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YMMV / Jurassic Park

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  • Adaptation Displacement: The films overshadow the two novels, though not as badly as some other cases due to Michael Crichton's decades-long superstar author status. This is, in part, because of Adaptation Distillation. By this point, the film franchise has a longer and much different continuity than 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.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The 3D file manager that Lex uses near the end is actually real. It was a shell for the IRIX operating system (which is indeed a UNIX derivative) made by Silicon Graphics, who used to be a major Hollywood supplier of CGI technology. They even released a limited Jurassic Park edition of the computer with the company co-founder's signature.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Ian Malcolm, the Breakout Character among the humans, is a pretty divisive one. On one hand: His arguments can easily come off as anti-science and anti-intellectual, and 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 across his film appearances, 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 (though that's also something that bugs the non-fans).
  • Common Knowledge: A frequent complaint thrown against the films in memes or critiques is that supposedly all six films depict confined dinosaurs escaping to devour people, yet the humans have Aesop Amnesia and keep reopening the theme park. This only comes into play in the first and fourth films, the former where the park isnt even open yet, and the latter being about the Jurassic World theme park indeed fully breaking down. The second, third, and sixth films deal with the humans surviving wild, non-caged dinosaurs, and the fifth film sees dinosaur refugees from Isla Nublar trafficked and ultimately set free into the wild.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Redemption comic, written by Bob Schreck, gives two characters Adaptational Villainy:
      • Peter Ludlow, surviving his encounter with a baby T. rex, becomes maniacally obsessed with spiting the entire Hammond family, specifically his nephew-in-law Tim Murphy. Secretly endorsing Tim's efforts to construct a new Jurassic Park in the middle of Texas, Ludlow works with Lewis Dodgson in ensuring carnivores populate the park before having Dodgson murder Dr. Henry Wu to silence him. Eventually revealing himself to Tim, Ludlow gleefully reveals his intent to unleash the entire populace of the new Jurassic Park onto Texas to slaughter as many innocents in their path as possible, uncaring of the immense body count that will result so long as Tim is framed for the crime. So deep is Ludlow's hate for the Hammond lineage that Ludlow hopes for Tim to stay alive for years just so he'll suffer guilt for his hand in the coming massacre, and Ludlow even goes so low as to inform Tim that his sister Lex will be one of the victims of Ludlow's scheme.
      • Lewis Dodgson himself, who previously caused the first Jurassic Park incident by paying Nedry to steal dinosaur embryos, returns as a game warden at Tim's new Jurassic Park, but is secretly working for Ludlow. Torturing the dinosaurs under his care, Dodgson gleefully participates in the murder of Dr. Wu by allowing a predator to rip him apart and helps release the dinosaurs to kill countless innocents in Texas.
    • Dominion: Dr. Lewis Dodgson, debuting in the very first film, proves to be much more destructive than any of the dinosaurs. Having been a member of InGen's competitor Biosyn for decades, Dodgson's attempt to sabotage the rival company involves him having Dennis Nedry mess with the controls of the park so Nedry can make off with embryos while everyone else is put in mortal jeopardy—even Nedry himself. Years after the fact, Dodgson eventually becomes the CEO of Biosyn, and not only does he have an involvement in the Black Market dinosaur trade, he also has Dr. Henry Wu genetically mutate locusts designed to attack and eat the crops of all his competitors to force humanity to either buy his own food sources or suffer extinction by malnourishment. Even when all that goes wrong, Dodgson tries to wipe out those who opposed him and flee with the embryos he has left, intending to continue his immoral desire for scientific superiority over everything and everyone.
  • Contested Sequel: Most of the sequels fall into this. The Lost World is criticized for being rather Anvilicious and having annoying characters but has its fans for having more dinosaurs, well directed action, and a darker tone. Jurassic Park III is mostly considered either an entertaining if simplistic film or a total abomination. Jurassic World seems to be the most well received film in the franchise since the original though it's not without its share of detractors. Dominion seems to be the most divisive and controversial film in the franchise even topping The Lost World and Fallen Kingdom, with mixed audience ratings and very low critic ratings.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The novel was intended as a warning about the dangers of playing God and performing unnatural acts. 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 Dark Horse:
    • 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.
    • Dilophosaurus within the larger Jurassic Park franchise itself. Only a single individual has appeared in any film (until Jurassic World Dominion), but you'd be hard-pressed to find ANYTHING else in Jurassic Park that DOESN'T feature them.
