"Oh yeah, 'oooh, ahhh.' That's how it always starts. Then later there's running, and screaming."
Scientists discover the ability to bring extinct animals back to life via a complex cloning process. To make a profit off this technology, the InGen company decides to build a theme park featuring living dinosaurs.
This in itself would not be such a bad idea, except the organizers rush to get it open, build it on a remote island, and have almost no security personnel, deciding to automate the whole thing with unreliable computers — even refusing to tell the software designer what the system is for.
Naturally, everything that can go wrong does go wrong
The 1990 book Jurassic Park
was written by Michael Crichton
, while the 1993 movie Jurassic Park
was directed by Steven Spielberg
. Both were insanely popular then and are considered modern classics now, and the film spawned two sequels.
While the second film shared the name of the second book The Lost World: Jurassic Park
, it had a wildly different storyline, mostly due to characters that originally died in the first book coming back. Jurassic Park III
came out several years later. While neither rose to the 'classic' status of the first film, both were fairly well received. The same basic story exists in all of the films, only separated by what characters are involved and certain action scenes. A fourth cinematic installment has been in Development Hell
for nine years and counting - it was even considered that it would not come through after Michael Crichton's death
in 2008. But then Spielberg announced in 2013 that JP4, now entitled Jurassic World
will be released in June 2015.BooksFilmsPinball TablesTheme Park Attractions
- Jurassic Park River Adventure
- Jurassic Park Discovery Center
- Camp Jurassic
- Pteranodon Flyers/Canopy Flyers
- Triceratops Discovery Trail (now closed)
This series provides examples of:
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- The Centerpiece Spectacular: All three films have an attack that signifies things have gone down, involving a death of the cast and destruction of vehicles.
- The first is the T. rex attack on the two cars that gets Gennaro killed.
- The second is the combined T. rex attack that destroys all the equipment, and claims Eddie.
- The third is the first Spinosaurus encounter that destroys the plane and gets the mercs killed.
- Character Exaggeration: In the film Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm was a comical Deadpan Snarker. In the original novel, he was a much more serious character, although he did have some humorous moments — such as dismissing the argument comparing reviving dinosaurs to using cloning to save the California Condor by pointing out the obvious fact that condors don't eat people. Although, perhaps as a nod to this change, while delirious from drugs and severe injury in the sequel novel, The Lost World (1995), he temporarily takes on a talkative, wisecracking persona similar to his movie one, although much more over-the-top.
- Chekhov's Gun: A couple in the first novel and movie; a considerable number in the second novel; the most egregious being Kelly's gymnastics in the second film. The frog DNA is the most consistent one across the literature and film.
- Chekhov's Hobby: One in each movie. Lex was savvy with computers. Kelly mentions being cut from the the gymnastics team. Billy has experience in base jumping.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Hammond was noticeably more corrupt and uncaring in the book, where he suffers a Karmic Death. The movie version is more Walt Disney-esque (well, Walt Disney's charming public persona at any rate). It helps a lot that he was played by Richard Attenborough. The Lost World has Hammond's evil, greedy nephew. Additionally, Lewis Dodgson, head of research of InGen's rival company Biosyn, precipitates the plot of the first book/movie by hiring the disgruntled Dennis Nedry to steal embryos for him... then goes to Isla Sorna to do the job himself in the second novel.
- Death by Adaptation: Muldoon survives the novel, but is killed by the raptors in the film. Gennaro was spared by the first novel, but his film character was merged with some aspects of the novel's Ed Regis and so he caught Regis' death in the film. The second novel revealed that Gennaro died of dysentery on the way back to America.
- Death World: The dinosaur-filled islands themselves, which are even known to Costa Rican locals as "Las Cinco Muertes" (the five deaths). We only get to see Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, though.
- Deconstruction: Can be seen as a deconstruction of Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. It shares many thematic similarities with King Kong, while playing it a lot more realistic and dark.
