Jurassic Park is a science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg, produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen, was released on June 11, 1993. The movie is based on the book Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
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Jurassic Park became the highest-grossing film in 1993 and became the 17th movie in history to exceed more than $1 billion in ticket sales. Jurassic Park won more than 20 awards, such as the Oscars in 1994, BAFTA Awards, 20/20 Awards for best visual effects and sound design. Jurassic Park box office performance made a gross income of $357,067,947 with a total of 2,566 theaters that played the movie and for the opening they made $47,026,828 with 2,404 theaters (IMDb, n.d.).
The main characters in Jurassic Park are Dr. Alan Grant who is the paleontologists, John Hammond who is the owner of Jurassic Park and founder of InGen, Dr. Sattler who is a graduate studying under Grant and is a paleobotanist, Dr. Ian Malcom who is a mathematician and specializes in chaos theory, Lex and Tim Murphy who is Hammond’s grandchildren, Dr. Lewis Dodgson who is Hammond’s rival, John Arnold who is Jurassic Park’s chief engineer, Donald Gennaro who is the attorney investigating the safety of the park, Dr. Harding who is the chief veterinarian, Robert Muldoon who is the game warden, Dennis Nedry who is the systems programmer and in charge of the computers, and Dr. Henry Wu who is the biotechnologists and chief geneticist and head of the team who created the dinosaurs.
Through present perspectives of the year 1993, John Hammond, creator of Jurassic Park invites Dr. Malcolm, Dr. Grant, and Dr. Sattler to visit the park in Costa Rica and certify its safety due to a dinosaur handler being killed by a velociraptor to join himself and Donald Gennaro, the parks investors lawyer. Upon arriving the park, they were surprised to see a live dinosaur. John Hammond gives them a tour and shows them how dinosaurs are cloned via a process of a mosquito being stuck in amber and taking the blood from them and using DNA from frogs to fill in the gaps on genome. At this point, the doctors start stressing their concerns. Scientists believed they had the park and cloning of the dinosaurs under control with the idea that all dinosaurs are females.
After lunch, the doctors were given a tour of the park with the company of John Hammonds grandchildren Lex and Tim Murphy. Initially on the tour they didn’t see any dinosaurs but then they ran into a sick triceratops. Dr. Sattler decides to stay behind with Dr. Harding to treat the triceratops. Around the same time Dennis Nedry was preparing to sabotage the park by shutting down the security systems to steal dinosaur embryos for Hammonds corporate rival, Dodgson. When the power goes out, the TREX ends up escaping and attacks the group. Dr. Grant, Lex, and Tim end up escaping, but Donald gets killed by the TREX. Meanwhile Dennis Nedry attempts to deliver the embryos then gets killed by a Dilophosaurus. But later, when Dr. Grant, Lex, and Tim were trying to find their way back they saw dinosaur eggs that has already been hatched and they realized the frog DNA they have been using can change their sex in a single sex environment. Dr. Sattler and Muldoon finds Malcolm and returns to safety and reactivates the security system, Muldoon ends up getting killed in the process. Dr. Grant, Lex, and Tim make it back to the visitor center, but the kids run into the raptors but ends up escaping when the Trex attacks the raptors. Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, Dr. Malcolm, Tim, Lex, and Hammond end up escaping in a helicopter and Hammond ends up shutting down the park.
Depiction of Science
Regarding to the actual scientific depiction of the brand and production of Jurassic Park, the movie includes science fields such as Molecular Biology, Genealogy and Paleontology. Molecular biology and genealogy is presented when showing the process of extracting blood from ancient mosquitoes stuck in amber and getting DNA from frogs to fill in the missing genome. Paleontology is presented in the scene where Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler are at a site brushing off fossils. Science was also shown where they presented an animation video when given a tour of the process and lab informing the audience how the process works.
The way this film was produced provided a very basic perspective of the scientific experimentation of what that they depicted to have occurred. The first initial contact with the friendly dinosaur before going through the park as well as the kid-like animation video with Mr. DNA sets a setting where it is a friendly oriented attraction not showing the real danger of what is yet to come and trying to come off as if what they are doing isn’t wrong. Science was portrayed when they showed the scene of the doctors entering the lab with the scientists doing the extractions and processes displaying videos. The scientist manipulated the DNA by recreating lost sequences of dinosaur DNA and combing it with frogs’ DNA showing crossbreeding. In the movie, Dr. Sattler with the basic knowledge of mother nature, questioned how Hammond and everyone working for the company had any idea how an extinct ecosystem works and how they can control it. She explains how the plants in the building are poisonous, but they picked it because it was pretty, but they are aggressive living things and have no idea what century they’re in and they will defend themselves even violently if necessary (Jurassic Park, 1993).
