Book vs Film: Jurassic Park

Book: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton (1990)

Film: Jurassic Park directed by Steven Spielberg (1993)

While sitting by the pool and rattling through several books during my recent summer holiday, I was struck with an idea: instead of following my usual formula for film reviews, I thought it I might mix it up and compare with the original novel (providing I’ve actually read it, of course). One of those poolside reads was Jurassic Park, which I also happened to have watched about a week before starting on the book, so we can start our foray into my new feature Book vs Film here.

Both the novel and film are well-known and well-regarded, but most people are certainly more familiar with the the film. With classic moments such as finding out how the dinosaurs were created (i.e. wondering if it might actually be possible in real life), the t-rex appearing from behind the trees, and the velociraptors in the kitchen, the movie is a family action-adventure with many entertaining and downright suspenseful moments. The animatronics are truly impressive, plus is has a great John Williams soundtrack and a famous cast. It won Oscars in sound and special effects, and deservedly is considered a classic.

Meanwhile, although the book is an international bestseller, it’s probably fair to say a lot less people have read the book than watched the film. Well, I’d suggest they rectify that and get their hands on a copy asap, because I would argue the book is even better than the film. It looks like a long read, but the plot moves at a fast pace and is so compelling that you can race through it. There are so many more layers to the story, for example the secrecy behind the island, the process of creating the dinosaurs, and some additional characters who meet delightfully sticky ends. As with most books and their film adaptations, the book also fills in some gaps that the film has to miss out. The primary difference I noticed was that while the film is definitely family adventure, the book is less so and has a much darker tone, plus is a lot more graphic in it’s descriptions (not for the squeamish).

The book is the winner for me in this battle, although the film is of course a classic. The book brings quite a lot more to the plate, and I think if you read the book after you’ve sen the film you’ll have a lot of “ahhh!” moments as the book provides with quite a lot more detail of exactly what’s going on behind the scenes of the mysterious island.

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