YMMV: Jurassic Park

Works with their own YMMV pages:

The Franchise in general:

  • Adaptation Displacement: The films overshadow the novel, though not as badly as some other cases. This is, in part, because of Adaptation Distillation. By this point, the film franchise has a longer and much different continuity than Michael Crichton created in the books. In fact, Crichton never intended for Jurassic Park to become a franchise when he published the original book in 1990.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Jurassic Park fans love to point out that Rexie is a great female role model since 1.) she never finds a mate or has kids which she seems to be perfectly OK with 2.) she saves the day without any male help in the climaxes of Jurassic Park and Jurassic World 3.) she is still in shape even well into her early 20s (which is pretty old for a T. rex) 4.) she fought and kept her title as queen of the dinosaurs 5.) and she is the biggest badass in both Jurassic Park and Jurassic World.
  • Base Breaker: Ian Malcolm is a pretty divisive character. On one hand: His arguments can easily come off as anti-science, anti-intellectual, and at one point outright compares discovery to rape. It certainly furthers Hammond's point that he's more of a "rock star" than a scientist. On the other: All of his predictions about how dangerous "playing God" with science could be turn out to be true, and in the second film he's the Only Sane Man of his crew. On top of that, his wit, his saving the kids in the first one, and his taking on the raptors in the second one make him fairly popular. Being played by Jeff Goldblum helps him, too.
  • Colbert Bump / The Red Stapler: Responsible for amber's popularity in jewelry. Ironic, considering the book has one character express confusion over why Hammond is buying so much amber, since back then it had no cosmetic worth.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Velociraptors and the T. rex.
  • 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.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Robert Muldoon and Roland Tembo are usually quite popular among the fandom. Justified, as both are the Only Sane Man and Great White Hunter in their respective novel/movies. Not to mention that both are the ones in charge of the security of a lot of people. Bob Peck's and Pete Postlethwaite's intense performances certainly have a lot to do with it as well.
    • The Velociraptors. Before the movies came out, nobody really knew much about raptor-type dinosaurs or Velociraptors specifically, or even known they existed. However, after Jurassic Park came along, they have become one of the most well-known and popular dinosaurs around, alongside the T. rex.
    • Dilophosaurus within the larger Jurassic Park franchise itself. Only a single individual has appeared in any film so far, but you'd be hard-pressed to find ANYTHING else in Jurassic Park that DOESN'T feature them.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Velociraptors.
  • Franchise Zombie: By the third movie, it arguably became this as it was the first which had no book inspiration.
    • Outlived Its Creator: The fourth, as Michael Crichton died in 2008. Richard Attenborough's death can count as well, as Jurassic World outlives John Hammond.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the first novel, Lex tells someone to "Hey, listen!"
    • "More like a six foot turkey!"
    • Even better. The so-called "safe" high window in the article below is probably no longer safe with the discovery of flight feathers in raptors. While not using them to fly, per se, they are thought to have maybe used them for something called wing-assisted-incline-running like juvenile flighted birds — which means they could possible run straight up sheer walls...
    • Finding out that Velociraptors were actually rather tiny might have justified the (comically small, nowadays) size of the WD Velociraptor.
    • Mr. DNA! Where did you come from?
  • Jerkass Woobie: Dennis Nedry. Sure, the guy's a greedy jerk who insults dinosaurs, but considering the financial issues he was facing, as well as Hammond's (possible) disregard for them, it's easy to see why he resorted to thievery. Additionally, his death is a bit too gruesome.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Let's face it — the dinosaurs are the whole reason why we come to see these movies in the first place.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The theme song.
    • The T. rex's roar.
  • Narm Charm: The T. rex's little arms come off as funny, but it's still a threatening, carnivorous dinosaur.
  • Older Than They Think: The concept of cloning dinosaurs for use in theme parks was actually done first by Judge Dredd.
  • Only The Creator Does It Right: The Lost World has a divided fan-base and it was almost entirely different from the plot of the book, while the third and fourth movies are entirely original stories within the established setting.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Who doesn't want to watch the dinosaurs eat people?
  • The Scrappy:
    • Kelly from The Lost World and, though not as commonly, Tim and Lex from the original also have their share of detractors.
  • Sequelitis: The Lost World was Anvilicious and lasted a half-hour longer than it should've — a Base Breaker, while the third was just So Okay, It's Average (ignoring the whole debacle involving the T. rex Worf Effect therein). Jurassic World, on the other hand, is generally regarded as a return to form.
  • Signature Roar:
    • The famous roar of the T. rex. By now it is already a Stock Sound Effect.
    • The Velociraptors' growls and screeches have reached this status as well, but not to the extent of the T. rex.
  • Ugly Cute: The Dilophosaurus, sick Triceratops and baby Velociraptor from the first film, the baby T. rex and Stegosaur in the second, and a whole petting zoo of baby dinosaurs in Jurassic World.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The PG-13 rating for all the films do not stop the franchise from attracting child viewers since most parents assume that their children would love dinosaurs. Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, in particular, are especially guilty of this.
  • The Woobie:
    • Many of the characters that play victim to the dinosaurs count, but Lex and Tim, from the first movie, stand out the most, at least for those who don't consider them The Scrappy.
    • Eddie, Howard King, and Hammond are very sad characters, too.
    • The sick Triceratops.

