This is a review of the book “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton.
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now mankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them – for a price. Until something goes wrong….
Let’s admit right away: it is impossible to avoid comparing this book to the movie.
The book offers far more backstory than the movie ever did, which does explain some of the things that might have seemed less logical in the movie. The movie has a more neat storyline, merging some characters and dropping a lot of them to tighten the story and fit it within a 90 minute timeframe, but both book and movie tell the story fully.
Already this early in the franchise Henry Wu was eager to improve on dinosaurs, arguing that the dinosaurs they have made aren’t real and to change them some more wouldn’t matter because no modern human would know. This is an attitude that the character didn’t express until the two Jurassic World movies – probably because he didn’t really have the time in the first movie – and he is given much more to do and more to say in the book.
Gennero is more likable in the book than in the movie. In fact, Gennaro is one of the best people there. Grant likes kids in the book, but not in the movie, which was a bit odd, but generally speaking he is the same as he was in the movie. The progress of the book better described where he learned that a T-rex’s sight is based on movement, which was good. Ian Malcom was more or less the only person who was completely the same in book and in movie, closely followed by John Arnold and Robert Muldoon.
The book is better at building up suspense and thrill and anticipation with small remarks or thoughts, or quick, rapid scene changes that don’t quite give you the full picture. It is all just enough to tease you along and build a sense of growing danger, especially at the start of the story. It is also amusing to recognise dialogue from the book that is used in the movies.
Unfortunately there are some bad things about this book, and they have nothing to do with outdated information about dinosaurs.
Henry Wu’s lack of knowledge about what DNA he has used to compelte the dinosaur DNA, is ridiculous and down right impossible considering his position. John Hammond comes off as quite a stupidly-ignorant man in the book compared to the willfully-ignorant one in the movie. Quite frankly, it’s unlcear how the book-Hammond managed to gather enough money for his project. His grand-dauger, Lex, is younger in the book than in the film, and she acts like a total idiot. Yes, a seven- or eight-year-old will bounce between emotions even in dangerous situations, but not as extremely as Lex does in the book.
Though Ellie Sattler was given her moment to shine towards the end, it wasn’t quite enough to cover that she was largely ignored throughout most of the story. Even in the scenes she was in, she said very little. Gennaro was also inconsistent in his character at the end of the story, being set up as one thing and then suddenly apparently being the total opposite.
A few of the relevations in the book weren’t as surprising or as shocking as they were probably meant to be. Not only because the information was revealed in the movie, but because of the writing in the book itself. The characters’s reactions to the revelations were muted and therefore greatly underwhelmed the surprises.
I am a big fan of the franchise and of dinosaurs in general, so the book was definitely worth the read for me. That means that I will definitely read the second book in the future, no question about that.
I recommend this book!