Book vs. Film: Jurassic Park

Last month, Universal Studios re-released and converted into 3D the ultimate epic juggernaut movie experience of late Generation Xers such as myself: Jurassic Park. People, if you were twelve years old when this movie came out, then I’m sure like me you saw this thing three or four times in the theater. It was huge, and not even with preteens or early teens (tweens, they're called these days, much to my old fogey’s consternation). I remember the first time I saw Jurassic Park, the entire audience stood up and clapped. In 1993, the visual effects that brought these ancient creatures to life were like nothing we’d seen before. Yeah, T2 was pretty cool, with the melting liquid metal dude, but he didn’t hold a candle to the vision and sound of old T-Rex (<–this is an obscure reference to a Who song; hi, I’m old).

CGI runs rampant in films now, sometimes with great or at least decent results, often times bordering on laughable (I’m looking at you I Am Legend). The dinosaurs of the original Jurassic Park are even more impressive than those of its two sequels, particularly the third film. Watching the movie again, there is no loss of quality. It remains an overall wonderful viewing experience, and I’m glad these young pups will have a chance to see it in theaters, albeit in the now mandated re-release format of 3D (in my day, we didn’t have to wear glasses to go into a movie, we just got lost in it!)

Why am I making all these old jokes? Well, chiefly, I’m trying to convey that Jurassic Park means a lot to me. It holds a very special place in my heart, and reminds me of my youth, just before puberty hit and everything went south. But it isn’t just sentimentality. It is, hands down, one of my all-time favorite movies, right up there alongside Repo Man, The Exorcist, and The Big Lebowski. It’s quotable, entertaining, tense, exciting—everything a good narrative should be. I actually give a crap about the characters.

There are two areas where I think the film greatly outweighs the novel, turning a good story into a great one—character and action.

So when one of my book club members selected Jurassic Park: The Book by Michael Crichton for our monthly read, I was super excited. Many of my contemporaries back in elementary school picked up the novel to supplement their movie experience, but somehow I missed that boat. Here was a chance to go back to that world and relive it all over again, in a new and different way. Sure, I expected the book to differ from the film, and I was already privy to certain changes made from text to screen (spoilers, more or less, which I won’t get into right now). I knew it would be, in many ways, a different story, and I was excited about this too.

Well, I’ve read it, and...I’ll go ahead and give away the ending to this column now: I still like the movie better. This is not to say that I didn’t like the book, because overall, I did. I just feel that Spielberg and company did a better all around job of telling the same, basic story, differences and all. If you’re a vehement supporter of the novel, you have two options: you can hear me out, or you can stop reading  now.

I put my sentimentality aside and read the book objectively, so I don’t think emotions clouded my opinion. The bottom line is this: there are two areas where I think the film greatly outweighs the novel, turning a good story into a great one—character and action. I’ll get into the exact meanings of those below, but for now I’ll simply reiterate: the book handled these elements alright, the film handled them expertly.

One more thing before we get started: there are SPOILERS GALORE from this point on. I won’t forewarn before every instance either, so just know if you haven’t read the book and/or seen the movie and you’re concerned about spoilers, don’t read on.

Okay. Here we go.


Real quick: the film's screenplay is credited to Crichton and David Koepp. Knowing how Hollywood works, I suspect that Crichton wrote the first draft, and Koepp polished it up. I say this not necessarily to suggest Koepp is a better writer, but again, because that’s just how Hollywood works. There could be any number of writers who did polish jobs on the script before they finally began shooting the thing, who didn’t get credit because of Writers Guild rules, not to mention the work Spielberg and the actors put into developing the characters.Them’s the breaks in that industry. For the sake of expedience, when referring to an 'author' of the film, I'll go with auteur theory and just say Spielberg. Cool?

