to say “i’m hungry” all of the time, which could partly be blamed on Spielberg for scripting it. So, perhaps the person who played Lex could have been a bit younger and thus a bit more annoying in general (because in the book I was almost hoping she would get injured because she was so annoying!) In general, the cast was pretty well chosen.
Now we have to look at the animation. For 1993, this movie has incredible computer animation of the dinosaurs featured, most importantly the velociraptors. Those were incredibly realistic- from how they moved, to how they jumped, to how they attacked. There were quite a few parts in this movie in which it was hard to tell if the dinosaurs were even computer animated. Even to this day, some computer animated dinosaurs do not compete with the animations in Jurassic Park. If this was 3d, I would feel like I was right there! In addition to the look of the dinosaurs, which was indeed realistic, we have to look at their other aspects. Another important aspect of creating realistic dinosaurs is the sound effect- what do they sound like? In this movie, though we can’t know for sure, (since we’ve never seen a REAL dinosaur before) the sound effects were very cool, and as far as I could tell rather realistic. I felt one of the most important sound effects in the movie was when the T-rex roared, because in the book it is described as one of the scariest things anybody involved had ever heard. Spielberg definitely captures this sound effect and does an excellent job magnifying it to make it as frightening as possible- it managed to make me jump! The effects used to animate the dinosaurs were excellent, but what about the scenes they were in? We have to look at the cut scenes as well to decide whether this is a worthy book to movie adaptation.
There are a lot of scenes cut in this movie, that’s for sure. For starters, how information gets out is completely changed around. I have to admit that Spielberg did and excellent job conveying a LOT of scientific information over a very short period of time, and still managing to get in a bunch of action was another plus, since it was in only two hours. First of all, he had to help the audience understand how the animals were breeding- it was perfectly scripted so that Grant said it in a concise manner without dragging on. He also had to explain the extremely complex system of genetic engineering, which he managed to dumb down and explain in a matter of minutes. One scene cut that I believed was well-chosen was a scene in the very beginning when a girl finds and unusual lizard and ends up getting bitten by him on the mainland. I found this part of the book extremely unnecessary and Spielberg was smart to cut this out of the film. In addition, we have to look at how Spielberg completely changes around the ending. Everything about his new ending was fine, because it fit in with the initial plot of the book. But, there was one part in the book that I believed brought about a sense of finality in the book- this was the scene in which Hammond thinks he hears the T-rex, runs away and ends up breaking his ankle. As a result, Hammond is attacked and killed. This brought about a sense of finality in that the reader can know that Hammond isn’t going to make another one of those crazy islands again. Another scene that wasn’t there, which I felt brought another sense of finality to the story, was the burning of the island. Knowing Spielberg’s computer teams’ expertise with computer animations, i’m sure he could have managed to animate the burning of the island without actually doing it. This would have been yet another assurance to the viewer that something like that island couldn’t possibly happen again. So, after looking at the book to movie adaptation, I have reached a decision as to which one is better.
Overall, the book is better. Yes, this is somewhat cliche, but it's true. I found the book to do a better job of explaining the scientific aspect of the book. After all, this book is supposed to be extremely thought-inducing as well as full of action, and I found that the book did an amazing job of inducing thought about what would happen if somebody actually did this. There was also all of the things explained by Malcolm- how very few things are legitimately predictable and small flaws can cause bigger problems. From an action point of view, though, the movie did an excellent job, from the second the T rex first attacked the car to the very end. The reason the book was better though was because it found a good balance between thought-provoking discussions and action from beginning to end that kept the pages turning. But, we have to give credit to the movie in the way that it achieved explaining the most important scientific aspects of the book while getting in plenty of action. Overall, though, the book was better than the movie in the case of Jurassic Park.