- Despair Event Horizon: Shortly after Arnold realizes that he needs Nedry in order to get the park back online, Nedry is attacked and killed by the Dilophosaurus. Eddie being eaten and the trailers/radio being destroyed by the Tyrannosaurs in the second film also qualifies. In both cases, the one person who could fix things and provide a relatively quick/easy means of calling for help has been brutally killed off, driving home the point that the survivors are now stranded on a dinosaur-infested island with virtually no means of escape.
- Determinator: Life itself. Life finds a way to bypass the safeguards against propagation and self-preservation, namely sexual isolation and lysine dependency.
- Digital Head Swap: Possible Trope Codifier for stunt effects, CGI was used to put an actress's head on a double's body.
- Dirty Coward: Ed Regis, who abandons the Hammond children in a car with the door open to save his own ass when the T. rex shows up and gets eaten for his trouble. Donald Gennaro takes on the role in the movie, despite having been very much the opposite in the book.
- Disaster Dominoes
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The novel was intended as a warning about the dangers of playing God and tampering with nature. Yet, let's be honest. When it was adapted to film, how many people walked out of the theater after seeing it thinking, "Awesome! I wish we could bring dinosaurs back to life! Get cracking, scientists. Increase dinosaur DNA research!"? This is, of course, because Ian Malcolm's message on why it was bad in the first place was not the focus of the movie.
- Dynamic Entry: Frequent with the large carnivores, like Tyrannosaurus and Spinosarus, as well as the Velociraptors.
- Eaten Alive: Too many times to count.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Pretty much This Trope: The Movie series.
- Fantastic Nature Reserve: The park.
- Filk Song:
- Foreshadowing: The Dilophosaurus is mentioned to be able to spit blinding venom at its prey. It proves to be effective against Nedry.
- For Science!: The motivation of InGen's geneticists, and Ian Malcolm's main beef with them.
- Fossil Revival
- Fragile Speedster: The Raptors.
- From Bad to Worse: The situation is bad enough with most of the dinosaurs running wild and no way of contact with the main land. Then the Velociraptors get loose...
- In general, the movies love the "frying pan -> fire" approach. Interestingly, in all three movies there's at least one instance where it involved Velociraptors making things worse — in the first, as noted the bad situation gets worse when everyone realizes the raptors, already noted as very intelligent and cunning, are loose. In the second, the camp is attacked by two Tyrannosauruses at once and the entire Redshirt Army runs for the hills... directly into a colony of raptors, which makes short work of the survivors. In the third, the troupe is lost on the island and has no way of knowing where they are, and things only get worse when another colony of raptors starts tracking them throughout the island after one of them steals raptor eggs. And that's not getting into all the times they run with the "our machinery is messing up/our vehicle has been disabled when suddenly the T. rex / Spinosaurus shows up to make things worse" angle.
- From The Lost World:
Dr. Ian Malcolm
: Mommy's very angry.
- ...and then Daddy T. rex showed up on the doorstep.
- The novel talks about the From Bad to Worse phenomena being a consequence of chaos theory. It's even given the status of a scientific theory, named after Ian Malcolm. When modeling chaotic systems, Malcolm tended to include a nonlinear equation that included a point where a small change in input would cause a sudden and dramatic change in output, and often not for the better. In other words, he essentially included a mathematical Oh, Crap into his models. Hammond's scientists don't believe the Malcolm Effect applies to living systems, but they're, of course, dead wrong.
- Giant Flyer : The various pterosaurs that feature as background characters. The Pteranodons get A Day in the Limelight in III.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The series loves the "character gets attacked by a dinosaur and dragged offscreen, where a bloodcurdling scream (and maybe a trickle of blood) is used to show that they've been horribly killed" method. Nearly every death that isn't caused by a big dino happens this way.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: The Telltale Games series takes place during and shortly after the events of the first film, from the perspectives of one minor film character and a whole bunch of new ones.
- Guns Are Useless: Strangely enforced — all three films have a good amount of guns, but no one ever seems to be able to effectively use them against dinosaurs (with the exception of a tranq gun in The Lost World.