Okay, so when I say character, I’m not talking about minute differences—you know, “In the book, Grant does this, looks like this, says this, but in the movie, he does x,y,z.” These distinctions are unimportant unless it signifies a drastic difference between the kind of man Crichton invented for the page, and the one Spielberg gave us on the screen. No, I’m talking about character as defined by E.M. Forster in his book Aspects of the Novel: flat characters and round characters. The definitions are summarized here courtesy of Wikipedia:

Flat characters are two-dimensional, in that they are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. By contrast, round characters are complex and undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.

Though I won’t go as far as to say Crichton’s original characters are entirely flat, I will say they are a bit deflated. This is because Crichton’s primary concerns were scientific morals and philosophy, not character and story. He utilizes these narrative elements to make a point about science run amok, rather than telling a great story that also, subtly delivers that same message.

Let’s look at some of the main characters and how they differ between the book and the film.


I see Jurassic Park as more of an ensemble piece, where all the primary characters are protagonists, but if you had to choose just one, it would probably be Dr. Alan Grant. In the film, he displays the strongest emotional arc and greatest capacity to learn a lesson about life. The problem with Grant in the book: he’s kind of bland and uninteresting. Described as a "barrel-chested, bearded man of forty" and an outdoorsman who hates intellectuals, book Grant is pretty much an idealized rugged male—a bit like Indiana Jones without all that bookishness and those emotional arcs. He admires kids because they love dinosaurs just as much as he does.

Spielberg's Grant (portrayed by Sam Neill, though interestingly Harrison Ford was approached) is presented as more of a brainy scientist with deep connections to the land, rather than the other way around. Furthermore, he is opposed to having children and in general being around them, but by the end of the film he learns that kids can be a joy, and that looking out for another, more helpless life than his own isn’t so terrible. Grant lacks this progression in the novel, and thus he's not compelling, and not very human. Film Grant’s experiences in the park are harrowing, but we get the sense he comes out of the nightmare a better, more rounded man. I mean, he doesn’t like kids, yet he’s the only one to really step up to the plate and help them, and in doing so he learns something about himself. In the book, he likes kids just as much as the next guy. Sure, he still steps up to the plate, but without a general dislike of children to start out with, he doesn’t strike the reader as any more or less likely to help them out than anyone else.

Compare the two side by side, and I’m sure you’ll see it: film Grant is round and plump, full of human emotion, flaws, and all-around character; book Grant is skeletal slim, a mere shadow of the celluloid man he would become. He's a walking, talking G.I. Joe.


Dr. Ellie Sattler is basically the same in the book as in the film. She's blonde, she's smart, and she's a badass. There are two big differences between them, however: in the book, Sattler is not romantically involved with Grant. She's set to marry some unseen college boy instead. I feel it’s more interesting to present comfortably plutonic characters rather than a couple, so I give props to Crichton in this regard. However, the author describes Sattler as an object of sexual desire, the Barbie to Grant's G.I. Joe:

Grant was amused to see Morris gaping at her. Ellie was wearing cut off jeans and a workshirt tied at her midriff. She was twenty-four and darkly tanned. Her blond (sic) hair was pulled back... "Here you go," Grand said, thrusting a beer into his hand. He gave another to Ellie. She chugged hers, throwing her long neck back. Morris stared.

I'm not suggesting Laura Dern, who plays Sattler in the film, is an unattractive woman. It's just, she seems more like a real person in the film, rather than an action figure. She has more affect on the other characters as well, including a significant one-on-one with John Hammond, the park's creator, helping him realize his vision might not be such a good thing. Sattler does not play this scene out in the novel.

Again, the issue here is a lack of well-roundedness. Sattler in the book is a video game character, not exactly a person, not exactly a non-person either. I understand she's not as prominent a character in the grander scope of the narrative, and thus she logically can't be quite as defined as Grant, but again, the film does a much better job of giving Sattler something to do other than being a sexy badass.


