Jurassic Park was a game-changing film in the early 90s. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it utilized a mix of animatronics and the then still new computer generated animation to bring fully convincing Dinosaurs to the big screen. Directed by Steven Spielberg-somewhat of a game-changer himself-the film was the highest grossing film for a few years, and spawned three sequels (one directed by Spielberg). The film of course dealt with a group of specialists brought into appraise a theme park using genetically-ressurected Dinosaurs as it’s main attractions. However, corporate sabotage and things just not working the way they should be soon cause the Park’s systems to break down, and soon they’re running for their lives from the prehistoric creatures.
However, the genesis of Jurassic Park was in Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel. Crichton took a theme he used in his film Westworld-a theme park run amok by it’s own attractions-and applied Dinosaurs to it, and soon the book was optioned into a film…the rest is history.
But with any film adaptation, certain changes have to be made. Here’s a few, starting with the characters.
Jack Horner with Kathleen Kennedy and some of the cast of Jurassic Park III.
In the novel, Doctor Alan Grant is a fairly warm presence, acknowledged as a presence in the field. He has no problem whatsoever with kids, and think’s it’s pretty cool that they like Dinosaurs a lot. He also has a beard. He’s actually based on real-life paleontologist Jack Horner, who among other things, was known for finding the nest of a group of Maisaura (Duck-billed Dinoaurs).
Grant, as played in the film by Sam Neill, is more grumpy and withdrawn (although still very in awe of Hammond’s Dinosaurs), and not fond of kids, although by the end of the film, he’s considerably more mellow. He also is in a romantic relationship with Dr. Ellie Sattler, something his novel version is not, especially since he’s a widow.
Ellie, played by Laura Dern in the film, is pretty much the same, with a few exceptions. Her novel version is actually engaged to somebody else, with no interest in Doctor Grant. In the movie she also serves more as Hammond’s conscience and has a bit of a feminist streak as well.
Malcolm in the movie is considerably more snarky than in the novel, but largely shares many of the same characteristics (although in the novel, he’s considerably more wordy of course). In both cases, he is badly injured during the T-rex escape. However, in the novel, the injuries are more severe and require a lot more morphine, causing him to ramble a lot more. He also dies at the end (Although paradoxically he becomes the main character in the Lost World novel, something I’ll touch upon at some other point.). In the film of course, he survives and escapes the island, and becomes the main protagonist of the Lost World:Jurassic Park, the first sequel.
John Hammond is a big one. In the film, he’s portrayed as a witty, funny, and compassionate showman at first, but with empathy as he’s frightened that he’s put people-including his grandchildren-in danger, although he’s still a bit in denial about the park’s failings, but eventually comes to his senses due to advice from Ellie (during the ice cream scene) and Malcolm to a degree as well, at the end feeling he can no longer carry on the park (although he remains protective of the animals in The Lost World, and in Jurassic World it’s implied he wanted Masareti to remake Jurassic Park as Jurassic World). In the novel, he doesn’t really care for much except money (Something only really reflected slightly in the film’s lunch scene), and is very much in denial about everything. At the end of the book, he slips and falls and then gets eaten by a bunch of compsonathus. In the films, his greedy attitude is pretty much adopted by his nephew, Peter Ludow, in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and his fate, by Ludow’s mercenary henchvillain, Dietar Stark.