- Jurassic Park: Muldoon is killed before having a chance to shoot anything, and Grant gets three shots off with his shotgun, misses and it jams as the Velociraptors attack. Foreshadowed earlier when the InGen workers fire uselessly at one of these same raptors while it's mauling one of their co-workers to death.
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Possibly the most egregious use of this trope. A T. rex attacks a camp full of sleeping hunters. All of whom are well armed. Instead of raking it to death with a concentrated hail of bullets, they panic and run for their lives, some of them shooting their guns wildly in the air while fleeing the rampaging dinosaur. The only one who thinks to actually shoot his gun at the T. rex is Roland Tembo, but the cartridges of his elephant gun were secretly stolen by Nick Van Owen.
- Eddie Carr's tranquilizer is this on a couple of instances: when the stegosaurus charges after Sarah, Ian yells at him to shoot it; he doesn't want to because they're "just protecting their baby." Later, the T. rexes attack him in his car (also "just protecting their baby"). He's quite willing to shoot them then, but since his gun picks that moment to get stuck on some netting well...Nom-Nom!
- Jurassic Park III: Armed mercenaries bring many weapons to the island, including an anti-tank rifle. The only thing that is ever used against any dinosaur of any kind (albeit successfully) is a flare gun.
- Holds up in the book as well — Muldoon tranqs a T. rex with a rocket launcher (It Makes Sense in Context) but it doesn't take effect until a good bit later simply because he didn't have much idea of the right dosage. He points out that shooting the dinos wasn't very effective because of their biology. Most of the information he gives out is now known to be wrong, but at the time it made sense.
- Iconic Logo: Illustrated on top of this page. The third movie replaces the T. rex with a Spinosaurus.
- Infant Immortality: Pretty much played straight with Tim, Lex, Kelly, Eric, and any baby dinosaurs seen in the film series (baby Stegosaurus, baby T. rex, baby Pteranodons, stolen raptor eggs, etc.) The only real exception was that poor dog in the second movie and possibly the boy of the family that owned said dog who took a flash photo of the T. rex. Chances are, the boy and his parents were killed, though this is never shown explicitly in the movie.
- According to the final script, the T. rex smashes its head into the boy's bedroom, sniffs the entire family and goes on its way, leaving the kid and his understandably terrified parents completely unscathed. This part of the scene was either not shot or deleted for reasons unknown, and has not turned up in any releases of the film.
- This is in the movies only. Sucks to be the baby that gets its face ripped off by compies in the first book. It extends past humans, too; when Tim tried to distract two Velociraptors that followed him and Lex by sending a baby raptor found in the InGen lab to them. The adult raptors immediately slaughtered the baby. This scene was roughly adapted for the screen... by an episode of Primeval.
- The Lost World novel elaborates on this, saying that by basically being cloned and left to their own devices, most of the raptors were cannibalistic, lacked the maternal instinct of their ancestors, and saw their own offspring as just another prey item.
- The little girl in the intro of the second movie was obviously seriously injured, judging by the mother's screams. Peter Ludlow points this out during his business meeting with InGen's Board of Directors and Hammond later mentions her to Malcolm. In both cases, the listening parties have to be assured that she survived.
- Ironic Echo: Towards the beginning of the first film, Ian heckles Alan and Ellie over "digging up dinosaurs" and mocks a T. rex roar to mess with them during the helicopter ride to the park. At the beginning of the second film, a random person on the train does the same thing to Ian over his media appearances following the incident, complete with a fake dinosaur roar.
- Island of Mystery: Isla Nublar and Isla Sorna, and to a lesser extent, the rest of the island chain that makes up "The Five Deaths" (of which Nublar and Sorna are a part of).
