Jurassic Park 2’s Sarah Harding Is The Series Most Underrated Character
The Lost World: Jurassic Park introduced Julianne Moore's Dr. Sarah Harding, who is arguably the franchise's most underrated protagonist.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park's Sarah Harding is one of the most underrated characters in the series. Before Steven Spielberg adapted Jurassic Park into a groundbreaking blockbuster, James Cameron tried to get the book rights. He basically planned to make "Aliens with dinosaurs" and his version would have been a gory, R-rated affair. Tempting as that sounds, Spielberg's adaptation is a classic blockbuster filled with great performances and setpieces and helped pioneer CGI effects. The resulting series is something of a mixed bag.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park again featured some great sequences but felt like a reheat of the first movie, and Spielberg later admitted being bored making it. Jurassic Park III was a hollow, virtually plotless blockbuster held together by Sam Neill's performance and it took fifteen years for the franchise to return. Jurassic World featured a fully functioning park that's ripped apart by the arrival of an intelligent hybrid dinosaur. This sequel was a huge success upon release in 2015, though reviews were mixed. That same could be said of 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which featured the destruction of the original island and another deadly hybrid. The sequel featured an odd structure and story logic but benefitted from atmospheric direction by J. A. Bayona.
The series has featured some great protagonists, from Neill's Dr. Grant to Jeff Goldblum's Ian Malcolm, but one character who deserves a little more love is The Lost World: Jurassic Park's Dr. Sarah Harding. Sarah first appeared in Michael Crichton's The Lost World novel and is played by Julianne Moore (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) is the movie. Harding is a paleontologist in a relationship with Malcolm who signs up to research the dinosaurs roaming free on Isla Sorna, AKA Site B. Harding leaves for the island alone while the rest of the team get ready, the news of which prompts Malcolm to rush the operation to rescue her.
Sarah is found to be more than comfortable living with the dinosaurs in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and is in awe of the animals she finds on Isla Sorna. Harding later helps free captured dinosaurs rounded up by InGen mercenaries and in a well-meaning gesture, she takes a wounded T-rex infant to heal its broken leg - only to famously incur the wrath of its parents. Harding fits the mold of most of the franchise's best heroes, being a normal person thrust into an unbelievable situation and having to use their wits to survive.
Even when terrified herself, she works hard to save others, including rival paleontologist Burke, who panics while hiding from a T.rex and runs right into its jaws. Harding later helps save the day in The Lost World: Jurassic Park's finale, helping trap and tranquilize a T.rex during its San Diego rampage. She and Malcolm are last seen watching a news broadcast about the captured dinosaurs being returned to Isla Sorna, and she hasn't reappeared in the series since. Julianne Moore's Sarah Harding doesn't get the same attention as some of the franchise's other main characters, but she's just as resourceful. When Jurassic World: Dominion arrives, hopefully Harding will have a role to play alongside the rest of the returning cast.