By Published On: 8 April 2013624 words3.2 min read


This weekend I saw Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D. I clearly remember my mother taking my little brother and me to see it twenty years ago. (God, I’m old.) Like many kids, I’d always found dinosaurs fascinating, and Spielberg had captured all the reasons why perfectly.

This film  is meant to be seen on the big screen. It’s big. The T. rex is still awesome, and the velociraptors still made me jump in my seat. But it’s the “veggiesauruses,” as Lex and Tim called them in the movie, that had always been my favorites, even in grammar school. Triceratops. Brachiosaurus. Learning about dinosaurs may have been the first time I ever heard the word “herbivore.”

The genetically engineered dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are created as part of ” a major theme park and a major zoo,” as Samuel L. Jackson’s character puts it. All of them are female so no “unauthorized” breeding will occur. Jeff Goldblum’s character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, speaks logically about the trouble with this kind of thing in a conversation with the park’s creator, John Hammond:

Malcolm: I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it, you wanna sell it. Well…

Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…

Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Hammond: Condors. Condors are on the verge of extinction…


[shaking his head] No…

Hammond: If I was to create a flock of condors on this island, you wouldn’t have anything to say.

Malcolm: No, hold on. 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.

There’s a lot going on in that discussion, isn’t there? I couldn’t help but think about other things that we do without thinking about it. We can industrialize the creation of billions of animals for food each year, but should we? Did we stop to think of the results for the planet, such as deforestation and climate change? Malcolm says that nature “selected” dinosaurs for extinction. Man, in his infinite wisdom (at least in this film, and it’s inspiration, Michael Crichton’s novel), brings them back – and puts them in a theme park for human entertainment. In the meantime, man is responsible for the extinction of a number of species due to his actions on this planet. Makes you wonder when nature is going to select us for extinction, right?

Back to the movie, though. In the middle of a lot of dino-stomping, human-escaping action, a nest of hatched dinosaur eggs is discovered. Turns out that the frog DNA those scientists used to patch up the chains and bring back a 65-million year old species overrode the genetic modification that made them female. As Dr. Malcolm said when he was first informed of the “female only” intent of the Jurassic Park geneticists, “life finds a way.”

There’s a reason this move was a blockbuster in 1993, and there’s a reason fans (new and old) are seeing it again now. But it’s nice to leave the theater with some questions to ponder after two hours of being entertained, isn’t it?