Ian Malcolm lacks that Goldblum charm. Obviously. Characters in novels aren't generally played by actors. But book Malcolm's problems go deeper than this inherent inability. He’s pretty much nothing more than a droning, Ben Stein-like figure who only pops up to moralize about Jurassic Park's evils. Yes, in the movie he occupies more or less the same position, but he comes to life in the latter, whereas I got the feeling Malcolm in the book was a leftover android from Crichton’s Westworld. He's also a massive dick at times. Here's an example of the character's monolithic monologues, of which there are many:

"No. I’ll tell you the problem with engineers and scientists. Scientists have an elaborate line of bullshit about how they are seeking to know the truth about nature. Which is true, but that’s not what drives them. Nobody is driven by abstractions like ‘seeking truth.’ 

“Scientists are actually preoccupied with accomplishment. So they are focused on whether they can do something. They never stop to ask if they should do something. They conveniently define such considerations as pointless. If they don’t do it, someone else will. Discovery, they believe, is inevitable. So they just try to do it first. That’s the game in science. Even pure scientific discovery is an aggressive, penetrative act. It takes big equipment, and it literally changes the world afterward. Particle accelerators scar the land, and leave radioactive byproducts. Astronauts leave trash on the moon. There is always some proof that scientists were there, making their discoveries. Discovery is always a rape of the natural world. Always.”

See what I mean? Didactic, and dick-tastic! He's not wrong, he's just being an a-hole about it. Who could prefer this to The Goldblum, who delivers terse versions of the same diatribes with a sharp wit and a biting smile? That old adage about “less is more.” I think you see my point.

Plus, come on, it’s Jeff Goldblum, the ultimate cool science guy. There’s no contest.


John Hammond is also a massive a-hole in the book. He cares about one thing and one thing only: Jurassic Park. Even when his own grandchildren are lost—and for all he knows, dead—somewhere in the park, he shows what can only be described as perfunctory concern:

Donald Gennaro stared at Hammond, sitting in the deserted cafeteria. The man was spooning ice cream, calmly eating it. "So Muldoon believes the children are somewhere in the park?"

"He thinks so, yes."

"Then I'm sure we'll find them."

"I hope so," Gennaro said. He watched the old man deliberately eating, and felt a chill.

"Oh, I am sure we'll find them. After all, I keep telling everyone, this park is made for kids."

Gennaro said, "Just so you understand that they're missing, sir."

"Missing?" he snapped. "Of course I know they're missing. I'm not senile."

Contrast that with the film: you can see the terror, the fear, and the crumbling belief in his own creation over the course of two days. We all know the last two lines of the film:

GRANT: Mr. Hammond, after careful consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse your park.

HAMMOND: So have I.

Yeah, doesn’t happen in the novel. In fact, Hammond is so megalomaniacal, he’s actually planning to start over with a new Jurassic Park, convinced it will be different and better. He learns nothing from Malcolm’s endless moralizing about chaos theory and the impossibility of a flawless system. His megalomania ends up being his downfall: just after cursing his grandchildren for being playing a part in the park's failure, a gang of his own dinosaurs eat him up, preventing future horrors (though they couldn't prevent Jurassic Park III).

I don’t have a problem with a thoroughly evil heavy woven into a narrative to counterbalance the good guys. These kinds of character juxtapositions make for perfectly serviceable stories. Great stories, however, occur when we see the humanity in the most misguided individuals, and Spielberg's Jurassic Park shows us that with Hammond. Again, Crichton’s original text isn’t bad, per se, it’s just that the story and character arcs presented in the film go above and beyond.

There’s a host of other characters who work better in the film too: Lex, Hammond’s granddaughter, who goes from a whiny nuisance in Crichton’s novel to a mini-heroine in the film (“It’s a UNIX system. I know this.”); Muldoon the game warden, whose unforgettable line, “Clever girl,” is absent from Crichton’s text; Arnold the security man, played by Samuel L. Jackson and a precariously dangling cigarette; and Gennaro the lawyer, who dies on the toilet. Crichton provides us with extended backstories for all these characters, but I feel we get to know them better in the film.

