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Would You Take Your Kids to Jurassic Park?

Updated on March 11, 2018
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park

This Spielberg movie brings to life Michael Crichton's vision warns of the dangers of technology.

Jurassic Park revolutionized the way dinosaurs are depicted on-screen, and turned a convention of horror movies on its head.

John Hammond, creator of Jurassic Park
John Hammond, creator of Jurassic Park

Let's Have Fun

John Hammond Just Wants to Have Fun

Mad scientist John Hammond, played by Richard Attenborough, is not bent on mass destruction. Nor is his heart set on global domination.

All he cares about is having fun. Fun for the kids. Fun for everybody. And making a profit in the process.

He has discovered a way to harvest prehistoric DNA in order to clone dinosaurs.

He invites three scientists, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Adam Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) , to evaluate his new theme park, Jurassic Park.

The other two are merely concerned with whether or not Attenborough's plans can work, whether it can be done realistically and authentically.

But Malcolm the sceptic cites chaos theory, "nature always finds a way". In other words, Attenborough's carefully laid plans and procedures are bound to go wrong. It is inevitable that Attenborough has overlooked something. And chaos is bound to ensue.

Usually, in a scary movie or horror flick, there is one character who insists on denying what is happening. "There are no such things as ghosts/vampires/recycled dinosaurs", that sort of thing. As an example of this, see the two doctors in Invasion of the Body Snatchers Movies.

Jurassic Park turns that convention on its head. Everyone is happy to go along with Hammond's plans, or at least examine them, apart from Ian Malcom, who insists from the start that Jurassic Park is a VERY BAD IDEA.

So would you take your kids to Jurassic Park?

The Human Factor

Human Error in Jurassic Park

What Hammond has failed to take into account is the human factor. A corrupt security guard has stolen a bit of the "dino DNA". He turns off the park's security system and gets attacked by two of the attractions after insulting them ("No wonder you're extinct").

Now the visitors are running and hiding from the attractions, trying to avoid being eaten. Among them are Hammond's two young grandchildren.

So would you take your kids to Jurassic Park?

Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park

Black Men in Film

In Jurassic Park, Samuel L. Jackson, the coolest man in Hollywood, plays Ray Arnold, a scientist based at the park.

Arnold breaks it down for them - the dinosaurs at Jurassic Park cannot manufacture the enzyme lysein, which means they must be given lyseine in order to survive.

Having explained this, he goes off to an outbuilding to switch the electricity back on.

The electricity has been switched off. Without electricity, everyone in the compound is at risk of being killed and eaten by dinosaurs.- the fences protecting them are all electrified. So Arnold is risking his own life to save everyone's.

Arnold is attacked and killed by a dinosaur, after which the remaining (i.e. white) people in the compound break out a collection of massive guns with which to protect themselves.

Question: Why was Ray Arnold not given one of those guns before he went off to save them?

Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park - The Coolest Man in Hollywood

Samuel L. Jackson in Jurassic Park, as scientist Ray Arnold, explains the lysein situation. Hold on to your butts!

Great Line

Great Line in Jurassic Park

Who can forget a wounded Jeff Goldblum in the back of a jeep, being pursued by a T-rex, urging "Must go faster"?

Jeff Goldblum, Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park
Jeff Goldblum, Dr. Ian Malcom in Jurassic Park

Great Scene

Great Scene from Jurassic Park

The lawyer, having abandoned the children, hides in a toilet shack - and is promptly eaten.

So would you take your kids to Jurassic Park?

Great Moment

Great Moment in Jurassic Park

The children, having returned to the safety of the compound (or so they think), are gorging on sweets when they spot a cup of liquid vibrating on the table. That one shot lets us know that danger is near.

So would you take your kids to Jurassic Park?

Michael Crichton on Jurassic Park

Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, talks about how to get people to like your screenplay.

Michael Crichton has said that when he first wrote the screenplay for Jurassic Park, the people who usually read his scripts hated it. They all hated it.

He kept rewriting it, but they all still hated it.

Then one of them said, "I want it to be for me". In other words, for adults, not for children.

He rewrote it once more, and then they liked it.

Can We Create Dinosaurs from Prehistoric DNA - And Do We Need To?

The Science Bit

The Science behind Jurassic Park

It is easy to forget that Jurassic Park was very scientifically accurate, and even ground-breaking, in its portrayal of dinosaurs.

Up until Jurassic Park, prehistoric animals were portrayed as slow, lumbering beasts.

They were believed to have laid their eggs in nests which they then abandoned, as do present-day reptiles. Those few scientists who challenged these views were considered to be a bit wacky, or at least unconventional. See the video below for more about this.

Jurassic Park reflected recent findings of fossils which proved that dinosaurs formed social groups and travelled in herds, like deer, buffalo and elephhants, or flocks, like birds.

Based on this more recent evidence, the T-rex in Jurassic Park is depicted as staying close to the nest and dfending her young. This reminds me of ostriches, particulary the male ostrich, which will protect his mate and his young against all comers.

The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are also fast - very fast. So fast it's difficult to outrun them.

Could Jurassic Park Really Happen? - Film on Dinosaur Cloning

This film explores whether dinosaurs could really be cloned.

Jurassic Park II

Four years after the original catastrophic opening of Jurassic Park, Dr. Hammond encourages one of the scientists, Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), to to visit a dinosur reserve miles from the park, where dinosaurs roam free. Malcolm refuses until he learns his former partner is in peril. His young daughter, Kelly stows away.

We know that Spielberg likes to put a child - a little blonde girl - in danger. He encourages the audience to identify with her, thus ramping up the terror while simutaneously inspiring the viewers to want to protect her.

Unusually, in this film, the little girl is Black. This diversion makes Jurassic Park II one of my favourite Spielberg movies. Kelly is very scared, yet also very resourceful, unlike some of the girls in other Spielberg movies. (As an example, see War of the Worlds and the original Jurassic Park.) At one point, Kelly even fights off the dinosaurs. She is not a victim, she is a shero in her own right. No explanation is given as to why Dr. Malcolm has a Black/African American child.


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