- Just Desserts: Given this is a series involving man-eating dinosaurs, this trope is to be expected. In the books, Lewis Dodgson gets devoured by infant T-rexes in the second novel, as do two of his henchmen, although one of them has a change of heart only to get violently killed by raptors anyway. In the films, Nedry totally counts for this, while his book counterpart wasn't explicitly eaten by the dinosaur, just blinded and gutted by the creature while his remains were later eaten by a compy horde. In the video game, Yoder and, depending on player actions, Nina get eaten by the T. rex at the end of the final episode. Could also count for Dr. Sorkin, since she takes a Face-Heel Turn and becomes an environmental extremist by releasing the Mosasaurus, only to have it eat her instead.
- Justified Tutorial: Jurassic Park for the Sega CD contains information kiosks which play video footage of Robert T. Bakker, who explains various dinosaur behaviors, cluing the player in on how to deal with them when encountered.
- Karmic Death: A fair few people in the films (e.g., Nedry and Gennaro), although there are also undeserving victims (e.g., Muldoon, who was smart enough to realize that even having the raptors exist was a disaster waiting to happen). The trope is very evident in the novel, as not one of the responsible persons has thought of the consequences of reviving the largest predators ever to walk the Earth. All of them save two die horribly.
- A notable example would be Stark, who callously tasers a compy just for the hell of it. Later, he is ambushed and killed by a horde of compies.
- Kill All Humans \ To Serve Man: Tyrannosaurs and Velociraptors come running for the great taste of human!
- In the first novel, the Tyrannosaurus appears to always be a step ahead of every move Grant and the kids make.
- Probably justified. In the raptor transport scene, it's being handled rather roughly. Mistreated animals often attack humans when they get loose. The attacks may be more about revenge than food.
- Actually discussed in the first novel. After some raptors try to attack the protagonists through their electrified enclosure, Malcolm mentions that lions and tigers typically only become man-eaters if they discover that humans are easy to kill, and wonders if the raptors made the same discovery at some point. Early on in the first novel, it's mentioned that the Velociraptors are actually quite vicious and kill for the pleasure of it.
- LEGO Genetics: The main reason why the park fails — they used amphibian DNA, the closest thing possible to insert into the damaged DNA code without causing mutations. Except it did. The type of amphibian used can change sexes in unequal-gender conditions.
- And using it is kind of stupid when you think about it, given that amphibians and reptiles share different classes, as compared to say chickens and dinosaurs, which start differing at the sub-order level, ie. about 6 evolutionary steps closer.
- Leit Motif: The opening tune from the first film gets repeated a lot during the sequence involving the Velociraptors. And listen carefully for it in the sequels whenever someone even mentions the Velociraptors, especially if the topic is brought up before the raptors have even appeared.
- Licensed Pinball Tables: Two, one for Jurassic Park and another for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
- Limited Wardrobe: Malcolm's signature all-black ensemble. In the novel, he jokes about how his clothes are all grey and black, so he can get changed in the dark. He also said something about not wasting any time choosing what color to wear.
- Living Motion Detector: Tyrannosaurs, though only in the first movie. In the book, a paleontologist named Roxton theorized this was the case, and Grant acts on it to protect him and Lex from one. It's stated that all the park's dinosaurs have this problem, due to the frog DNA used to patch holes in their genetics.
- This became a subject of discussion in The Lost World. It's pointed out that Grant was working off really bad data out of sheer desperation, as there really wasn't any other way for him to have gotten out of that situation alive. Levine, a more well-read genius, states that, "Roxton is an idiot. He doesn't know enough anatomy to have sex with his wife." The reason the T. rex didn't chow down on Grant and Lex was because the goat it had eaten moments before was enough to fill its appetite for several hours. Baselton isn't aware of this, and tries the same stunt with a hungry T. rex. While stealing eggs from its nest. It eats him whole.
- Obliviously Evil: Practically every dinosaur in the franchise. What, did you think T. Rex knew she was harming people by eating them? She was just hungry! Did the Dilophosaurus realize it was wrong to blind and maul Nedry? Of course not, it was hungry and curious! Did the Pteranodon stop to question how morally sound it was for her to snatch up Eric Kirby? No, because she was too busy thinking about what a tasty take-out meal he'd be for her kids! The only real aversions would probably be the Raptors and the Spinosaurus, who take almost sadistic glee in killing and eating people.