Take Arnold, for instance. Crichton describes him as a chain-smoker, but he never gets close to the clarity of detail Spielberg gives that character and his ever-present cigarette. There's an extreme close-up of Jackson’s lips, muttering to himself, THAT CIGARETTE! bobbing up and down as though it were attached—perhaps a kind of Dorian Gray growth manifested from Arnold’s exorbitant puffing. It’s a character tic, and it’s way more memorable that merely telling us, “Arnold chain smoked,” or, “he butted out his cigarette and immediately lit another one.”

But again, Crichton isn’t overtly concerned with character or story. His primary focus is philosophy, which is evidenced in our next category of discussion:


By this, I don’t mean plot, necessarily. There are several plot elements that are one thing in the book, and a totally different thing in the film. These differences are insignificant, in my view. I’m speaking more about actual action, those taught, gripping-your-seat moments when you’re right there with the characters, experiencing the dread and horror they experience.

If you’ve seen the film, you know those moments. When the T-Rex chases down the jeep, Malcolm calmly and yet with full-on terror says, “Faster. Must go faster.” His words echo exactly what we’re thinking. Sure, it’s funny. But it’s funny because it’s true.

Crichton’s prose is, like his characters, bland. He merely tells us what’s happening without concern as to whether we’re lost inside this narrative or not.

The book, sadly, doesn’t take us on this same journey. Crichton’s prose is, like his characters, bland. He merely tells us what’s happening without concern as to whether we’re lost inside this narrative or not.

Take the first T-Rex attack. The film presents, in my opinion, one of the finest action sequences ever shot. It starts so slow, so quiet...And then...Boom...Boom...BOOM. The water in the cup ripples, the waves growing more turbulent, more frequent. Then...BAM! Severed goat leg on the sunroof and a reptilian eye glaring through the driver’s side window. Your breath stunts. Your heart stops. You grip your seat in anticipation. Goose pimples rise up on the back of your neck.

There’s no score in this scene, only sound effects: the T-Rex stomping and snuffling in the pouring rain. The children’s own stunted breath. Grant rasping, “Turn the light off, Turn the light off,” not knowing if he’s about to watch the kids get ripped apart by this impossible creature. Spielberg knew that music, a score to guide your emotional responses, was not needed here.

This level of investment in a scene is absent when reading the book. Here's Crichton’s description of the events:

Then the huge head came down, entirely blocking the shattered windshield. The tyrannosaur banged again on the front hood of the Land Cruiser. Tim grabbed the seat as the car rocked on its wheels. The tyrannosaur banged down twice more, denting the metal.

Then it moved around the side of the car. The big raised tail blocked his view out of all the side windows. At the back, the animal snorted, a deep rumbling growl that blended with the thunder. It sank its jaws into the spare tire mounted on the back of the Land Cruiser and, in a single head shake, tore it away. The rear of the car lifted into the air for a moment; then it thumped down with a muddy splash.

There’s nothing overtly wrong with this prose. It’s simple, it's clean, and it gives you enough description to produce a clear image of the action. But it’s just so clinical. Crichton merely describes the action in a kind of journalistic approach—the repeated ‘thens’ heading each paragraph like bullet points. Lacking here are the sensory elements, the flashes of horrific, extinct body parts, the smell of the animal, the chilling sounds it makes. Crichton mentions these things, but he doesn't describe them in detail, doesn't make the reader feel them. The scene is one-dimensional. Spielberg's take was 3-D even before the re-release.

Upon reading the novel, I thought, okay, I’ve seen the movie already, and that scene was done impeccably well there. Perhaps I’m only projecting my memory of the film onto my reading experience. But I found myself having the same “meh” response to countless other moments in the novel. Take for example a scene not found in the movie, in which Grant and the kids float down a river in a raft, with a heard but unseen danger ahead of them:

He heard snarling, interspersed by a repeated hooting cry. The cries were coming from beyond a curve, farther downriver. He listened, and heard the hooting again.

“What is it?” Lex said.

“I don’t know,” Grant said. “But there’s more than one of them.” He paddled the boat to the opposite bank, grabbed a branch to stop the raft. The snarling was repeated. Then more hooting.