The Novels:

  • Critical Research Failure: The book ends with the island getting fire bombed by the Costa Rican Air force, anybody that actually bothered to read about Costa Rica would know that it doesn't have a Military.
    • The Cearadactyluses are referred to as "birds" and "dinosaurs". Neither term is accurate to describe Cearadactylus.
  • Squick / Nausea Fuel: Arguably the biggest change from the novels to the films, apart from Hammond's character, is the level of gore, which in the books borders on absurd. Those only familiar with Nedry's haha funny death in the film will get a nasty surprise when they reach that point in the novel, and afterward when his corpse is found. Another character, Dr. Wu, is ripped open by a raptor while still alive, feebly trying to fight it.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The books' constant discussion of the robustness of dinosaurs and the purpose and intricacies of DNA may seem excessive nowadays, but it's easy to forget that these only became common knowledge outside of scientific circles as a result of the books.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The Sequel Hook about the dinosaurs who have some how escaped Isla Nublar and are going on a reign in terror across Costa Rica. Crichton abandoned this when he wrote The Lost World, and the filmmakers of the sequel movies contented themselves with the characters going back to the islands.
  • The Untwist:
    • In the book, Dodgson meets with his unidentified mole, who says he's going to meet Dodgson later in San Jose; later, Hammond picks up Nedry, and only Nedry, in San Jose, thus letting the reader deduce that Nedry will simply return to where he came from. The revelation of Nedry as the mole is nevertheless treated as a shock despite there being no other real suspects.
    • The first part of the book attempts to keep the reader guessing as to what exactly is causing all these unexplained deaths and injuries in Costa Rica. Because of the movies it amounts to an It Was His Sled moment since we all know it is about genetically cloned dinosaurs, though even the title and the original cover of the book give it away.
  • What an Idiot: Among the multitudes of examples of this trope in the book, whose idea was it to release the Cearadactyluses into the Aviary before they built the Pteratops Lodge? The excuse was that they wanted to "acclimate the pterosaurs to the Lodge" but that makes zero sense, as the animals would likely have been acclimated to the lodge if you simply put them in there after it was built (or better yet, hold off on cloning them entirely until after the lodge is built).

