With Jurassic World a little over two weeks away I thought all of us here at The Brainosaur would celebrate one of my all time favorite franchises, the Jurassic Park series. You’re just as big of a fan as I am, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. And don’t try to say “Oh I only liked the original.” Even if you only liked ONE of the movies you still owned the toys, played the games and at least scrambled into the theater to see the sequels before hating them. Do you remember playing that weird Super Nintendo game that switched from overhead view to Doom styled first person when you went into compounds? Of course you do and that means this list is for you. Maybe you don’t know any of these things, maybe you know all of them. Regardless of your knowledge level let’s reminisce about these dinosaur movies and pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster above us all that Jurassic World is at least passable.
1. The Original Book Was Supposed To Be From a Child’s Perspective
-Crichton’s journey to making the novel of Jurassic Park went through many stages. At the beginning it had nothing to do with a theme park, it was just going to be the narrative of a young grad student cloning a dinosaur. If you have read his 2006 novel Next you might get a sense of where he was going. After moving into the wildlife preserve setting, Jurassic Park could’ve been this weird scarring experience for a child if Crichton’s original draft had stood. The initial concept of Jurassic Park was to be from the perspective of a young boy. This version differed from the one that eventually hit book shelves in 1990 by featuring a working park (something we’ll see on June 12th) and a lot less violence. Basically everyone who read it, hated it and Crichton changed it to an adult perspective and threw in lots of chaos theory to create the book we all know and love.
2. Dinosaur’s Attack! Would’ve Been A Movie If Jurassic Park Hadn’t Been Made
-Remember Mars Attacks? Before it was everyone’s favorite weird ass sci-fi/comedy/horror(?) hit(?) of 1996 it could’ve been a dinosaur movie. See, Mars Attacks! was based off a Topps trading card series from the 60s where Martians would inflict horrible violence on earthlings. It was kinda counter culture and basically designed to piss off kids parents as much as possible. Well in the late 80s Topps spun off the idea to a new series called Dinosaurs Attack. The storyline went that scientists brought dinosaurs back from the past and the dinosaurs do the most violent things you can imagine. It’s gross, hilarious and completely historically inaccurate. Herbivores eat a bus of school children, trilobites tear the flesh off a man’s face, it’s pretty twisted. Anyway, so the initial concept for Burton’s 1996 film was going to be a live action Dinosaurs Attack! movie. However once Jurassic Park came out Burton decided he’d rather not make another dinosaur movie and instead make Mars Attacks!, since we couldn’t have two major dinosaur horror movies but 10,000 alien invasion movies seems perfectly fine.
3. Multiple Scenes Were Cut Due To Budget
-Starlog published a Dinosaur Magazine in the early 90s because I guess that was the kind of thing the market supported back then. I joke but I owned a copy and read it religiously so there ya go. Anyway, they had a huge feature on Jurassic Park (because if you had a dinosaur magazine in 1993 and you didn’t cover Jurassic Park you weren’t doing it right) which was surprisingly informative. A key point was that initially the script called for more set pieces from the book but they had to be cut due to budgetary concerns. What were the scenes, you ask? An aviary scene which was eventually reused for Jurassic Park 3, a scene in which Alan, Lex and Tim play with a young stegosaurus and a lagoon scene where they would be chased in the water by the tyrannosaurus.
4. Originally The Lost World Had A Scene Involving Pteranodons
-This is where the list starts to get more depressing, as we hear about more dino goodness that was taken away from us because the filmmakers didn’t want to pony up the dough. A gripe I’ve often heard about The Lost World is that it’s essentially the same carnivorous dinosaurs from the first film with the dilophosaurus swapped out for the compys. There’s no carnotaurus, no marine reptiles and with the exception of one glimpse at the very end of the film, no pteranodons. This, however, could’ve been remedied with one of the deleted scenes that was written but not filmed. The scene, of which storyboards can be viewed on The Lost World DVD, has the human protagonists fleeing the velociraptors in the field by hang gliding off a cliff. All seems fine until a group of pteranadons attack them, killing Ajay. We would essentially get this scene in Jurassic Park 3, albeit with a parachute instead of a glider, but for fans of the flying reptiles it was frustrating that this was the second time the animals had been cut.