There was no film correlative to hinder my emotional response to this scene, and yet it was the same as the T-Rex attack described above: “meh.” Again, repetition is Crichton’s downfall here. He tells us the sound is a collection of 'snarling' and 'hooting,' and repeats these two words multiple times, without ever expanding our notion of what exactly this sound is. Beyond telling us that it frightens Grant and the kids, how does it effect them—is it a sickening sound, the kind that makes your stomach churn to hear it; is it the fear making their stomachs gurgle in protest?

Reading this passage, I wasn’t excited. I wasn’t gripping my seat. It wasn’t as though I was totally uninterested—I wanted to see how they got out of that situation—but I just wasn’t all that invested. Sorry, Michael.

There are numerous examples of this lack of intensity throughout the book, both with scenes that did appear in the film and scenes that did not. This is because, once again, Crichton is primarily concerned with philosophical ideas rather than action. He practically beats you over the head with the point of the book, which is that genetically resurrecting extinct animals is bad.

Spielberg comes to the same conclusion, but he does so in a more subtle, plot-based way. In the film, the characters are thrilled by this park—stunned, even—but soon begin to have doubts. When the shit hits the fan and people start dying, only then are their collective minds made up: we thought this park was cool, now we know it’s very, very bad. (Or, to quote The Goldblum in The Lost World: "Ooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming.")

Why is Spielberg's approach better? Because it puts the audience right there with the protagonists. We get swept up with the swelling theme as the brontosaurs drink by the lake. We get mesmerized  by the utter wonder and thrill of this park. Then, just like the characters, we get terrorized. We live vicariously through Grant, Sattler, Malcolm, and the rest as they run for their lives; and in the end, when we’re on the helicopter with our characters, the music is soft, and the children are sleeping, we feel not only catharsis, but we’ve also come to the same moral conclusion: this park is bad.

Spielberg shows us this; Crichton merely tells us, using Malcolm as a mouthpiece. That old adage about “show, don’t tell,” it’s true, and I think Jurassic Park the novel, compared to its film counterpart, proves it perfectly.

I do want to make one thing clear: I don’t hate Crichton's novel. Overall, I did enjoy it, despite being a bit bored in places. Some of the explanations about genetics and the technical side of the park helped me better understand the science of the narrative, an element that you simply cannot spend too much time on with a film.

It’s just, I’m a story man. I think the narrative—not just the movement from A to Z, but how it moves—is the most important thing about any novel, and any lessons we learn should arise from an empathetic journey, rather than didactic discourse. Crichton, sadly, chooses the latter route.

When we read Jurassic Park for my book club, several members preferred the more scientific, idea-based narrative. Perhaps you do too. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t feel the movie should supersede or usurp the book. I just feel that the film told this story far better than the book ever did.

Remember, at the end of the day, this is just my opinion. What’s yours? Jurassic Park: book or film?

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Nathan Scalia's picture
Nathan Scalia from Kansas is reading so many things May 4, 2013 - 10:31am

After having read the book and watched the movie, we're really of the same mind here.

The book was about philosophy and theoreticals, which was interesting to me as a person who thinks about that sort of thing. It gave me some ideas with which I could build my own stories in my head, and provided more daydream fodder than anything. It's not so much a story as a scientific text that uses one long "what if" example to help illustrate the point.

The movie, on the other hand, was far more entertaining.

And really, I don't think Crighton would have disagreed with this review either. The book had a completely different goal than the film. In fact, the film doesn't turn out a whole lot different than what someone might daydream if they had just read the book.

BTW: effect =/= affect. Unless this is one of those more complicated forms of the verb "effect" that is going over my head.

JC Piech's picture
JC Piech from England is reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest May 4, 2013 - 3:03pm

Interesting artice. I haven't read the book, but the film is one of my all time favourites. I didn't see it in 1993, as I was only 7 at the time. But in 1996 they let us watch in school, and it was THE most exciting thing I'd ever seen. It made the girl sitting next to me cry, but I loved it. Spielberg is a fantastic story teller, and his attention to detail with his characters is magical. I don't think I'd like the book from what you've said though. 

