Is the Jurassic Park Movie or Book Better?

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Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) is heading for theaters on June 10, and there's no better time to revisit the entire film series so far. But don't forget that there are also two novels upon which Jurassic Park (1993) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) are based. But is the Jurassic Park movie or book better?

Related: Is the Jurassic Park Book Different Than the Movie?


When Jurassic Park was released in theaters in 1993, even the filmmakers themselves probably didn't know what to expect. The film was met with critical praise and was a box office juggernaut, and became an instant classic.

The special effects, both practical and digital, courtesy of Industrial Light and Magic, changed the course of cinema forever by bringing prehistoric animals to life on the big screen in ways never before seen.

Jurassic Park is also a true Steven Spielberg movie - a perfect balance of fantasy and horror with some unusual family dynamics thrown in for good measure. The film has since been dubbed as a "dark Disney movie".

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As you'll already know, the 1993 classic revolves around a team of scientists who are invited to give their approval at a yet to be opened remote Costa Rican theme park resort where InGen has genetically engineered dinosaurs.

But things go horribly wrong when a disgruntled employee shuts down the electrified fences all over the island in an attempt to steal 15 dinosaur embryos from cold storage for a competing bioengineering company.


Jurassic Park's cast which includes Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm), Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler), Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant), Richard Attenborough (John Hammond), Ariana Richards (Lex Murphy), and Joe Mazzello (Tim Murphy).

Related: Why is The Lost World Movie So Different From the Book?

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But putting everything else aside - the effects, the reception, the cast, and so on - is Jurassic Park really that good? Well, in short, it's a masterpiece, a thrill ride from start to finish which, like Jaws (1975), relies largely on suspense.

While none of the four sequels (fifth pending in the form of Jurassic World: Dominion), have quite measured up to the quality of the first, it's plain to see that Jurassic Park remains one of the most beloved film franchises of all time.

With all that said, it's important not to forget where Jurassic Park started, and while it's hard to believe, it wasn't in the imagination of Steven Spielberg (although let it be said that the film would not be what it is without it).


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Jurassic Park is based on the book of the same name by the late author Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park (1990) went on to become a critically acclaimed best-seller in 1990, and one of the most talked about novels of its time.

If you've not read the book - and the chances are that you haven't, because you're here to find out which is better - then it's worth knowing first of all that the overarching premise is the same as the movie.

What varies is everything else - the characters (to a degree), plot specifics, sequences, the dinosaur population, and a huge number of other things, some of them minor, some of them major.

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In fact, if the book had been adapted to film page by page, or even somewhere close enough, it would have been nothing like the 1993 film we got, and would have likely warranted a solid R rating for its level of violence.

But is the Jurassic Park movie or book better? Well, it's always a tough thing to measure. Ask any Harry Potter fan whether they prefer the movies or the books and the answer is almost always the books.

But why is that? Are the books better in quality, and therefore more entertaining, or does it come down to a kind of loyalty? After all, without the books, the movies wouldn't exist.

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In the case of Jurassic Park, it's a more challenging question. Despite what many fans will say, the Harry Potter movies don't deviate that much from the source material, not really.

Jurassic Park, however, is a very different animal to its inky counterpart, and the one thing that truly separates the two is tone. The movie is very much a science fiction fantasy thriller, whereas the book is a science fiction horror.


But if we break it down to which is the most enjoyable, the most entertaining, the most thrilling, and the most memorable, then Spielberg's classic is a no-brainer. With that said, the book is a masterpiece by its own rights.

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However, as is the case with many novels, Jurassic Park isn't as neatly packaged or as compact as your average movie adaptation. This isn't a criticism, though - it's a fact, as books have the freedom to breathe and to indulge a lot more.

But if by some miracle you happen to someone who has yet to see Jurassic Park and read the 1990 novel upon which it's based, and you had to pick just one of the two to experience, for us, it will always be that 1993 classic.

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Michael Crichton produced other similar works, such as The Andromeda Strain (1969), Congo (1980), Prey (2002), Dragon Teeth (2017), and, of course, the Jurassic Park successor, The Lost World (1995).

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Jurassic World: Dominion releases in theaters on June 10.