  • Evil Is Cool: The Velociraptors are intelligent predators who are responsible for one of the film's tensest moments. There's a reason that it becomes a stock dinosaur after the film came out.
  • Fandom Rivalry: A one-sided one with Barney & Friends back in The '90s, as both works came out in the same timeframe and provided radically different portrayals of dinosaurs. Jurassic Park was loved by the general moviegoing public for bringing its dinos to life via Visual Effects of Awesome and using them masterfully for suspense and action scenes, a stark contrast to Barney giving a saccharine portrayal of dinosaurs for very young children and nobody else. Jurassic Park III even takes an apparent shot at Barney by featuring a young child distracted by an episode of the show during a pivotal moment.
  • First Installment Wins: The original film is the only one which is nigh-universally considered great. The others fall into Contested Sequel territory at best, but few will argue that any are equal to the original in overall story quality.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The series is quite popular in Japan. There was even an exhibition based on the franchise which was meant to educate the public about paleontology.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • 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 (especially the novel version).
  • 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.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Original film: The Velociraptor alpha is a terrifyingly intelligent predator and one of the most dangerous dinosaurs in the park. Introduced killing one of the park's crew, the alpha killed all but two of her pack to assert her dominance, using her remaining pack to constantly check their old pen for flaws so they could make their escape. When the power finally goes out, the raptors bust out of their new pen and go on the hunt, with the alpha setting up a trap for Robert Muldoon when he tries to take them out. Learning how to open doors, the alpha and one of her pack bust into the visitor centre and relentlessly chase the heroes, nearly killing them were it not for the surprise interference of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The alpha and her pack are some of the most iconic dinosaurs in all of fiction, and stand as one of the most shining examples of surprisingly clever creatures in cinema.
    • The Lost World: Roland Tembo is a badass Great White Hunter who, having hunted the most dangerous animals on Earth, decides to culminate his career by taking down the greatest predator on Earth: a Tyrannosaurus rex buck. Acting as The Heavy for Peter Ludlow in the dinosaur hunting expedition and ensuring his incompetent, greedy boss stays well away from the operation, Tembo baits out a Tyrannosaurus couple by using its baby as bait. Even when a gaggle of strangers free the baby and confiscate his ammo, Tembo saves their lives and still manages to bag the adult Tyrannosaurus in the end. Arguably the sanest and most rational character in the movie by the end, when Ludlow tries to offer Tembo a job as cheap compensation for the loss of Tembo's friends, Tembo politely tells Ludlow to shove it.
    • Dominion: Soyona Santos is a Black Market trader specializing in selling dinosaurs, particularly Atrociraptors for numerous things, including as weapons or for dogfights. Hired by Biosyn's CEO Dr. Lewis Dodgson, Santos makes the arrangements for both Maisie Lockwood and the young raptor Beta to be captured and then brought to Malta before then being sent from there to Dodgson at Biosyn shortly after. Upon a deal being busted up by a sting, Santos shows no signs of panic and uses a laser-pointer so that specially-trained raptors will attack the agents surrounding her and targets Claire Dearing and Barry Sembène to prevent them from pursuing her too. While giving up info after being interrogated with a taser, Santos, while in the process of being arrested, stealthily sics the raptors on Owen Grady as he's escaping.
  • Memetic Mutation: Now with its own page.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • The concept of cloning dinosaurs for use in theme parks was actually done first by Judge Dredd.
    • The idea of cloning a dangerous extinct life form without the ability to produce certain amino acids for safety reasons was used in the 1974 novel The Godwhale.
  • 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 ones starting with the third are entirely original stories within the established setting.
  • Popular with Furries: The Jurassic Park franchise is one of the most popular series with scalies and is the most popular with fans of dinosaurs. It's a Gateway Series into paleontology and being a dinosaur fan.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Who doesn't want to watch the dinosaurs eat people?
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Jurassic Park's depiction of dinosaurs is generally considered very outdated compared to the modern view of dinosaurs, and is largely blamed for the stagnation of their image in public perspective over the last few decades. But for its time, the original novel and film were very progressive and greatly moved forward from the slow, plodding reptiles that also stagnated in the years beforehand.
  • Sequelitis: Critically at least. The first film was acclaimed and is often considered a masterpiece, but every other film following it has gotten mostly mixed or negative reviews. Although Jurassic World bucked the trend by getting somewhat positive reviews, the series has otherwise gotten a consistently lower and lower Rotten Tomatoes score with each new film, from the original film's stellar 92% down to Dominion's abysmal 29%. Among general audiences however, the subsequent films fall under Contested Sequel, with much more mixed opinions.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A surprisingly large amount of people assume the dinosaurs are male despite most of them actually being purposely made to be female. This is mentioned several times throughout the films and is a plot point.
