Jurassic Park, the novel by Michael Crichton had many rich, and interestingcharacters. Crichton seemed to be able to make them come alive and jump out ofthe pages into three-dimensional people. One such character was John Hammond.
This man had dreams of greatness. He had monstrous plans and the money to backthose plans up. He had always been a child at heart and he was in love withdinosaurs, much like I am and this is one of the reasons that he was one of myfavorite characters.
His company, The Hammond Foundation financed many differentdigs for paleontologists. When The Hammond Foundation finds amber with amosquito locked in it, John Hammond realizes that perhaps his dreams of having adinosaur park are possible. This is because the mosquito locked inside the ambercontains the blood of a real dinosaur, complete with DNA. The finding of theamber is not shown in the movie. Instead all we see in the movie is the originalamber his foundation found, attached to the top of his cane.
The movie startswith John Hammond inviting Alan Grant and his understudy Ellie Satler to thepark. John Hammond has to hire people to do all of the technical stuff, but itis he who envisions the park as a whole. He sees the public paying thousands ofdollars to come and see his dinosaurs. He can see the astounded look on peoplesfaces when they see creatures that have been extinct for millions of years. Hecan see the happy faces of the children as well as the money he will be makingfrom the operation. John Hammond’s fault is that he refuses to believe thatanything could go wrong. He has hired the best experts he could find, and heplaces all of his faith in them. When things do start to go completely awry,Hammond sees them only as minor problems; chinks in the system. John Hammond istoo caught up with the glamour of the idea of Jurassic Park rather than with theminute details. In fact he refuses to even see the minute details, preferring toleave them to somebody else. He is content with his delusions of grandeur. Ifelt only mild remorse when he died at the end. It is hard to care aboutsomebody who only cares for himself. Alan Grant was one of the more importantcharacters of the story. He was a paleontologist who was initially hired by TheHammond Foundation to do a written report on the foods that a baby dinosaurmight eat. Grant had no idea why he was being asked to do this, but he agreed tobecause Hammond was offering an astronomical amount of money for the job. Astime went on, John Hammond invited Grant out to see the small Costa Rican islandthat was named Jurassic Park. By this point, the park was almost finished.
Hammond wanted to get the opinion of a real paleontologist. Grant was literallyblown away. He could not believe that there were real live specimens of theskeletons that he had been studying all of his life. Alan Grant was the personwho made the crucial discovery that the dinosaurs were reproducing on their own.
Grant found an egg shell that he immediately recognized as belonging to avelociraptor. At first this event seemed to be impossible because the animalswere all hatched in a laboratory, and they were all supposed to be female.
However, Grant realized that the dinosaur DNA that Henry Wu had been workingwith had not been all that complete. The missing parts had been filled in withfrog DNA. Unfortunately Wu failed to realize that frogs sometimes have theability to switch between being a male and a female. Because of this reason, thedinosaurs were able to reproduce. Grant was also an integral character becausehe was able to survive in the wilds of Jurassic Park and make his way to someform of safety. When all of the power went out, Alan managed to outsmart theincredibly ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex. Grant was also one of the few braveenough to go down into a velociraptor nest and count to find out how manyunknown babies there had been. Grant is also special in that he was one of thefew people to make it off that small Costa Rican island alive. Ellie Satler wasa graduate student under Alan Grant. Her specialty is paleobotany. She travelsto Jurassic Park along with Grant. She is extremely bright, and she knowsvolumes about prehistoric plants. She was the one who recognized that theauthentic ferns that were planted throughout the park were extremely toxic tohuman beings. She also was the one who realized what was causing thestegosauruses so many problems. The problem was that the stones that thestegosauruses swallowed for gizzard stones were surrounded by berries. Theanimals swallowed these berries and these berries were very toxic to theanimals. Another thing that Ellie did was comfort people. She made the kids feelbetter when they were really upset. She was the person who stayed and took careof Malcolm when the mathematician was really sick. The woman was also veryself-sacrificing. She was willing to put herself out as bait to distract theraptors away from Malcolm. The mathematician named Ian Malcolm was also a veryimportant part of this story. He was invited to preview Jurassic Park along withGrant and Ellie. Malcolm is a very interesting character because he predictedthe downfall of Jurassic Park right from the very start. Malcolm is a strongbeliever in something called the chaos theory. Basically this theory states thatin some systems there are minute unpredictabilities that get magnified and causethe system to take a completely different course of action. Malcolm claims thatJurassic Park cannot work because, although it seems to be a simple system, thatthis simplicity will not last forever. He claims that small unpredictabilitiesin Jurassic Park will soon magnify, and the entire park will never succeed. IanMalcolm turns out to be right. This raises an interesting question. If he knewthat the park was doomed to fail, then why did he go and put his life on theline? Perhaps Malcolm was not accepted from the desire of every human to see areal live dinosaur. Dr. Henry Wu was the man who was able to create thedinosaurs in the laboratory. This man was the person smart enough to make thedinosaurs. He took genetic information from amber and crushed up fossils andwith a lot of experimentation was able to get a DNA strand and clone it tocreate a dinosaur. Dr. Wu is truly a brilliant man. He was smart enough tocreate safeguards to keep the dinosaurs from escaping. However, he gets socaught up in the excitement of it all, that he makes a few fatal mistakes.