Adam Jenkins's picture
Adam Jenkins from Bracknell, England is reading RCX Magazine (Issue 1 coming soon) May 6, 2013 - 3:07am

I read the novel shortly after seeing the first teaser poster for the film (if I remember correctly, a bug encased in amber). I really enjoyed the book, and couldn't wait to see the film. That first teaser trailer was among the best I've ever seen, and the extended one was superb too. Then I saw it, and thought it was ok. It felt like Spielberg had toned down the book to make the film more family friendly. I was disappointed too Hammond escaped his ending. As the man behind this insanity, he surely had to die. That his death from the book was recycled in Jurassic Park wasn't enough for me.

Of course I saw the film as a judgemental 15 year old. Now I can see how well the tension is handled throughout the first act. I still find the kids annoying, but a lot of the choices Spielberg make are perfect. I've not read the book in years, but given the choice between the two, I'd almost certainly go for the film now.

If you are ever tempted to read The Lost World by Crichton, I'd seriously suggest avoiding it. Not a good book at all.

Liz Alexander's picture
Liz Alexander September 12, 2013 - 1:27am

It's been a very, very long time since I've read the book (I read it just before the movie came out, back in 1993), but I pretty much agree with the review here:  It wasn't exactly an easy read, but a good one if you're interested in the science and such behind JP.  

Iorveth's picture
Iorveth September 13, 2014 - 2:40am

I actually just finished reading both books for the first time a couple of days ago. I think I'm younger than everyone else who commented here as I was only three years old when the movie came out but that does mean that I grew up having Jurassic Park being one of my favorite movies from a very early age. I watched it regularly as a kid and we used to play "Jurassic Park" during recess and lunch and everything else kids do with movies they love. I had the toys, the raptor and T. Rex puppets that made their respective sounds, etc. 

I think I've made it clear that I absolutely love the movies (third one, meh, but I still like it). For the last few days I've been wanting to watch them so I probably will sometime this week. 

That being said, I LOVED the books. I have a very active imagination so I completely missed that the style of writing might be considered flat by some. All I need is a bare description and my imagination will start filling in any blanks on its own. Reading this review, I can definitely look back and understand where you are coming from.

I, however, loved that there was more mystery and suspense in the books than in the movies like the doctor treating the mysterious wounds on the raptor victim, the "new species of lizard, Tim catching a glimpse of a raptor in on of the  paddocks when all the raptors are supposed to be locked up tight in their own pen, the escaped dinosaurs in Costa Rica, the carcasses that start washing up on Costa Rican beaches, the raptors stowing away on the boat, the lack of full grown herbivores on Isla Sorna, etc. I loved that the characters would start thinking and be just about to come to a conclusion when they would be interrupted or distracted by someone else or a crisis. I was frustrated but it kept me hooked because, in real life, that's often just what happens. Interruptions. I knew he would explain it later but he would give more clues as to what the characters were discovering. 

I loved the idea of the Carnotaurs with the ability to camouflage themselves so frighteningly well. I was horrified by the idea of the raptors, so intelligent, being able to hop aboard a shop to fulfill their need to migrate. Just imagining the bloodshed they would cause before being discovered on the mainland is terrifying. Even when they WERE discovered, how could humans ever be sure they were all hunted down in such dense jungle?

I found myself wishing that the movies had stayed true to the books. Of course, I am not in the film industry and this WAS over 20 years ago so, for all I know, doing that wasn't possible and maybe wouldn't have translated well to the screen but my imagination played out some truly terrifying scenes while reading the books. At the same time, I can't imagine the first movie being any different and I still get chills when the Rex roars for the first time. Ultimately, I love both the books and the movies and, in my opinion, they almost can't be compared because they have such different feels to them.