The First Film:

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Whether Nedry's beef with Hammond about the former's pay is legitimate comes down to how you interpreted Nedry's line "if you can find someone else to do all that I did for what I bid for this job..." Either Nedry (who is said to have financial problems that may or may not be his own doing) underbid in a desperate attempt to land the gig without knowing the full scope of the work he'd been asked to accomplish, or the contract up for bid was purposefully missing several of the aspects of what needed to be done in order to get people to bid lower and save money. The former is Nedry getting in over his head, the latter is Hammond trying to cut corners, which is within his character even in the movie. Both could also be true, which would explain why they're both quick to blame each other.
  • Awesome Music: See AwesomeMusic.JohnWilliams
  • Base Breaker: Lex and Tim. They're either woobies for suffering so much during the course of the film, or they're rather annoying for both being mostly The Load and for being a Kid-Appeal Character.
  • Broken Aesop: The film removes a lot of the book's setup revealing that the park's staff was already losing control of the dinosaurs, and all Nedry did was accelerate the process. So instead of a lesson on how nature cannot be controlled, you get the impression that everything would have been fine if only Hammond didn't have a traitor in his crew.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The film doesn't seem to be clear about whether bringing back dinosaurs is a good thing or not. It wants us to think it's a bad idea, but then goes out of its way to present the result as awe-inspiring.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Ray Arnold's played by Samuel L. Mother-@#$%ing Jackson. The sheer amounts of "Arnold survives/returns" entries on the Wild Mass Guessing page are proof.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Big One and the T. rex.
  • First Installment Wins: For the first three films you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who considers the two sequels to be better (or even on par) with the first one.
  • Genius Bonus: When the raptor jumps after the characters who've fled through the hatch in the ceiling, and it falls to the floor, we see it land with its head flung back almost double and its limbs folded up. This is a very typical pose for such small, lightly-built therapods' fossils to be found in.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Richard Attenborough's daughter and granddaughter were killed in the 2004 Thailand tsunami, making it pretty uncomfortable seeing him in a story about the unstoppable power of nature, which puts his character's grandchildren in danger.
  • He's Just Hiding: Since Samuel L. Jackson has become a Memetic Badass, fans like to assume his character Ray Arnold is still alive and kicking dinosaur butt. Without his right arm, apparently sometimes still with it.
    • Same with Robert Muldoon who was an Ensemble Darkhorse in his own right. The comics even retconned his death and kept him alive like the novel since the Velociraptor was only playing with him instead of eating him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In one scene, Ian Malcom comments on the difference between a park populated by living dinosaurs and a park populated by robotic animatronics by pointing out that animatronics aren't dangerous if the ride breaks down. According to Word of God for the LEGO Dino Attack line, they are dangerous.
    • Not to mention, Michael Crichton also wrote Westworld, which expresses a different opinion on how animatronics behave when they break down.
    • Or really, the idea of killer animatronics in general.
    • During the dinner scene where Hammond and Malcolm argue over the ethics of cloning dinosaurs, Malcolm draws a clear line between cloning animals such as condors which have become endangered thanks to humans (a good idea to him) and cloning animals such as dinosaurs which nature had selected to go extinct (a bad idea to him). But in the novel The Lost World (1995), that version of Malcolm considers anthropogenic extinction to be a necessary thing as well.
      Malcolm: Human beings are so destructive. I sometimes think we're a kind of plague, that will scrub the earth clean. We destroy things so well that I sometimes think, maybe that's our function. Maybe every few eons, some animal comes along that kills off the rest of the world, clears the decks, and lets evolution proceed to its next phase.
  • Narm Charm: "They're moving in herds. They do move in herds." In any other movie, this line would be utter Narm, but since the line is delivered by a teary-eyed Grant in one of the most beautifully iconic scenes in film history, we are too busy feeling amazed by the scene to really laugh.
  • Narm:
    • When Hammond is talking to Grant in the telephone and suddenly hears the gunshots of Grant's weapon as he tries to keep the raptors away, he yells out loud Alan's surname. However, the way Richard Attenborough delivers it sounds more like he's yelling "cunt" or "clowns". Listen to it here.
    • All the drama around Tim climbing the electric fence is pretty silly considering he's clearly small enough to just squeeze through it.
      • Not quite. The wire running between the large metal bars would make squeezing through quite difficult if not impossible. Grant could not quite fit his head between the wires and I'm pretty sure Tim's torso is wider than Grant's head.
    • Some get confused as to why Spielberg felt the need to add a sound effect you'd hear straight out of a Saturday morning cartoon when Nedry slips down the hillside. It comes off so out-of-place, and distracting, compared to the rest of the film. Spielberg claims the sound effect is the hook chain that Nedry is holding as it slips out of his hand.
    • Dr. Sattler screaming "ALAAAAAAAN!!!" is seen as either narm or just irritating.
    • It's hard to take Hammond's talk about dealing with Nedry's hacked system seriously ... when the camera is only showing a shirt-opened Ian Malcolm.
  • Never Live It Down: Robert Muldoon's "clever girl" comment has basically achieved meme status these days. Doesn't help that it occurred the moment prior to his death where some argue that he was better off trying to shoot the raptor rather than shoehorning an epic one-liner.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The roars of the T. rex; the screeching of the raptors with children on the menu was downright scary.
