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Trivia / Jurassic Park

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The Franchise in general:

  • Cast the Runner-Up: Julianne Moore was considered for Ellie Satler. She would play Sarah Harding in The Lost World.
  • Money-Making Shot: The iconic Tyrannosaur escapes the fence and roars scene.
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  • Outlived Its Creator: Since the fourth movie, as Michael Crichton died in 2008. Richard Attenborough's death can count as well, as Jurassic World outlives John Hammond.
  • 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.
    • While the novel and film of Jurassic Park were part of a renewed surge of public interest in dinosaurs in the late 1980s and early 1990s (see The Land Before Time, for instance), the blockbuster success of the film once and for all cemented their pop culture image as intelligent and agile instead of dimwitted and slow. This reflected the Dinosaur Renaissance in paleontology which had started in the late 1960s, gained traction in the 1970s and inspired said surge by the 1980s. And the film also pretty much singlehandedly elevated Velociraptors to stock dinosaur status.
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    • The film inspired a generation of kids to go into paleontology.
    • According to one article the Chilean sea bass, mentioned and shown exactly ONCE in the movie, was still nearly overfished into extinction based on the movie's popularity.
  • Refitted for Sequel: Sort of. When they made video games based off the movies, and needed to stretch them out, they mined each film's respective book; the first SNES game is in many ways more based on the book than the film.
    • Then there's the fact that a couple of scenes from the second film (the vacationing family at the beginning and the T. rex sticking its tongue through the waterfall) were originally from the first book.
      • This is common throughout the film franchise, with unused concepts from both earlier drafts of the script and the original books going into each of the sequels: an early scene with the daughter of an American family on vacation being attacked by a compy in the first book is reworked as a the daughter of a British family on vacation being attacked by a whole BUNCH of compies; the Tyrannosaurus attacking Grant and the kids on a boat in the first book was reworked into the Spinosaurus attacking Grant and the Kirbys in Jurassic Park III; and a dropped concept of Pteranodons attacking a helicopter that was considered for the endings of both The Lost World and Jurassic Park III finally made it to film in Jurassic World, though near the end of the second act instead of the third.
      • In the first book, Lex and Timmy's parents are getting a divorce, and them going to Jurassic Park is meant to be a fun thing to keep them busy. This is used for Gray and Zach in Jurassic World.
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  • Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Dodgson's original actor Cameron Thor was in prison for lewd conduct with a minor when Dominion was made, causing the character's return to be recast with Campbell Scott.
  • Science Marches On: A lot of the incorrectness is due to this. It was what was believed to be true in 1992.
    • At the time of the first film's production, some experiments claimed to have succeeded in extracting DNA from samples that were tens of millions of years old. One study published just one day after the first film's premiere claimed to have recovered DNA from a 120 million year old weevil that had been preserved in amber. Later experiments failed to replicate these results, and they are now believed that have been false positives due to sample contamination. 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.
    • The dinosaurs are all scaly, whereas recent science indicates many should be feathered. 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.") In addition, the size and proportions of the Velociraptors, are closer to that of Deinonychus than Velociraptor, due to the belief at the time that species currently classified as Deinonychus were thought to be in the Velociraptor genus.
    • All the dinosaurs are portrayed with pronated hands, with the palms facing the chest. It is now known that this position was impossible and attempting to put their hands in such a position would have broken their bones. They are now believed to have held their hands with the palms facing each other like they're preparing to clap.
    • The Cearadactylus are depicted as scrawny, delicate creatures with fragile looking wings and an awkward, clumsy gait on the ground. Later discoveries suggest that all pterosaurs were not only much sturdier than they looked, but also scarily competent at ground movement (ornithocheirids like Cearadactylus are even believed to have been able to hop on all fours). Commendably, they're also depicted as being covered in fur.
    • Since they're genetically created, however, it may get a free pass; the dinosaurs were created according to specifications that were thought to be accurate at the time.
    • There's an in-universe example near the start of the book, when Grant spots a herd of Apatosauruses and muses that they are more commonly known by the 1930s misnomer "brontosaurs", and now that Brontosaurus has been confirmed as a real species again this is also an OUT-of-universe example.
    • Sauropods are depicted with fleshy, malleable lips. Now that better-preserved sauropod skulls have been discovered, particularly of the recently-discovered Lavocatisaurus, it seems sauropods would have had a keratinous sheath forming into what looks like a beak.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Steven Spielberg changed the endings of the first two films in the middle of filming. In the first Jurassic Park, the film was supposed to end with the dinosaur fossils in the visitors' center falling on the raptors and crushing one of them, while Hammond shot the other one. Would've been a tad anti-climatic. Spielberg realised that the audiences would never forgive him if he didn't bring back the T. rex for one last heroic moment, and so he did. With The Lost World, it was supposed to end with a Pteranodon assault on a helicopter. Spielberg had proposed putting a T. rex in San Diego early on, but was more or less ignored, until he insisted that it was the ending that would be filmed. It is quite safe to say that both endings that found themselves in the movie are better than the planned ones.
    • Pteranodon was originally going to have an appearance in the film.
    • Universal's animation division created a pitchfilm for a possible animated series around 1995; it used a lot of then-state of the art CGI; the series never got off the ground. You can see it here. Since then, artist William Stout has revealed concept art for the proposed series- which didn't happen because Spielberg was burnt out from all the merch the movie had spawned. An outline for the first season has emerged, with the show's story focusing on an effort to restart Jurassic Park as primarily a scientific research preserve and Bio Syn's rushed efforts at building their own dinosaur park "Dinoworld" in Brazil going horribly wrong.
    • Going off that, the Jurassic Park Chaos Effect toyline, which featured a line of strange mutant dinosaur hybrids, was also originally supposed to tie in with an animated series, but it never got off the ground. Exactly why it was canned is a matter of debate. Some suggest Spielberg/Crichton did not like the concept when it was pitched and canned it. Another report suggests that Spielberg was in a bad mood the day it was to be pitched to him and canned it before even learning what it was about.
    • It was recently revealed by Kathleen Kennedy that the Tyrannosaurus in the first film was originally going to die about halfway through the movie. When they got to the point that they were going to film that scene, Spielberg decided against it.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Jurassic Park Wiki.
  • Word of God: Malcolm was supposed to be dead at the end of the first novel. Since he survived in the movie and became a popular character, Crichton decided to include him in the second novel. The Never Saw The Body aspect merely let him get away with it.

The First Novel:

  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: Michael Crichton spent years working on the story, trying to convince himself the premise was not so unlikely. He had to do a lot of research before he could.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Large portions of the plot are recycled or expanded from Crichton's earlier work, Westworld.
  • Technology Marches On: The novel is a classic that anyone with even passing familiarity with the genre or franchise will pick up. To a modern reader who does that the tech base borders on Schizo Tech. The genetic engineering (it's well beyond mere cloning) is still out of sight in 201X and beyond but anyone reading the book has far more computer resources in their pocket than all of Isla Nublar, nevermind the desktop PC. Most of the plot would still work but specific items like saving processor resources by restricting the count or the US government noticing the amount of hash power Hammond had piled up are downright historical artifacts.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: A bit of a preemptive example, but the novel was never meant to have a sequel, so Crichton had Isla Nublar firebombed, killing all of the dinosaurs on it. That didn't stop Spielberg from convincing him to write a sequel, anyways.


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