With the announcement of Antonio Bayona being chosen to direct the much-anticipated sequel to Jurassic World, it is worth wondering how this franchise got started in the first place. Starting from the page to screen to sequels, here is a guide to the cinematic history of Jurassic Park.
In 1990 Michael Crichton published the novel Jurassic Park. Crichton’s work was previously the basis for the films Westworld and FutureWorld, both of which dealt with the idea of a theme park gone wrong. Crichton was a prolific author of Science Fiction and frequently wrote abut scientific developments and their impact on mankind. He also dabbled in Hollywood in the 1970’s resulting in the aforementioned films. Later on, he began to only focus on writing.
Jurassic Park was optioned as a film and Steven Spielberg was chosen to direct by Universal. Spielberg met with Crichton while discussing what would become a hit TV series ER. To create the dinosaurs a crack team used practical models and CGI. The film was the biggest hit of 1993 and launched a special effects revolution.
Due to the massive success of the first movie, Universal Studios pushed for a sequel despite the fact that Crichton wrote a stand alone novel. Eventually, he wrote a sequel called the Lost World so Spielberg could make a film sequel. In that book, Crichton changed his continuity by having a second island with dinosaurs and having Ian Malcolm live to go in line with the new film.
The original novel ends with a bombing of the island killing, all of the dinosaurs. This was changed for the movie for the possibility of sequels, but the idea of a human force deployed against dinosaurs was used for the Lost World film in 1997. The movie was a success at the box office but was critically disappointing. Critics highlighted the end sequence in San Diego in particular. This entire sequence was inserted because Spielberg wanted an homage to a different monster film, King Kong.
A third film in the franchise, without Spielberg directing, called Jurassic Park III was released in 2001. The movie was also a box office success, but not as much as the previous films. Critically, it was also panned but still made a profit. This movie took place on the island from The Lost World and did not use any of Crichton’s works for inspiration.
Many years later Universal announced a fourth movie with Spielberg as its executive producer. Colin Trevorrow was chosen to direct, a man who had made an Indie film called Safety Not Guaranteed. He consulted with Spielberg. In 2014, it was announced that the sequel would be called Jurassic World and would feature a fully functional Jurassic Park. To make the park a reality, the filmmakers researched theme parks and animal attractions all over the world, to develop what a comparative would be. This meant including corporate sponsors, special children’s sections of many parks, and special interactive rides that would transport guests.
For the new film a lot of unused Crichton novel ideas were used in the plot of the movie. For example:
- Dr. Wu states in Jurassic World that “Nothing in Jurassic World is real.” This is directly taken form Crichton’s book which goes out of its way to say the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park are not actually dinosaurs but genetically altered creatures passed off as dinosaurs. The main thrust of Jurassic World is a newly created dinosaur called I-Rex which is in keeping with the theme.
- Also in Jurassic World the dinosaurs attack park-goers and staff officials which also occurs in the novel. Comparatively, many more civilians die in the books than in the films, but the latest movie does raise the death count.
- In the first novel, the reason for failure of the park is attributed to design and not sabotage and a storm, like the first film. For Jurassic World, the failure is directly placed on the creatures themselves as well as human design.
However, one plot point, not used in any film, was the bombardment of the island by the Air Force which kills all life in the Park. Perhaps this will be seen in the Sequel to Jurassic World along with other surprises Bayona has in store.