Saturday, May 22, 2010

1/2 'Jussic Park' by Michael Crichton

I know the one person who reads the blog is going, 'Oh no, not Jurassic Park again.'

For anyone else who happens to stumble on this post, let me say that this isn't an unbiased review. I love Steven Spielberg's film adaptation of Jurassic Park. It's the reason I wanted to become a paleontologist, until I realized they don't make any money. There are very few movies that inspire a generation of children to believe anything is possible, and I haven't seen a movie since the first Jurassic Park that displays the depth and realism of living, breathing dinosaurs.

Yeah, I'm bias, and you know what, Jurassic Park novel? You let me down.

I read reviews of the novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (because I watched the movie seventeen years ago, what are they going to ruin?). And there are avid fans of the book that honestly believe the novel is better than the movie, and I'm okay with it. What makes me cringe is the thought of someone reading the book's four hundred pages, and saying, "Wow, that was a really bad book. I'm glad I didn't spend a few bucks and rent the movie ten years ago."

There was literally a review that said, 'I somehow resisted the Jurassic Park craze whenever it was in theaters, but I finally read the book and I thought it was okay. I'm just glad I got to see what all the hype was about.'

Really, pretentious much?

I want to mention that I only read half of the novel before I was swamped with exams, but I'll probably check it out of the library pretty soon just to finish it. On a lighter note, did you know The Incredible Journey, which was remade into Homeward Bound, was also based on a novel with the same name? I don't know if I need to remind you, but the animals didn't talk in The Incredible Journey so I might read it out of curiosity.

Reviewers mentioned that the Jurassic Park novel goes into more detail and it does, tediously. The underlining suspense of the first one hundred pages relies on the readers inability to presume that John Hammond, the rich billionaire, constructed an island full of dinosaurs, which shouldn't be very suspenseful since the title of the book is Jurassic Park. The characters were more developed since they weren't restricted for a PG audience, but the character's interactions with each other felt wooden. And although they had more dialog and you got to know them better, they were still one dimensional stereotypes. Also, I'm a biology major and they glossed over a lot of the genetics, ibid the novel included more about the science than the movie, but it would have been nice if the mentioned the polymerase chain reaction or used some type of scientific terminologies. Given, I'm not sure if the book was written before PCR.

Like any bias book/movie review, I rented the movie after two hundred pages and I believe the critics underestimate the alterations from the books as improvements. Steven Spielberg is infamously known for overly sentimental movies such as E.T. and War of the Worlds, but it seemed appropriate and almost necessary for him to eject more emotion between the characters from the adults' interactions with the children to the concern of the grandfather's worry over his grandchildren; it felt needed for the viewers to empathize and relate to the characters on a level beyond, 'dude, that would suck to be them.' Also, the film's pacing was more enjoyable than the novel. If you haven't seen the movie, the first ten minutes might not make a whole lot of sense. It's okay, it's a two hour movie; you'll get over it. The novel takes one hundred pages to get on the island, and a lot of it was an unnecessary attempt to climax on the character's arrival. Lastly, the premise of dinosaurs attacking people just works better as a movie. It's such a simple story that requires cinematic flare to make it something amazing, something grand and unconceivable right in front of your eyes, dinosaurs towering over ant-like people and a T-rex roaring overhead. It's something made for movies.

Yeah, it's rare, but the movie's better than the book.

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