- Oddly Named Sequel: Jurassic Park > The Lost World (: Jurassic Park in the movie) > Jurassic Park III > Jurassic World.
- Peek-A-Boo Corpse: In both versions, a hand falls on Ellie and they both think the man the limb belongs to is alive... until they turn around.
- Playful Hacker: Dennis Nedry. "Uh huh huh, you didn't say the magic word!" Even has signs of this in the book with "wht_rbt.obj".
- Phlebotinum Dependence: The dinosaurs are deliberately deprived of lysine. It doesn't work.
- Ptero Soarer: The Pteranodons.
- Raptor Attack: Trope Maker and Trope Codifier.
- Reaction Shot: A wild Raptor appeared!
- Revision: Why the T. rex in Jurassic Park "couldn't see" people standing still. The second novel explains why she probably could, and why she didn't chow down on the immobile buffet.
- Roar Before Beating: Each movie has at least one scene that exists pretty much just to show off the dinosaurs (the "Ooh, aah" part of Malcolm's above quote), usually set to the main theme.
- Rule of Scary
- Scenery Porn: It was filmed in Hawaii.
- Science Is Bad: Stronger in the book than the movie, though not as strong as some of Crichton's later novels.
- Science Marches On: A lot of the incorrectness is due to this. It was what was believed to be true in 1992.
- Notably, we now know that Velociraptor had feathers and possessed other avian characteristics. (This was sort of addressed in the third film by giving them weird looking little feather "mohawks.")
- As the half-life of DNA was recently established, we now know for a fact that even under ideal preservation conditions, DNA cannot survive longer than a couple million years. In this instance, there could be some overlap with Artistic License – Biology, as even in 1992 the concept of Mesozoic DNA persisting to the present day might well have been considered scientifically dubious.
- See No Evil, Hear No Evil: It fails in the first movie, and it's lampshaded in the Lost World book.
- Shout-Out: The male raptors of the second and third films bear similar designs to Talon with tiger stripes and head feathers, respectively.
- Sound-Only Death: Pretty much every casualty. Averted with Gennaro in Jurassic Park, Eddie in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and the mercenaries in Jurassic Park III.
- Spiritual Successor: To Westworld, another Michael Crichton work about an amusement park built around unusual or unique atractions — robots instead of dinosaurs — that outgrow their design, ensuing chaos and murder.
- Starring Special Effects
- Stay in the Kitchen: Hammond to Ellie in the first book/movie. Although in the movie, it was more well-meaning chauvinism (saying he, not her, should be risking his life to get the power back on) instead of being a jerk. Ellie, who is a healthy, athletic young woman (whereas Hammond is an elderly man) notes how dumb this is: "We'll discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back."
- Stock Dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, and Brachiosaurus all make appearances, and Velociraptor itself became a stock dinosaur because of the movie. In the novels, they were specifically chosen to appeal to people.
- Super-Persistent Predator: Goes between subverting and using quite a lot in both the novel and film. In the second novel, it is mentioned that the raptors, born without a pack mentality and "code" due to no pre-existing raptor to teach them on Site B, are cruelly intelligent and kill for sport - and often kill each other over food.
- Take That: A bit of a Genius Bonus: The Robert Bakker Expy gets killed, and the technical advisor was Jack Horner, who feuded with Bakker over dinosaur biology.
- Real life Bob Bakker, however, is said to have loved the scene. Specifically, Bakker and Horner at the time were not just rivals, but on opposite sides of the T. rex as predator (Bakker) vs. scavenger (Horner) debate. After seeing his expy nom'ed by the T. rex, Bakker called up Horner and triumphantly announced "I told you it was a predator."
- The Take That goes further in the book. The main characters discuss the T. rex not being able to see motionless objects and animals (something that was tried in the first film, to no avail). One of them calls the paleontologist who proposed this "an idiot".