  • Viewer Species Confusion: For the most part avoided, since all of the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals are clearly named, even if they don't look accurate. However, a couple cases of this stand out.
    • In the first movie, the two skeletons in the Visitor Center are a Tyrannosaurus rex and a sauropod. Said sauropod is often called an Apatosaurus or a Brontosaurus, but according to the script, it's an Alamosaurus, a species that has never appeared in the franchise in any other form (but it is the only sauropod species known to have actually coexisted with T. rex).
    • The unnamed sauropod that appears briefly during the roundup scene in The Lost World is neither an Apatosaurus nor a Diplodocus, which it is often mistaken for by causal viewers. It's actually a Mamenchisaurus (although mid-production, it was briefly planned to be changed to Seismosaurus, nowadays a species of Diplodocus, which would explain its more diplodocid-like appearance).
    • In Fallen Kingdom, the skull that the Indoraptor is impaled on during the final battle is often called a Triceratops skull. According to the script, it's an Agujaceratops. However, Agujaceratops had holes in its frill that the skull in the movie doesn't have, which makes it look more like a Triceratops skull anyway. The producers, on the other hand, have said that it's not meant to be any real kind of ceratopsian at all.
  • 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 Darker and Edgier Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is possibly the least kid-friendly. This is not helped by every film including at least one Kid-Appeal Character and tons of merchandise marketed towards kids.

    The Novel 

  • Adaptation Displacement: Many of the darker implications people detected in Spielberg's whimsical first film, like Hammond's childish idealism, the ethics of corporate bioengineering, and altering the dinosaurs' DNA to be more docile, were already covered (fairly negatively) in the original novel. The 4th film even got praised for recycling one of Dr. Wu's speeches, about dinosaurs as engineered simulacra bred for entertainment, twenty-five years after the novel was published like it was some sort of revelation about the Jurassic Park concept.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The colour-changing raptor. It seems like foreshadowing, but it doesn't lead to anything or get mentioned again.
    • Earlier in the novel, a giant dragonfly (presumably Meganeura) appears very briefly. Its appearance raises a lot of questions, such as how it could possibly have been cloned using the method stated in the book (Meganeura lived a very long time before mosquitoes, or even amber, were a thing), why there's a random Paleozoic animal in an otherwise Mesozoic-themed park, and how it survives in the modern atmospheric composition.
    • In chapter 12, we're told that to raise investment for building the park, Hammond had InGen create a full-grown elephant the size of a cat. While it does foreshadow the cost-cutting and morally questionable methods Hammond uses to get the final product, the idea of the elephant itself is completely inconsequential to the story, never gets mentioned again anywhere in the novel (or the franchise at all), and is just bizarre in a story about genetically reanimating dinosaurs.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Hammond asserts that he would never work in a practical field like medicine because hed be forced to lower the price tag to make them affordable for the average person. This sounds oddly overoptimistic considering many health industries since have made profits forcing up the prices of essential medicines like insulin and vaccines.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Early in the novel Grant says that Procompsognathus is an obscure dinosaur species that the average person would probably have never heard of. The book and the later movies would help boost compies to stock dinosaur status.
    • It's mentioned shortly after the group encounters their first living dinosaurs that no mummified dinosaur remains had ever been discovered. Fast-forward to 2011, when Canadian miners unearthed a Nodosaurus that had been fossilized so perfectly that it was essentially mummified.
  • It Was His Sled: Nedry is The Mole. The novel tries to make this a twist by not revealing the name of the person who met with Dodgson until much later in the book, but the film adaptation which popularized the franchise doesn't even bother (probably because it's a lot easier to hide a character's identity in writing than when acted out in a movie), retroactively spoiling the reveal.
  • The Scrappy: Lex Murphy for being The Load, complaining constantly, and belittling her brother's enthusiasm for the dinosaurs.
  • Squick: 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 somehow escaped Isla Nublar and are going on a reign in terror across Costa Rica. Crichton abandoned this when he wrote The Lost World, having Marty briefly mention them being wiped out, and the filmmakers of the sequel movies contented themselves with the characters going back to the islands.