5. Jurassic Park 4 Was Originally About Human-Hybrid Dinosaurs On a Black Ops Team
-This was a fun one. In 2007 Ain’t It Cool News released the synopsis of a working draft for Jurassic Park 4 which centered on human-dinosaur hybrids that were being utilized as a black ops team. That actually sounds like a pretty awesome movie just not an awesome Jurassic Park movie. You also have to wonder about the quality of the script when the name of the villain is Baron Von Drax.
6. Indominus Rex’s Name Was Originally Rumored To Be Diabolus Rex
-If you’ve been following Jurassic World during it’s odyssey through developmental hell, you’ve probably heard this one. The fact that there was a dino hybrid in Jurassic World has been one of the worst kept secrets about the film for over a year now. Originally said to have tyrannosaur, velociraptor, cuttlefish and snake DNA in it (which it may still have) the filmmakers have now confirmed that it definitely has giganotosaurus, majungasaurus, rugops and carnotaurus as part of its genetic makeup. The rumors in 2014 were that the creatures name was Diablous Rex or D-Rex for short. I personally like that name better as the horns give it a bit of a devilish feel. Was the name changed because of the leaks? Which do you prefer, Indominus or Diabolus?
7. While Jurassic Park Differs From the Novel, Lost World Resembles It In Name Only
-If you’ve read the novel then you know exactly how different it is from the Jurassic Park film. There’s WAY more talk of chaos theory and it’s undoubtedly a much more existential story than the thrill ride that Spielberg put out in the summer of 1993. That said, the characters and plot are generally the same in both pieces. That’s not the case with The Lost World. Do you remember major characters like Richard Levine or Jack Thorne? How about Arby or George Baselton? Did you know that there’s a HUGE subplot about Biosyn trying to steal embryos again and Lewis Dodgson actually goes to the island himself? The carnotaurs are also the new “special” dinosaurs in this one, like the raptors were in JP. The plot also has nothing to do with documenting the animals to sway public opinion, it’s about studying them before the Costa Rican government napalms them like they did to Isla Nublar. The whole thing is super weird because in the books they HAD to go Isla Sorna because Isla Nublar was destroyed. In the movies there isn’t even a hint of the island being destroyed until 2010 when Jurassic Park: The Game came out. There is absolutely no reason for the second island to even exist in the movies, the plot of The Lost World could’ve happened on Isla Nublar but I guess they wanted to follow at least ONE plot point from the book.
8. The JP3 Junior Novelization Features A Battle Between The Raptors And The Pteranodons
-Oh boy, this probably would’ve helped the movie out a lot. I remember reading the junior novelization in the car on my way to the theater in the summer of 2001. The final climatic scene is a battle between the pack of raptors chasing Grant and company around the island and the pteranodons that have escaped the aviary. My heart sunk as I watched the actual movie which now featured a climatic scene of the raptors getting their eggs back and then running away. To this day I maintain that Jurassic Park 3 would’ve been more accepted by the public if they had an ending that bookended the film a little more completely.
9. There’s Prequel Book About JP3
-Speaking of weird kid books about Jurassic Park, have you heard of the Eric Kirby prequel book?!?! Jurassic Park Adventures: Survivor is a young readers book that focuses on Eric Kirby’s time on Isla Sorna before the major events of Jurassic Park 3. You also get weird trivia about the island and InGen. Like, did you know that there are still sloths on Isla Sorna? Well there are!
10. Steven Spielberg Is Afraid Of His Own Ride
-Steven Spielberg is apparently as brave as Donald Gennaro when it comes to theme park drops. The widely circulated story is that Spielberg loved the Jurassic Park ride but has stopped it before the drop to exit every time he’s ridden it. According to lore he got sick on a coaster once and now refuses to go on any thrill rides.