    • The cute hooting Dilophosaurus ... who suddenly opens a cobra-like frill and screams in way that could be described like a cross between an hawk and a hissing cat.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The Dilophosaurus, which pops up briefly to spit its venom at and eat Nedry, has become so iconic through this scene that it has become a staple element of the Expanded Universe and has influenced the portrayal of its species in other dinosaur-related media.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: As Mike Nelson put it in the RiffTrax, "Marvel at the now taken for granted effects..."
  • Signature Line: "Dr. Grant. My dear, Dr. Sattler. Welcome ... to Jurassic Park!"
    • "Clever girl."
    • "SHOOT HER! SHOOT HER!
    • (deadpan) "Hold on to your butts."
    • "Dinosaurs eat Man. Woman inherits the Earth."
  • Signature Scene: This movie has quiet a few. It can be argued that almost any scene that has the cast interacting with a dinosaur is a defining moment of the movie:
    • Nearly all of the T. rex's scenes are memorable, but the most memorable scene with her is her epic concluding scene. The scene where the "when dinosaurs ruled the earth" banner falls down in front of her as she does her Mighty Roar. This one scene has been parodied a countless number of times because of how awesomely memorable it is.
    • Of course, there's the beautiful introduction of our first dinosaur in the beginning of the movie.
      Hammond: Dr. Grant. My dear, Dr. Sattler. Welcome ... to Jurassic Park.
    • The kitchen scene with the two raptors.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • There are many spectacular and highly convincing visual effects in this movie. Ray Arnold's severed arm is not one of them.
    • Neither is the Digital Head Swap for Lex during the climactic air vent chase; it was done out of necessity after the stunt double had accidentally looked up during the shot.
    • During Nedry's conversation with the man at the docks, you can see a playback progress bar scrolling underneath the computer feed, making it quite blatant they're using a video file for the scene.
    • The Brachiosaurus scene, where the head of one appears while Grant, and the kids, are resting in the tree has not aged well.
    • The strings the prop guy pulls to activate the Dilophosaurus' attack can be seen on film (corrected for the 3D release), as well as the smoke of the gun shooting the poison at Nedry, who then clearly proceeds to smear more goo on himself with his hand.
    • The infamous stagehand holding the raptor's tail to keep it from tipping over before it enters the kitchen.
    • A stagelight, a random potted plant and the wires attached to the car are clearly visible when the T. rex rolls it over. These have also been digitally erased for the 3D release.
  • Tear Jerker: Hammond is a pretty tragic character when you think about it. He's worked for years to realize his dream, and it looked as if it had finally come true... but instead, he had his dream crumble around him and result in the horrible deaths of quite a few people (almost including his own grandkids), and was forced to abandon it. His reaction to hearing a Brachiosaurus call one last time before leaving the island is especially wrenching. His dream gets a bit of a Bittersweet Ending in The Lost World, however: While he wasn't able to build a park and share his dream with the world, and even more people die on Site B, at least his dinosaurs are allowed to thrive there.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Robert Muldoon going out the way he did can be kinda insulting considering how much the movie was hyping him up.
  • Too Cool to Live: Robert Muldoon and Ray Arnold.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: This movie is the milestone that popularized CGI in the nineties. The special effects team actually had to invent entirely new technology to get the job done. Made more awesome because the effects have held up better than most of Jurassic Park's 1990s CGI-riddled contemporaries, and even some films now.
    • And even with all the new CGI, it might surprise that many of the dinos were still shot with traditional animation techniques, such as animatronics and puppets.
    • The 3D re-release looks better than several modern 3D movies.
    • Most folks find even the special effects of Jurassic World (released nearly a quarter of a century later!) lacking when compared with those of Jurassic Park.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Alan and Ellie struggle to keep a raptor from forcing open the door to the control room. A shotgun is nearby, but just out of reach and neither wants to risk going for it, so the life-and-death struggle ensues. Makes sense, all things considered...except for the fact that Tim and Lex are also in the room. At least Lex has the excuse of working to reactivate computer systems. Why Alan and Ellie don't think to ask Tim to hand them the shotgun, or why Tim doesn't think to do so himself instead of thumping of Lex's chair and telling her to hurry up, is a mystery.
    • When the T. rex has burst through the fence, Lex grabs a large flashlight, turns it on, and uses it to try and see what's going on, thus inadvertently attracting the T. rex to their jeep. And then doesn't turn it off, even when her brother is screaming for her to do so. She just warbles on about how 'sorry' she is.
    • Lewis Dodgeson: He gives his Inside Man a device with which to steal property that is worth several billion dollars and represents a huge leap forward in genetic engineering and research. That device will only protect and preserve said property for 36 hours from the time that he activates it for said Inside Man. He has to know that the window of opportunity to steal said property is likely razor slim and will depend on precise timing from start to finish in order for the plan to come off. And yet he doesn't bother to look at a weather report to see if there are any weather systems brewing in the vicinity of the island that might interfere with his Inside Man's exit window. In fairness, it's said Dodgson also had a man on the boat, so it's likely the second man had a cooler on hand, making the 36 hours a "worst case" scenario. Still doesn't excuse him from the weather gaffe.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Children love dinos! Yet, as the film's entry here shows, bringing them to Jurassic Park is prime Nightmare Fuel. And can also leave children electrically shocked, dirty, and with sore throats!
    • And the PG-13 rating hardly stopped kids from seeing the first movie, as it was marketed to children through toys and other merchandise despite being fairly violent and scary. That the movie was responsible for trouncing the animated film Once Upon a Forest in the box office is particularly telling, given that there was no competition from Disney that summer (save for Touchstone's The Nightmare Before Christmas.)