Scott Strange's picture
Scott Strange May 5, 2015 - 11:56pm

Actually, I think the characters in the novel aren't flat at all.  I think this stems from being academia and knowing scientists exactly like Grant, Sattler, and Malcolm.  I think Dr. Wu isn't quite realistic though because of his naivity and lack of research and foresight, but I get that Hammond and him are the modern Dr. Frankensteins of the novel.  But rereading the novel now versus then makes me appreciate the characters more than when I first read the book.  Again, this is coming from the perspective of being entrenched in science and academia.  So, I feel it's a little wrong to say they are deflated characters.  I feel Creighton did an amazing job at portraying how actual well respected scientists behave and interact with people... Some do it well and others like Malcolm are pretentious and snotty.  It honestly felt like I could say, "Oh that's this person in this lab," for each character.  I don't think the Hollywood touch was absolutely needed in showing the growth of a character because after all gaining a PhD in and of itself is transformative and they are post grad school so the transformation would've have happened and PTSD would set in from this experience.  But I appreciate seeing the "humanizing" aspect.  I actually will say I like the book better simply because the details in the genetics labs intrigue me even if some of it was wrong.  But the action is far, far better in Spielberg's version.  I do wish there was more of the dinosaurs escaping, but I get that was a plot later the movie didn't necessarily need... And recycling it for the second or third movie isn't enough in my mind because that's a large part of the book.  But this is still one of my all time favorite movies and I do remember the nightmares I got from watching it the first time in the theater when I was little.  I'm super excited for Jurassic World even though it could turn out hokey.

Lmcclanahan's picture
Lmcclanahan September 18, 2015 - 9:12am

Excellent analysis and comparison of the two works. I agree that the book articulates the science and logistics of the story better, while the movie develops the characters, relationships, and suspense more effectively. Both were enjoyable to me in their own unique ways.

challenger's picture
challenger September 5, 2016 - 2:00pm

For those who think the book is a bit bland I recommend listening to the audio book. Few writers can match the intensity created by a gifted and well-heeled movie producer, but IMO the audio book performs very well.

gennarosurvived's picture
gennarosurvived June 1, 2019 - 11:37am

Your article started strong but fell flat on its face in straight up dinosaur shit once you claimed that the characters are better developed in Spielberg's movie. How in the hell can you claim that DONALD GENNARO was better in the film than in the novel? Firstly, let's get something straight. Book Donald Gennaro was a badass. Throughout the book, he is flawed but a very likable character with a wife and daughter who he cares deeply about. He is against the Jurassic Park project almost immediately upon arrival to the island. He faces his fears and, with Muldoon, tracks down an injured Malcolm. Later, he tries to turn on the power, but is attacked by a raptor -- and SURVIVES. He somehow fends off a raptor that had bitten into his arm. After he's saved from the compys by Grant, Grant screams at him for not accepting responsibility for the park. Gennaro owns up to his involvement in the park's development and (even if Muldoon forced him) went with Grant and Ellie to find the raptor's nest. He faces his fears and grows as a character, arguably more than any other character in the novel. And the best part? HE SURVIVES THE EVENTS ON THE ISLAND. He doesn't get eaten on the goddamned toilet. He doesn't run away from the kids in the car -- as a matter of fact, Gennaro wasn't even supposed to be there. In the book that was Ed Regis, the PR guy fro Jurassic Park. Ed Regis is the coward, Regis runs away and abandons the children and gets eaten by a (juvenile) Rex. NOT Gennaro. 

What sucks the most is that idiots who don't read the book will forever know Gennaro as a sleazy "blood-sucking" lawyer who gets eaten on the shitter. It's f*cking bullshit. Spielberg f*cking bastardized Gennaro and for that, I really don't care how much I liked the movie. The book is better in every way, but most especially better in characterization. You have some nerve to nip at Crichton's writing. Character development is rampant in the novel.

I have similar complaints about the handling of Muldoon, but at least it can be implied that Muldoon survived his attack and was used more appropriately than Gennaro (Muldoon also survived the events on the island). 

Any way, f*ck your article.