With molecular biology and genealogy displayed, it brought up many questions if this type of process was even capable of doing such a thing. Paleontologist, Dr. Bell stated, the problem with dinosaur DNA is how old it is, a minimum of 66 million years old. like all organic matter, DNA decays. That’s the biggest impediment to developing real world technologies. For modern genetic techniques to even have a chance at dinosaur DNA, we would need to retrieve and reassemble viable genetic code (McDonald, 2018). Jurassic park has advanced the science and technology of ancient DNA research with the scenes of showing the extraction mechanism.
Before Jurassic Park was released, humans from older civilizations were interested about dinosaurs and were aware of the existence through fossil records. Jurassic Park was inspired from a research done in the 1980s where DNA was extracted from amber insects to extinct species (Jones, 2015). In 1993, researchers extracted and sequenced DNA from a 125-130 million-year-old ancient weevil in Lebanese amber, after it has been done the results weren’t posted until the day after Jurassic Park had been premiered and a day before it was released throughout the states which it was weirdly strange to other scientists and researches that it was timely coordinated (Jones, 2015).
Michael Crichton created a screenplay about a Pterodactyl being cloned from an egg which gave Jurassic Park’s original idea. Crichton’s drafts have been rejected many times by his peers due to them not being able to relate to the character since Crichton wanted the story to be through the eyes of a child at Jurassic Park while dinosaurs escaped (Lightfoot, 2017). With hard work and dedication Crichton created a novel that inspired Jurassic Park to be created with science depiction being shown.
Norms of Science
Within the real world of science, there are also tends to be ethical normality’s. In the beginning of the movie Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, and Dr. Malcolm were skeptical from the very beginning. During lunch Dr. Malcolm talked about the ethics of dinosaurs gone extinct placing value in the scientific practice of cloning dinosaurs displaying scientific value. Dr. Malcolm questions and emphasizes Hammond about what he is doing with the park is wrong, genetic power is the most awesome force the planets ever seen, but you wield it like a kid that’s found his dads gun. Malcolm explained how the scientists were preoccupied whether they can do such experiments without ever questioning themselves if they should even do it. He explained how dinosaurs had their time on earth and mother nature extinct them and it is wrong for them to artificially bring them back into the world. This isn’t some species that was obliterated by deforestation, or the building of a dam. Dinosaurs had their shot and nature selected them for extinction (Jurassic Park, 1993) With this example, it shows the good side of science where Dr. Malcolm cares for the well-being of mother nature. Then you compare Dr. Malcolm to Dr. Wu who is the biotechnologist and is only concerned for monetary reasons and exploits the attraction with careless research and actions which shows the negative side of science.
Jurassic Park promotes both Mertonian norms of science and Mitroff’s counter norms of science. Mertonian norms of science is based on: communalism which scientific discoveries are not owned but shared, universalism which scientific finding are universal, disinterestedness when scientists are selflessly doing science to understand the world, originality, and skepticism when anyone can make claims. An example of Mertonian norms is Jurassic Park is when Dr. Sattler stayed with Dr. Harding to treat the sick Triceratops by being doing a selfless act for her to understand what the problem is and how she might be able to help solve it. Dr. Grant, Dr. Sattler, and Dr. Malcolm demonstrate Mertonian norms when they question Hammond to the fact that he hid all this information of what he was doing until almost being done with the park also caring for the human well beings and nature. During lunch, Dr. Grant questioned Hammond as well asking how they know what they should even expect due to two species, dinosaur and man, being separated for more than 60 million years of evolution and it all the sudden being thrown back into the world together showing skepticism.
Mitroff’s counter norms of science is based on: solitariness, particularism, interestedness, and organized dogmatism which means believing in their own work while doubting other scientists. An example of Mitroff’s counter norms is when Dr. Wu and other scientists believed they had everything under control and were confident of their experiments. Later in Jurassic Park, it shows a scene where Dr. Grant, Lex, and Tim discover dinosaur eggs hatched proving that the scientists didn’t know that the frog they were extracting DNA from can change sex in a single sex environment. Dr. Wu insisted on speeding up the process instead of waiting for the full genomes. Messing and altering with science can lead to the most unpredictable amount of risks. Instead of taking precautions, they were more concerned with making money by exploiting the attraction instead of human’s safety. It makes us question what the scientists doing the experimentations ethical values are. Other example is when Nedry stole the dinosaurs’ embryo to sell it to Hammonds corporate rival and Hammond was abusing the park for money for peoples’ leisure by selling merchandise. They created the park wanting to get customers to come quickly as possible and sacrificed safety, creating it for all the wrong reasons.
