Jurassic Park Blog

Mass Media and Jurassic Park

Michael Crichton’s The Lost World was printed in 1995, right at the onset of the age of the internet. Through his character Ian Malcolm, Crichton predicts the effect that the internet will have upon humanity.

“This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand birds on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behaviors to adapt. And everybody knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media — it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benneton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity — our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we’re planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it’ll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity.”

— Ian Malcolm The Lost World (1995)

It is twenty years later, and Jurassic World has broken the record for the largest worldwide box office haul; it brought in over 500 million dollars. Crichton’s book has been licensed and branded into a mass media juggernaut, becoming a symbol of the world’s slide toward uniformity.

This was no accident. Jurassic World was created to make money. To do this, the producers filled it with recognizable stars, new attractions and plenty of violence. The mass media consumer continually demands “bigger, faster and stronger,” just as the park attendees do. To satisfy consumer lust, John Hammond creates a new dinosaur who destroys his park. Hollywood has done the same thing.

The first Jurassic Park movie pretty much follows Crichton’s plot, though a few key events are different. For instance, John Hammond lives in the movie, but is eaten by little green dino’s affectionately called compy’s. The differences between the second movie and book The Lost World, are far more dramatic. One striking difference is the amount of people who are in each. Crichton has eleven people total visit Isla Sorna, the island which houses the dinosaurs. The visitors to Isla Sorna in the movie are uncountable. This change happened for one reason: more violence. In the book, only five people are killed. This is a far cry from the movie, which has countless people being eaten by t-rexes and velociraptors. The well developed plot and thought provoking dialogue of the book were sacrificed for violence and awe.

The Jurassic Park series has been dumbed down and turned into a tasteless, fast food movie franchise. Most people will consume it and will continue to. In doing so, we are quickly losing cinema diversity, narrative diversity, and intellectual diversity. As Ian Malcolm said, this will only harm us.

 

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