- The Dog Bites Back: Dennis Nedry's motivation for betraying InGen to Biosyn was how poorly he was treated by Hammond and InGen supervisors. He was given incredibly broad objectives (e.g. "design a feeding system. period.") in the name of secrecy and then ordered to work uncompensated overtime to fix the errors caused by his inadequate instructions.
- Too Dumb to Live: Anyone who would (a) follow a Velociraptor into dense forest, regardless of how well-armed they might be; (b) run headlong into a field of tall grass in which God knows what might be lurking — after having been briefed that this was near a raptor nesting site; or (c) knowingly steal raptor eggs for profit before even knowing if they'll make it off the island alive probably has a subconscious death wish.
- Trope Overdosed
- Villainous Rescue: Seen in the first film, one of the most iconic moments of the franchise. Grant, Sattler, and the kids are cornered by the Velociraptors, who are just about to attack when the T. rex comes out of nowhere and slaughters them.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Really, what could possibly happen if you were to let giant animals you know nothing about inhabit an entire island and show them as part of a theme park? (And rely entirely on automation to keep it safe?) Surely they wouldn't bite anyone if they had the chance.
- In the book, every one of Hammond's department leads figured out their containment methods were inadequate since they were planning on slow, stupid animals. They even give him a range of possible solutions, from equipment upgrades to modifying the dinosaur genetics to make them slow and stupid but he blows them off.
- Or at least he does to their face. Later on, they discover that he'd ordered a stash of stronger weapons and hidden them in a secret bunker that some of the highest level folks in the park didn't know about. Perhaps he planned on telling them if he ever thought it was serious enough, but by the time he was at all worried it was too late.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Vince Vaughn's character Nick from The Lost World disappears from the film before the T. rex makes it to the city. His disappearance is never explained. It's possible that he just got the hell out and never looked back.
- It's never mentioned what happened to the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar after the events of the first movie. In the book, they were all killed by Costa Rican Air Force, but in the movie... they were just left free? In the second film, it is implied that everyone expected the dinosaurs to die by themselves after a short time, them being lysine dependant and all that.
- The junior novelization also mentions Alan internally lamenting that the dinosaurs "would have to be destroyed", thus, one can assume this does indeed happen. Of course, keyword here being junior, that's probably because it omits the discussion about the lysine contingency.
- In a deleted scene in the second film, we see Ludlow addressing the InGen board about the lawsuits associated with the deaths of Nedry, Muldoon, Gennaro and others. He also mentions the costs of dismantling the Isla Nublar facility.
- Any "dismantling" of Isla Nublar seems to have been either handwaved or retconned by the third movie — at least in the JP III novelization, which mentions both islands as being populated by dinosaurs and declared no-fly zones. Udesky briefly mentions it in film, but gets shouted down before receiving any confirmation.
- Jurassic World takes place on the first island, so hopefully it will clear this issue up once and for all.
- In the first film, we never actually learn why the Triceratops got sick, as Ellie's theory is disproven before the storm hits. She's shown picking up smooth stones off the ground, though, alluding to the correct theory she eventually figures out in the novel.
- Nedry's can of dinosaur embryos. Spielberg even thought that the sequel would pick up on that, but Michael Crichton chose another path. It eventually was picked upon in Jurassic Park: The Game.
- A Winner Is You: Many Jurassic Park games don't bother with endings and just show players a lame and often lazy cutscene of the hero escaping the dinosaurs' island.
- The Worf Effect: The raptors. They kill Muldoon the Great White Hunter in the first film and almost all of Ludlow's Mooks in the second... which would probably make it all the more embarrassing that they are defeated by Lex and Timmy in the first film, and Kelly in the sequel.
- The T. rex, after dominating the first two films, is rather implausibly killed by the Spinosaurus early on in the third film. The Spinosaurus itself is driven away by a flare gun and not seen again for the remainder of the movie.
- The T. rex in the third film is a sub-adult male. It is obviously much smaller than any of the previous T. rex examples.
- The Worm Guy: Alan Grant in the first installment, Dr. Levine in the second novel.