Friday, July 25, 2014

Versus - Jurassic Park

In this corner we have the book, penned by author Michael Crichton (who also wrote the sci-fi thriller novel The Andromeda Strain) way back in the long ago year of 1990.

And in this corner we have the summer blockbuster of a sunshiny kiddified dinosauriffic movie by Steve-O Speilberg Rex, released in 1993.

I'm not even going to lie, despite my flippant tone. I love and enjoyed the hell out of all three Jurassic Park movies. I saw all of them more than once and no less than twice at the very least on the big screen. No way in hell would I ever deny myself the opportunity to watch bigass lizards crushing stuff on the super sized celluloid.

But I had also read the book when it was new, before anyone had even thought about turning it into a film, let alone one of the highest grossing films of all time. And I can honestly say that the book Jurassic Park and the film Jurassic Park are two very different tales.

Things I Preferred About the Book:

Badass Game Warden and Expert Velociraptor Ass-Kicker Muldoon does not die in the book. In fact, he lives to the end and escapes with Alan, Ellie and the kids. Also in fact, he kills a velociraptor with a goddamned bazooka, blowing that mutherfucker apart "like a burst tomato." It never made sense to me that someone who had spent so much time observing their habits would fall prey - literally - to an age-old ambush tactic. Sloppy script writing.

John Hammon does die. And you don't mind because he's not the kindly old eccentric lovable "spared no expense" jolly grandpa in the book that he was in the film. In the book, he's a miserable old control freak who stubbornly insists upon building his precious petting zoo no matter the consequences. In the middle of the crisis, he goes for a walk, falls down a hill, breaks his stupid ankle and gets eaten alive by compys. Good riddance, jerk face.

Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler were not a couple in the book. Ellie was a level headed, non-giggly 24 year old grad student engaged to a doctor. Alan was considerably older and not at all the lecherous sort, nor very cantankerous. He was also very fond of children and never gave Tim the cold shoulder.

The book doesn't really have a happy ending. Yes indeedy,  the kids, Alan, Ellie and Muldoon live and make it back to the mainland, but several species of dinosaurs have as well and the government have made it clear that no one is going anywhere for quite some time. Can you say "cover up" kids? I knew you could.

Things I Preferred About the Movie:

Although the book version of Muldoon kicked much ass and lived to the end, he was also a shameless drunkard. Not a very admirable quality. I much preferred Bob Peck's interpretation of his character as a hardcore, no-nonsense, take-no-shit, level headed but not totally humorless Muldoon.

By the way, Sir Ian McKellan has cited the late Mr. Peck as his greatest influence. Just thought I'd mention it.

It's weird, in an awesome sort of way, to see Samuel L. muthafuckin' Jackson in a movie and not hear him say the word "muthafuckin'" even once. Although in my head, the whole time he's explaining the Lysine contingency, I'm inserting the mf word for him:

The muthafuckin' lysine contingency is intended to prevent the muthafuckin' spread of the muthafuckin' animals in case they ever get off the muthafuckin' island. Dr. Wu inserted a muthafuckin' gene that makes a single muthafuckin' faulty enzyme in muthafuckin' protein metabolism. The animals can't manufacture the muthafuckin' amino acid lysine. Unless they're continually muthafuckin' supplied with lysine by us muthafuckas, they'll slip into a muthafuckin' coma and die.

Also, pretty nifty of Mr. Speilberg to give a Godzilla twist to this tale and allow the T-Rex to steal the show at the end and emerge as the hero, busting in and eating up those bad little Velociraptors who are about to rip apart our human protagonists.

And even though I love the movie(s), will undoubtedly repurchase the trilogy box set if ever again I have spending money and will no doubt catch Jurassic World in theaters next year, I have to admit that Speilberg does tend to overdo it with the sugar. The cloying sweetness of the Triceratops bonding scene, the extra cupful of syrupy whimsy, the thick spread of buttery wonder he pours over it's just all much too much. I couldn't possibly feel any more sickly sweet violated if Stevie were to hold me face down in a barrel of blackstrap molasses whilst simultaneously forcing a buttercream enema up my ass.

Christ, I think I got diabetes just from writing that,

So yeah, anyway -  I admit it's a bit of an unfair comparison, pitting film against print.
But ultimately I have to go with the book.
Do yourself a favor and read it.


  1. More compelling evidence for the notion that we MUST be related!

    (though Lost World, the book, was IMO the proverbial "big pile of shit")

    -- C.

    1. I know I read that one, but I really don't remember it. Must not have made an impression either way!

  2. Thanks for the post, Annie. I have to confess I've never read the book(s), but I am going to now that you put the thought in my head!

    BTW, found your blog through my buddy Erik at Bibliodiscoteque.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...