The True Heart of the Jurassic Park Franchise Isn't the Dinosaurs

Friday, July 30, 2021

The Jurassic Park series focuses on the science and ethics of making dinosaurs, but its success is owed largely to a certain set of characters.

Now more than ever, the Jurassic Park franchise has shed a massive light on the constant scientific and ethical dilemmas that come with creating creatures that have been extinct for millions of years. The most recent films have also dealt with how people often look at them as property rather than living creatures. However, they are much more than that. In fact, dinosaurs represent the wonder and excitement of seeing something that shouldn't be possible, a reaction best experienced through the children of the series.

Over five films, the children of Jurassic Park have been a bit of a sore spot among fans because they are often at the center of some of the more dangerous parts of the series. This includes Kelly from The Lost World: Jurassic Park stowing away to an island where dinosaurs roam free, or the young girl at the beginning of the film unwittingly feeding a pack of compies. While they don't always have the best ideas in the films, kids can be excused because of their innocence and wonder in seeing these creatures firsthand. For better or worse, there is a level of excitement that is rarely seen in adults and always seen in children.

This excitement is best seen in the first film, when Timmy speaks with Dr. Alan Grant about everything he has learned regarding dinosaurs. Even though Grant doesn't want to hear it, it's hard to ignore and helps prove why John Hammond created the park for dreamers in the first place. That same knowledge and excitement are also shown with Gray in Jurassic World, who doesn't hide his adoration of dinosaurs and makes sure to mention every fun fact about the species he sees.

While that same knowledge and excitement can sometimes get the kids of the films into trouble, it has more often saved them and the other humans. In the first film, Lex, while terrified, is able to use her fascination with the computers that helped bring the park to life to help return power to the entire island. That survivor instinct is also seen with Eric Kirby in Jurassic Park III, who spends eight weeks on Isla Sorna with nothing but his knowledge and will to survive. Similar knowledge from Gray also spurred Claire Dearing to get the T-Rex to fight the Indominus Rex because he said they needed "more teeth."

The wonder of the dinosaurs is often lost on the adults of the franchise. But if there is one character who never lost their wonder, it was Dr. Grant. Even after his ordeal in the first film and his hesitation to return in the third, he never stopped working to understand dinosaurs. His love and, most importantly, respect for these creatures comes full circle with Maisie Lockwood in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Like the other dinosaurs in the film, Maisie is the product of genetic cloning and, more than anyone, understands that the dinosaurs deserve a chance to live. Like Dr. Grant, she knows that while they are out of place in modern society, they are animals that deserve respect and understanding instead of profit. If she didn't take the time to admire them as living miracles, they would have died at the end of the film instead of been set free. In the end, it took a child to see their importance and how they deserve a chance like any other living thing.

The children of the Jurassic Park franchise may not always have the best ideas, but they understand the importance and gravity of the situation and the creatures they are surrounded by. Most of the adults in the franchise only see the profit and scientific opportunity of dinosaurs. But the children see the wonder of creatures that shouldn't be alive looking back at them. That same wonder is what drives them to learn and understand more and make choices that help save the lives of others. Children are the heart of the Jurassic Park franchise and without them, the wonder that makes films special would go extinct.