My Jurassic World: Why Jurassic Park is in my DNA

In an interview, Chris Pratt called Jurassic Park his Star Wars. I can totally relate. Except Jurassic Park was not just Star Wars to me in the sense that it was an endemic cultural phenomenon — it also influenced me in tangible ways well into adulthood. I read Jurassic Park (the book) several times before and after seeing the movie, which I also saw nearly a dozen times in the theater, thanks to its summer-long run at my local dollar cinema. The book and movie are forever merged in my subconscious.

The book was an introduction to genetics for me. The pages of genetic code, ATCG over and over again, were fascinatingly obscure (though I recently had a laugh wondering whether those parts are read aloud in the audiobook version). As an identical twin, I was predisposed to an interest in genetics — people were always talking about the science of twinning around me. So, the science in Jurassic Park (and Andromeda Strain, another Michael Crichton favorite) took it to the next level for me. When it came time for me to choose my major in college, molecular biology seemed an obvious choice. (Also: A family friend had an iguana named “Crichtey” — he is now a mathematics professor. I wonder how many other STEM careers Crichton has inspired).

Jurassic Park also influenced me as a writer. My first novel (a trial run, forever shelved) was an amateur hybrid of Crichton and Douglas Adams, featuring a rogue geneticist and a cadre of ghosts. I always admired Crichton’s ability to weave complex storylines and to make science interesting (although I lost some respect for him when he trivialized climate science in State of Fear, Jurassic Park-era Crichton holds a special place in my heart).

Not to mention the fact that Jurassic Park has DINOSAURS! I mean, c’mon — who doesn’t love some dinosaurs? Even Jurassic Park II and III, with their less-than-worthy plot lines, also had DINOSAURS. I can’t not enjoy that. I remember when King Kong came out I said to someone, “I will see any movie with realistic CG dinosaurs in it.” That is still true for me today.

So, I saw Jurassic World on opening day in digital 3D and it was AWESOME. It was everything a sequel to Jurassic Park should have been. I know, I know, it wasn’t PERFECT… The characters had some issues and the dinosaurs didn’t have feathers and whatever else. But it had science and dinosaurs and good acting and awesomeness (and the final fight scene — OMG!). There really isn’t much about it for me to hate on.

I guess you can consider this my review of Jurassic World — it rocked MY Jurassic World.

Five velociraptors (the big, scary, unrealistic kind) out of five.


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