The Jurassic Park franchise is a strange one. At this point, there have been five movies, with a sixth on the way, but only one of them has been widely considered any good. Yet all of these films have been massively successful. So much so that people often forget the book that started it all.
Luckily, I’m a huge fucking nerd, so I never forgot. But it took me a while to actually get around to it. But now I’ve read it, and I can safely say that it was worth it. Well… mostly.
As is the case with a majority of book-to-film adaptations, the story in the book is very different from what we got in the film. But the foundation is still the same. Dinosaur enthusiast John Hammond funds the resurrection of the dinosaurs to create the world’s greatest theme park: Jurassic Park. When he invites our main characters (Alan Grant, Tim and Alexis Murphy, Ian Malcom, and a few others) to the island, things rapidly start going wrong and the dinosaurs start breeding and get loose! Now the scattered survivors must find a way to survive the park long enough to put it back together. But with a velociraptor-infested boat headed to the mainland, can they do it in time?
The list of differences between the book and the film are too long to describe. Many characters that lived in the movie die in this book and vice versa. Not only that, but the beginning and ending of the story are all vastly different. I hesitate to say that one is any better than the other; in my opinion, both are great for their own reasons.
But there is one major issue that bothered me when I read this book: the dialogue. Now, the dialogue itself isn’t that bad (although Malcom does leap into one too many monologues for my taste). Unfortunately, they come across as a bit dull at times. All because of one word.
Here’s what a basic conversation in Jurassic Park looks like.
“*Character line*” Grant said.
“*Response*” Ellie said.
“*Another character chirps in*” Tim said.
“*Response*” Grant said.
So on and so forth. Every single conversation in this book reads like this. And it just gets so tiring… This shit reads like a screenplay! A decent screenplay, mind you! But when I read a book, I want to read a book, not a script!
Still, when it is being a book, it’s a damn good one! It paints an incredibly clear picture of the settings and action, making it super easy to get sucked into it! It also does a great job of peeking into the minds of the characters, making it easy to understand them. It’s a solid story that’s very enjoyable to read from start to end!
So, if you can handle dialogue scenes like that, then I’d highly recommend reading Jurassic Park. It’s a great piece of fiction, one of the few good pieces of this franchise. If you consider yourself a fan of the film (I hesitate to say films), then you should definitely check this one out.
And now I need to watch the movie. Again. Dammit.
2 responses to “Jurassic Park: A Book or a Movie Script?”
I remembering being young enough when the first JP movie came out to be outraged that the movie wasn’t exactly the same as the book – it took me a while to understand that’s what happens.
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I had a similar experience with the book. The differences were so stark that I found it jarring. I still enjoyed both versions, though.