  • The Un-Twist:
    • In the book, Dodgson meets with his unidentified mole, who says he's going to meet Dodgson later in San José; later, Hammond picks up Nedry, and only Nedry, in San José, 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. And even if they somehow didn't see the film or even hear about it, it made Velociraptors famous enough that most readers would probably understand very easily what's happening when the worker in the prologue mumbles 'lo sa raptor' while it's stated that he was clearly mauled by a large animal.
  • Vindicated by History: At the time the book came out, it was generally assumed that due to the sheer immensity of the DNA helix that a genome of anything would never be sequenced. However, this assumption seems to have been made by people other than computer scientists, who understood that Moore's Law was dramatically increasing the processing power, memory, and storage capacity of computers and that it really isn't that crazy an idea to let a computer run an algorithm for years on end (especially if the partial results and system state are being periodically saved, you could even turn the computer off and have it pick up where it left off when you turn it back on). Crichton questioned this assumption, and within ten years the human genome itself was one of the first mapped.

    The Video Games 

  • No Problem with Licensed Games: Sega always did Jurassic Park justice. JP was impressive on the Master System, Game Gear, Genesis/Mega Drive and especially their arcade coin-ops. (We don't talk about the Sega CD one...)
    • The Genesis/Mega Drive side-scroller had a better sense of horror, backed by excellent pacing music by Sam Powell.
      1. You play as Grant in both versions (although a Raptor is the Villain Protagonist in the Sega version's secondary mode), but Sega Grant looked more like a believable human because he was made up of motion-captured sprites. Blue Sky Software, makers of Vectorman 1 and 2, used puppets given to them by Universal for stop motion animation, which made the dinosaurs look scarily-real. Spared no expense!
      2. All of that being said, Sega JP isn't an easy game to get along with. Both casual and hardcore gamers today find the controls to be stiff, the graphics rough-around-the-edges, and the gameplay somewhat sluggish and poorly-paced. The lethargic enemy AI was "balanced" with some surprisingly tough platforming and demanding gameplay shifts; it was hard to navigate the raft maze without constantly running out of fuel and drowning, or figure out what to do with that brachiosaurus, but that's how old games were: die and die again until you figure it out.
      3. Trivia: At the end of the Grant campaign, you use explosives to knock the T-Rex skeleton onto the Raptors. This was what was originally scripted for the movie, but at the last minute Steven Spielberg decided that audiences would want to see the T-Rex one last time, so he changed the final cut. Also, the rafting and pump house levels were in the book, but not the movie.
    • BlueSky released Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition soon afterward based on the previous game's amazing sales. It fixes almost all of the problems with the first game, is lightning-fast this time, and clearly uses a revamped game engine: Everything from the controls to the screen scrolling is liquid smooth. The Raptor is especially fine-tuned with more moves and is easier to control (gotta double-jump-kick a helicopter to death at one point). Rampage Edition is one of the most technically-impressive games on the console, period.
    • 2003's Operation Genesis was a surprisingly solid Zoo Tycoon-style park-building sim (which let you unleash hordes of carnivores upon your guests, but not without paying for it big-time).
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The SNES Fetch Quest looked amazing in the intro, what with that rotating Mode 7 Isla Nublar, the mouse cursor on the main menu (very faithful to the movie), and its Dolby Surround sound support. But when you got to playing it...The Genesis version is tricky, but most gamers never even got close to beating this one without cheats. (Not that they missed much from the ending.) It's a giant pain in the ass, with a Hyrule-sized island, no extra lives, no save feature and no clues as to where to go, constantly touching the information stations and having your ears blasted by the uncharacteristically-stern, digitized voice of Malcolm shouting at you, "GRANT!" The respawning dinosaurs look nothing like they do in the movie, you never have enough ammo, and Grant can never seem to aim correctly. It does have FPS sections that supposedly use the Doom engine. Those were really neat at the time, but just barely work.
    • Oddly, the Super Nintendo had its own standalone sequel, The Chaos Continues, which is a side-scroller. The Genesis/Mega Drive adaptation of The Lost World is a top-down shooter; an inversion of game styles. Both games were a major letdown, but the latter has a cult following.
    • The Game Boy and NES versions of the game released for the first movie, which were severely cut-down versions of the already-unforgiving SNES game.
    • 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 that has no clear idea of what it wants to be, as well as not using the JP license for anything worthwhile.
    • Telltale Games' 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 an FMV game, lacking the amount of player agency of previous Telltale games or the games by David Cage.
  • Retroactive Recognition: A surprisingly subtle example; the musical composer for the PS1 games The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Warpath: Jurassic Park was Michael Giacchino, over a decade before he would take over as the lead composer for the films.