Another week, another book. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much from this one. But I was wrong! “The Lost World” is easily my least favorite of the three original “Jurassic Park” movies.
The novel by Michael Crichton is much better than the film,and lacks the silly “T-Rex travels to San Diego” part. The characters are well developed and likeable; most of them completely different from those in the movie. And, most importantly, the dinosaurs are terrifying.
Let’s just start with the raptors. They are vicious and covered in scars, constantly attacking (and sometimes killing) each other as they fight for food. The intelligent, sophisticated society we glimpsed at the end of “Jurassic Park” is gone, and Crichton builds up to the genius “why” throughout the novel.
I think that’s what I like about these books so much. Crichton has a lot of interesting and thought-provoking ideas on genetics, evolution, extinction and more. But he makes you work to understand them through the faulty “dinosaur island in modern-day time” scenario.
My other favorite thing about Crichton is that he doesn’t discriminate between who can and cannot be a hero.
In both of his novels that I have read, the women are just as tough – if not tougher – than the men. Book version of Sarah Harding is a bad ass who chases raptors on a motorcycle, encourages a young girl to think for herself and saves the day (and everyone on the island) more than once! Her fearless, go-to survival attitude is completely inspiring. Which got me to thinking about why “Jurassic World” wasn’t as good as the originals…
As much as I love Bryce Dallas Howard, her character, Claire, was the embodiment of the boring old-school horror film female protagonist who can’t fend for herself. Sure, she has an awesome career managing a dinosaur amusement park, but she struts through the jungle in heels and depends on Chris Pratt’s Owen to protect her and her nephews.
Did Ellie need Grant’s help in either the film or the novel when she went to turn the power on or distract the raptors? No.
Did Sarah Harding need in either the film or the movie Malcolm’s help when she was on the island, documenting the dinosaurs alone or while she was escaping the falling trailer? No.
This awesome article basically sums up all my feelings on this topic (but sadly leaves out my new hero, Sarah Harding).
Now that I’ve finished reading “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World,” all that’s really left to do is wait for the “Jurassic World” sequel and ponder some of Crichton’s more brilliant thoughts:
“Human beings are so destructive,” Malcolm said, “I sometimes think we’re a kind of plague, that will scrub the earth clean. We destroy things so well that I sometimes think, maybe that’s our function. Maybe every few eons, some animal comes along that kills off the rest of the world, clears the decks, and lets evolution proceed to the next phase.”
“Are you listening to all that?” Thorne said. “I wouldn’t take any of it too seriously…You see all of us together? That’s real. Life is wonderful. It’s a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn’t really anything else.”
Oh, and smile at the fact that I know where they got the chameleon idea for the Indominus Rex in “Jurassic World” from!
Hint: The answer is in the pages of “The Lost World.”