Because of his ignorance, the dinosaurs were able to reproduce. Dennis Nedry wasalso of importance to this story. This is that man who was hired to do all ofthe computer programming for Jurassic Park. He turns out to be a traitor,however. He shuts down all the power, including the electric fences. He thensteals some of the dinosaur embryos to sell to another lab. However, Nedry wasquite stupid. He gets killed because the dinosaurs are out of their fences and adilphosarus kills him. Nedry was a rotten character and I had felt little to noremorse when he died. As I mentioned previously, the initial plan seemed veryamazing. The Hammond Foundation would buy a Costa Rican island, hire the toppeople in their fields, and build an amusement park with dinosaurs instead ofrides. The idea was to create a slice of history that people had never been ableto be exposed to before. They had to use some frog DNA to supplement the bloodfound in the amber, but that was okay. After all, the frog DNA was so similar tothe dinosaur DNA, that it really did not matter. Early indications thateverything might not be perfect could be seen when babies and small childrenstarted being killed by small reptile-like animals that nobody had ever heard ofbefore. Soon one of these animals was identified by Grant as a dinosaur. Justthe fact hat dinosaurs had escaped from the park was a major indication thatsomething was awry. Also, a few workers were getting mauled to death. This wouldlead one to believe that perhaps things were not as under control as Hammond andWu thought they were. The actual genetics of the project was very interesting.
In order to get the DNA to create the dinosaurs, Wu went to two sources. Firsthe tried using ground up fossils. By this only had a 20 percent yield for theDNA that Wu needed. Wu had much better luck using mosquitoes and other bitingbugs that had been fossilized in amber. Often these insects contained the bloodof a dinosaur. With this blood, Wu had almost all of the genetic informationthat he needed in order to create a new dinosaur. In order to finish the job, Wustuck frog and other amphibian DNA in many places where the strand wasincomplete. Then Wu used some of the most powerful computers known to man toidentify which genetic code he had. From that point, by replicating themolecule, Wu was able to create a dinosaur.
I had originally chosen to read this novel because of the fact that I havealways enjoyed dinosaurs and they have always been one of my passions. I wastold by one of my fathers friends around 1990, when I was so fascinated aboutdinosaurs and around the time of its first release, that this book was a verygood read. I was only six then and I was more interested in books with picturesrather than a book with 400 pages of writing, so I never did read it until now.
I am also in a Travel and Tourism course and we were currently working onamusement parks at the time. I had seen the movie adaptation of this book backin 1994, and its sequel which was released a few years afterwards, but one of myfriends had told me that the novel was much more satisfying. I would have toagree with my friend. Personally, I thought this was a great book. When I sawthe movie, it was a blast. I loved the movie, but when I read the book for thefirst time I was blown away. The story in the novel is somewhat different fromthat of the movie, including the outcome of most of the characters. Differentpeople die and survive in the novel that didn’t in the movie. One example isthat there were no stegosauruses in the movie adaptation. These didn’t appearuntil the sequel. In place of the stegosaurus was a triceratops, which was agood choice for the triceratops was Alan Grants favorite of all dinosaurs. Ifthey had kept the exact same story for the movie, I believe it would have beenmuch better. But I don’t really have much authority in saying so. It is reallyhard for a director to keep a movie the same as the book for its much easierwriting descriptions than displaying them on the screen. Michael Crichton, theauthor of the novel, did help produce it and Steven Spielberg directed themovie, so maybe they had changed it for the better. For one thing, I docongratulate them on is the cast. The actors in the movie suit the characters inthe novel perfectly. Also having seen the movie, it made the novel a more fluentread than most books I have read because there was no need to learn all thecharacters. I did really enjoy this novel and would recommend both reading thenovel and watching the movie. They are both great creations and I am going toread more novels by Michael Crichton and continue to watch Steven Spielbergfilms.
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