The idea to sit down and write out comparisons between the original two books written by Michael Crichton and the (SUPER COOL AWESOME LIKE WHOA) movie adaptation that came out this summer has been rattling around in my head for a while. I know that the books already have movie versions made back in the Nineties, but let's be real, they weren't that faithful to book canon. I was very surprised, then, at how many minor details from the books were pulled and integrated into Jurassic World. It's supposed to be a reboot of the movie franchise, and there was a lot of homage paid to the original Jurassic Park movie - the gates, the music, the Hammond references, the ruins and artifacts of the original park center, the Dilophosaurus holograph, the emergency flare! - but I'm more interested in the inspiration from the books.
1.) Originally, in the novel Jurassic Park, the zoological theme park that is constructed is built on the island leased from the Costa Rican government. This island is called Isla Nublar. In the sequel, The Lost World, the miraculously still alive (hello, retcon magic) Malcolm & Co. end up going to Isla Sorna. The movie adaptations both take place on Isla Nublar, with Isla Sorna/Site B being introduced in the third movie instead. Honestly, when I saw pterosaurs in the Jurassic World trailer, I thought they had moved to Isla Sorna (2 here and 2 there logic) but nope - they conjured up more land mass to build an even bigger park on Isla Nublar. I'm pretty sure Lex Luthor circa Superman Returns (2006) would be ecstatic that someone got to do that. So #1 - they actually did the park and movie on the right island! Yay!
2.) In Jurassic World, the whole set up of the theme park/animal attractions was very Sea World. It was very in line with the progression of technology and our expectations of what a park with animals as the main attractions would seem like. (We'll side step the obvious comments about Blackfish (2013) that could be made.) It also jived with all the fantastical projections for the future of the park that are mentioned in Jurassic Park. There are the fancy restaurants, the merchandise and souvenirs galore, the rides are all accounted for: boating down the river (within perilously close proximity to some rather larger animals that could CAPSIZE YOUR FREAKING BOAT by the way) and running around the plains under the feet of apatosaurs because, hey, not like they could STEP ON YOU or anything. I did like the update of the gyroscopes replacing the safari vehicles, a nice touch of futuristic tech there, and overall it just reminds me of everything they are in the process of planning or building in the original novel. +1 there.
3.) One of the scenes is a petting zoo and pony ride (dino ride?) set up swarming with children. It's not exactly explained if the dinosaurs used there are species that small - dude, my dinosaur knowledge comes from Discovery Channel documentaries, cut me some slack if I'm wrong here - or if they are babies of the other species in the park or if they have concocted the mini-dinosaurs in the lab. Oh, Henry Wu, you crazy not-so-mad scientist, you. Jurassic Park, there is an entire section devoted to the fear appeal* used by Dodgson to green light his original plan of corporate espionage: Hammond, already in the possession of a miniaturized elephant, could surely shrink down and market pet dinosaurs like a new breed of designer dogs genetically coded to only consume InGen pet dino food, etc., etc. And the horrified board of BioSyn executives dread such a world where they would not be making a penny off such a brilliant (terrible, monopolizing) idea, and agree to the bribe Nedry and so on and so forth - shaving cream in the mud. (Or was that only in the movie?)
4.)The statue of old man Hammond in the Samsung (hello, product placement) building in Jurassic World is glorious. Just glorious. Am I the only one who noticed it?
The big bad of the Jurassic World movie is the test tube dino, the Indominus Rex. Notice the name, as if just the inclusion of the word Rex is to make us view this creation more favorably. Arguably it works, as the T-Rex is such a longstanding icon of the series franchises and I remember there being quite the uproar (hah, pun not intended) over the third movie where Rexy lost her crown to the Spinosaurus.
5.) Another point on Indominus - she's white. Well, camouflage. Something about, uh, fish or something in the DNA cocktail that lends to the chameleon properties. Dr. Wu comments on it being an unintended side effect but WAS IT REALLY? I suspected sequel fodder at the time. The white skin/camouflage traits are reminiscent of the carnivores "seen" in the Lost World, encountered by Levine and Diego in the beginning, and then proven to have been sneaking up on the gang in the convenience store they're shacked up in. In the book, they make the carnivores uncomfortable to the point of running away by crisscrossing flashlights beams over their skin; maybe someone should have tried that with Indominus.
6.) Ultimately, all the books and movies of the Jurassic Park franchise have been about the acquisition of dino DNA. Jurassic Park, novel: Stealing embryos for BioSyn; movie: same. The Lost World, novel: Stealing eggs for BioSyn; movie: Stealing babies for a new park. Jurassic Park III, movie only: Stealing velociraptor eggs. Jurassic World, movie only: stealing Dr. Wu away with a briefcase that MOST LIKELY has genetic material inside. Lesson of the day? Humans love stories about dinosaurs but apparently the only thing we can think of to do with them plot wise is to steal 'em to make more. This is why we can't have new (old) things.
7.) The final action sequence is quite long but one of the standout scenes is the velociraptor chasing the poor human through the lobby of the building and being tricked by the hologram of the Dilophosaurus doing the head shaky thing. I don't know why but that one image of the skin flaps flipping out, shaking, and the hissy-rattle noise is just so memorable from the first movie, it was a great tribute moment in Jurassic World. This one gets a pass for being more awesome in the movie than the book, because the book didn't come with audible sound effects. (One day, one day....)
8.) Last and most favorite inspired steal from the Jurassic Park is the T-Rex meets the Red Flare moment. It's a pretty chilling part to read in the book, which also made me doubt Alan Grant's intelligence for a hot second but that's neither here nor there, and let's face it, it looked really cool when Claire, dressed in all white, opened the big gate with flare in hand, and Rexy walked out of the dark. Crowning moment of awesome before all of the, you know, less awesome stuff that happened.
Conclusion: I am way too invested in the Jurassic Park fandom. And this post literally took me days to finish. Invested and slow, I am. Rawr.
*Fear appeal is a method of persuasion used in marketing meant to scare you into doing something contrary to your first instinct. Best contemporary example I can think of is the series of anti-smoking commercials where former smokers talk about, or show, the health consequences of a life of smoking. It's never pretty.