The Videogames:

  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Several of the games released for the first movie, especially the JP games for Genesis and JP2: The Chaos Continues for SNES were surprisingly good (even if Chaos Continues was ridiculously Nintendo Hard). And 2003's Operation Genesis was a surprisingly solid Zoo Tycoon-style park-building sim (that let you unleash hordes of carnivores upon your guests, but not without paying for it big-time).
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The Game Boy and NES versions of the game released for the first movie.
    • Jurassic Park: Trespasser. Even if it is responsible for innovations that are still felt in games today (truthfully, it was probably too innovative for the time it came out), it's still one of the most Obvious Betas in video gaming history.
    • Jurassic Park Interactive on the 3DO, a title which has no clear idea of what it wants to be, as well as not using the JP license for anything worthwhile.
    • Telltale Games's episodic Jurassic Park The Game received mixed reviews, both praising and criticizing the attempt to take inspiration from Heavy Rain. Favorable reviews praised the atmosphere and the respect for the franchise's spirit, while negative reviews criticized the graphics and (some of them) the gameplay as more akin to a FMV game, lacking the amount of player agency of previous Telltale games or the games by David Cage.

The Arcade Games:

  • Awesome Music: The first game has some pretty good tracks that fit well with the action on screen.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The arcade game consists of half an hour of dino shooting action. At six minutes in you must shoot a Mamenchisaurus's butt to help it poop. No, really.
  • Fridge Horror: So you rescue the baby T. rex, mend its leg, then return it to the wild, but a few minutes later you kill both of its parents...