Jurassic World Is More Book-Accurate Than Jurassic Park In a Key Way
Unlike the original Jurassic Park, Jurassic World follows a similar approach as its source novels.
Though it opened to critical acclaim, made millions and spawned two sequels, Jurassic World is still a point of contention for those who prefer the original Jurassic Park trilogy. From the more saturated, less natural art style to how the science of the movie is handled, detractors of the Jurassic World series find plenty to pick at.
However, Jurassic World is more accurate to the source material than the Jurassic Park movies. The two novels written by Michael Crichton lack the warm tones of the Spielberg films and instead happily focus on human hubris and their failings, detailing just how this leads to the park's ruin. And Jurassic World follows this same plot.
The most important parallel of the book and film is how the animals are treated. In the book, the animals are simply park attractions. Little consideration is given to their living conditions, and most safety protocols are added after the fact, such as with the Dilophosaurus. The expected number of dinosaurs are counted, since there was no expectation for their science to fail, and many of the big-name deaths (such as John Hammond's) occurs when the characters underestimate the animals.
Jurassic World does the same thing, starting with referring to the animals as assets, not living things. The businessmen are only concerned with the bottom line, feeling that an artificial hybrid is needed to bolster the park's flagging profits, despite other zoos getting along fine with more natural approaches. The scientists, in the meantime, only view the animals as tools, manipulating DNA and playing to expectations instead of accuracy.
Character personalities are truer to the books as well. In the original trilogy, only a few characters are entirely motivated by selfish interests, and they pay for it in the end. In the second trilogy, the opposite is true. Owen and his friend Barry are more concerned with the animals' well-being, but they are in the minority. Most others are motivated by greed or self-interest.
Even the animals aren't safe from personality flaws. In both the books and the second trilogy, herbivorous dinosaurs are portrayed in the classical dimwitted sense, with the intelligent carnivorous dinosaurs — such as Velociraptors or the genetically-engineered Indominous Rex — portrayed as malignant malcontents who kill for the fun of it. These are genetically engineered theme park monsters: antagonists the protagonists must overcome if they are to get out of the story alive.
The exact opposite is true in the original trilogy: the dinosaurs' basic behavior can be traced back to simple animal behavior. The T. Rex attacking the cars is less aggressive monster behavior and more a curious predator interacting with a new thing. Most of the dinosaurs do not react in an overly aggressive manner until prompted. Even the Velociraptors, specifically in the first film, behave as intelligent species that were kept in a too-small cage with no enrichment, the same as the I. Rex in Jurassic World.
So where does this discrepancy between the first trilogy and the second trilogy come from? Michael Crichton was alive when the first trilogy was made, so it would make sense that it would adhere more to his books. Why then would the second trilogy be truer to his portrayal?
One clear answer is Steven Spielberg's attachment to the first trilogy. Spielberg's films are famous for having that human element; for having characters with clear arcs that the audience can connect to. Spielberg also wanted the most accurate dinosaurs he could portray on film and was diligent to provide the most accurate depiction of dinosaurs the '90s could provide.
The second trilogy is not as preoccupied with this, instead cashing in on nostalgia and bathing in cynicism, much like the books. The modern trilogy's mindset and worldview greatly resemble that of the books, where mercantilism and self-absorption are the watchwords. Gone is the kindly old man unique to the first trilogy, or the characters that progress along clear arcs. Instead, there are those who die to help hammer in the moral and those designated to live. These are no longer living dinosaurs — just monsters to carry out punishment and drive the story. The second trilogy is a heavy-handed commentary on human hubris carried by the spectacle of dinosaurs, making it more accurate to the books than the first trilogy.