Impact on Audiences
Jurassic Park impacted public perception of science and scientists by creating an image for the scientists doing the experiments as the bad side of science and scientists such as Dr. Grant, Malcolm, and Sattler as the good side of science showing concerns that they have. Scientists are stereotyped as clever or diligent, but also as socially incompetent or dangerous, portrayed by Dr. Wu and Nedry. This can lead to an example of depict science careers, discouraging people of young age any interest in science (Losh, 2009). Jurassic Park teaches the audience that science can’t be bet on and expect economic gain out of return. It gives the ability to sense and avoid harmful environmental conditions and is necessary for the survival of all organisms. At the end of the movie you realize that science can be very dangerous when trying to alter it since it the park was made out to be a safe, family-oriented attraction. People could allow attraction to the environment and respond to it, which can create and reduce risks. Researches have yet to discover what people mean when they something is or is not risky and determining what factors led to those perceptions such as when Dr. Wu believed that all the dinosaurs were female (Slovic, 1987).
The movie itself can affect the audience perception and views differently depending on their ages. Jack Horner who was the advisor for the movie said that the movie caused a kid-level-excitement for adults but could be viewed differently for children 10 and under. Children ages between 10 and 13 would be able to handle this type of sci-fi film but children under ages of 10 shouldn’t be allowed due to not knowing the difference and knowledge between fantasy and reality said by Dr. Kaplan, former chair women of the American Psychiatric Associations Committee on family violence and sexual abuse (Weintraub, 1993). Perception of risk observes the decisions people make when being asked to describe and evaluate risky activities and technologies (Slovic, 1987). Taking children under the age of 10 can harmfully impact the children if the parents don’t talk to them afterwards lessening their fears. I remember watching the movie at a young age, I did have some negative thoughts on what scientists can do and that dinosaurs can be brought back into life and everyone would be eaten. It was reported that 74% of the audience was 18-49 years old and 2% was 8 years old or under. Dr. Lieberman, heads the National Coalition on Television Violence stated that it was negligent for marketers to target children and seek money from them such as lunchboxes, pillowcases, sleeping bags, temporary tattoos, etc. It doesn’t make sense to be selling and directing merchandise to children, but the movie was rated PG-13 aiming for children 13 or older to see it.
Throughout the movie, it can influence humans’ thoughts on what might and might not happen in the future. Educated people will think its fake and undereducated people might think they there is possibility of this experiment in the future. A scientist had negative thoughts on the movie and said, it raised expectations about DNA and what ancient DNA could do. Unfortunately, because a great director made it, it’s a film that can stick to peoples’ minds. Another scientist believed Jurassic Park diminishes and creates the idea to the public about DNA research, when I give a talk about ancient DNA, they put up a poster and it has a dinosaur on it. I’ve objected. I’ve said, ‘There is no dinosaur DNA, you should not show the dinosaur,’ it’s a bad influence (Jones, 2015). With science in entertainment media it can cause promotion of science ethics and values and illustrating science in unrealistic ways. Jurassic Park can provoke valid conservations among the public such as leading geneticists to wondering if it was probable to resuscitate extinct species by cloning their DNA (McDonald, 2018).
In the article Sci-fi and Jurassic Park have driven research, scientists say, they stated, Jurassic Park created a new generation of geeky but glamorous scientists. One researcher said, ancient DNA sounds cool or sounds like it should be cool. It brings you back to Jurassic Park and is still a legacy. That’s when it entered the popular consciousness (Jones, 2015). Jurassic Park created an impactful memory to the audience and led to the creation of other Jurassic movies.
Once I was able to watch the movie, along with absorbing information from the responses of society and real-world scientist, I concluded my honest opinion of what is right and wrong. Jurassic Park doesn’t necessarily show the depiction of science itself but instead what can happen if science is used for the wrong reasons, but because them showing this they portrayed it well. I believe Jurassic Park could have showed more of the science itself, emphasizing more on the cloning and extracting process as well as the creation of Jurassic Park. If I could make some changes to the film to enhance the quality of the plot as well as the accuracy science depicted, I would add an armed military base located on the island just in case anything wrong can happen such as the TREX and Velociraptors attacking the people. I also think security and safety should have been stricter. With the scientists knowing the capabilities of certain dinosaurs I thought it was foolish for them to create velociraptors because they’re not easy to manipulate and the whole reason they created the park was because they believed they had everything under control.
Jurassic Park is a classic movie that left a legacy on the audience, that makes people question our motivation for de-extinction. With the release of other Jurassic movies, it centers the debate over science or sensation (Jones, 2015). I believe that Jurassic Park will forever hold an impactful memory to the audience with its visual and sound effects leaving a mark that no one will ever forget.
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