Jurassic Park Needs to Go R Rated or Go Away

By Shanna Mathews-Mendez | Published

For Gen Xers and everyone else who loved the original Jurassic Park films from the 90s, news that a reboot was coming in the Jurassic World films was exciting. Filmmakers could do so much with a fresh cast, modern cinematography, and updated storyline. And, honestly, they did. But with the latest film bringing everyone together and tying up all the loose ends, it’s time to put the Jurassic Park franchise to bed for good. Unless, that is, filmmakers and studio execs are willing to level up and make these movies bigger, badder, and scarier. I’d watch that. 

The Jurassic Park Novels Are Very Different

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Let’s be honest, the Jurassic Park films were a huge hit, and they were good movies! I’m not here to argue they should have been different. What I am here to argue is that if you’re going to go beyond the six films, that are perfectly wonderful, without making us feel like you’re dragging it out for the purposes of corporate profit, you need to take a darker turn. 


Because that’s what the books demand. 

A Warning Against Messing With Nature

For those who don’t realize, Michael Crichton wrote Jurassic Park in 1990 as a science fiction horror novel about the dangers of genetic engineering. It’s a cautionary tale, really, about how humans think we’re so smart and that we can control nature. Silly us. 

Good Humans, Bad Humans

In the books, the theme is the same —- humans messing with nature for purposes of domination goes bad, every time. Still, some humans are worthy of redemption, and we cheer for those who are, hoping they turn out alright in light of the crap show brought on by those with god complexes. 

Deadlier Dinosaurs

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However, in the novels, the feeling is more intense, the pursuit of the humans by the dinosaurs is terrifying, and no one is safe. The opening scenes from Jurassic Park in the novel see an infant being mauled by a team of compys, short for Procompsognathus. For fans of the film, these are the little, one foot tall dinosaurs that attack together and take down a victim in no time. Michael Crichton tells readers these dinos have a venomous bite. 

This scene in the book sets the stage for the rest of the story —- this is not going to be a fun Disney ride. But, of course, the film leaves this scene out entirely —- we don’t kill babies in Hollywood. Instead, we get one guy killed by a mysterious creature inside of a high security metal container. It’s scary, but it’s not off the charts horror. 

Nedry’s Death Was Much More Gruesome

That is kind of the problem with the entire film franchise for fans of the novels. Even the scenes from the books that were included in the films were kept mild and much more family-friendly. When Nedry is attacked by the dilophosaurus, readers get a front row seat to his evisceration on the page, from his perspective. In the film, his death is almost comical.

Still Feeling The Influence Of Spielberg

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Look, the Jurassic Park films were great for what they were. But they could have gone in an entirely different direction. After all, Crichton’s book ended up in a bidding war between James Cameron and Steven Spielberg and Spielberg won. Cameron at that point had made sci-fi horror films like Terminator and Alien. Spielberg was known for his thrilling adventures like Indiana Jones and E.T. He also had a bigger wallet and his team apparently paid Michael Crichton to side with Spielberg’s bid. 

Embrace The Rated-R Darkness

Jurassic World Dominion

The result is a franchise that became a ride at Universal Studios and has kids jumping for joy over dinosaurs. Fine. I can’t complain about these films. I have enjoyed them and so have my kids. 

But if we’re going to move forward with more Jurassic Park, let’s take it back to the original source material. Let’s let the movies grow up as their viewers have grow up. Let’s let (imagine this) Michael Crichton’s work come alive on the screen. 

I know I would be thrilled to see a Terminator/Alien/Stranger Things take on Jurassic Park. And I’m pretty sure my kids would, too. Otherwise, may the corporate gods just leave Jurassic Park alone. The legacy is complete.