We all know Jurassic Park is a great movie, but did you know it’s also a manual on how to live? I spent a good portion of my youth watching a VHS copy of Jurassic Park on repeat, and with each viewing I noticed something I hadn’t before. Among these were valuable lessons well worth knowing if you expect to be an individual of any respectable standing. While many of our readers may already be well-versed in the navigation of life, I suspect there are still a few of you out there who could learn a little something at the School of Isle Nublar. Hold onto your butts!
1. Do not harass people who are older and more intelligent than you or you will get threatened with a raptor claw.
This kid. Nobody wants to be him. He wouldn’t have survived 5 minutes in Jurassic Park because not only does he seem to lack the constitution but he also speaks without having a clue as to what he’s talking about (raptors are terrifying, even in fossil form). If you think you’re a know it all, you’re going to find yourself proven wrong in only a matter of time. Never be so sure of yourself that you’re only setting yourself up for failure and never think that your opinion is valid simply because you can say it loudly.
2. If you’re a nerd, dress in all black and have odd speaking patterns and people will consider you a rockstar.
Has anyone ever doubted for a second that Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcom is the coolest character in Jurassic Park? In all likelihood he’s the coolest mathematician in all of film. Yet he’s also the guy who spends a lot of the movie spouting off mathematical theories and trying to keep the park from opening. He’s a logician, and those guys are not only nerds, they’re also usually not a lot of fun. But Malcolm’s dress style and staccato speech patterns just ooze cool, making someone who could have easily been bland on paper into a force of animal magnetism. If more mathematicians and scientists followed suit, actors and athletes wouldn’t stand a chance. If we’d been paying more attention, Dr. Malcolm would have been the most noteworthy trend setter of the ’90s. And I’d be damned if I didn’t bet those cool shades of his weren’t prescription too.
3. The way someone keeps their work station says a lot about their morality.
Really Dr. Hammond’s biggest flaw wasn’t hubris, ignorance, or greed, it was that he lacked plain observational common sense. There’s no way Dennis Nedry should have been employed by InGen. I mean look at his work station, no one who keeps their area like that cares about his job or the work you’re trying to do. If you’re an employer, pay attention to your employees work station. If it looks like shit, they’re probably doing shitty things. And employees? Clean up your area so you don’t have to worry about anyone questioning your character.
4. Don’t use friends and loved ones to test new equipment/products.
For an allegedly smart guy, Hammond does a lot of dumb things. I mean he used his grandchildren, who he supposedly loves so much, as lab rats to test a dinosaur park with kinks to work out. Here’s a tip friends, if you really love someone, don’t use them to test the quality of something that you know is flawed. And if you really want to be a decent human being, don’t use anyone to test something that could possibly cause injury and death. Sure, Hammond’s grandkids made it out okay, but you can tell by their eerily enthusiastic grins in The Lost World that they’re in for many years of psychological therapy.
5. If you’re driving in heavy rain and can’t see, pull over. You’ll die gruesomely otherwise.
Once again, it’s Nedry for the fail. Though his death was directly caused by thinking a Dilophosaurus was stupid, he wouldn’t have found himself in that situation if he hadn’t tried to drive blindly in the rain. Yes, I understand he had places to go and a schedule to stick to, as we all do. But what’s better, being late and inconvenienced, or dead?
6. Porta Potties are never ok under any circumstance.
You may not end up being torn apart by a T-Rex like Donald if you go in one but metaphorically you will. There’s really nothing good to find in a Porta Potty. You know those things aren’t sanitized and that blue stuff doesn’t do a bit of good. Human beings were meant to test their limits, hold it. If you must, find some patch of woods, but for the love of all that’s good, stay out of the Porta Potty.
7. If you lose power, save the ice cream first.
This may actually be the smartest thing Hammond does in the movie. When you’re in the midst of a disaster and you lose power, grab the ice cream and have at it—it’s the one thing you have control over in the midst of absolute chaos. To be fair though, there’s really no way Hammond could have eaten all of those containers of ice cream by himself, so ultimately he’s still foolish. If you find yourself in a similar situation, with gallons of melting ice cream at your disposal, make an effort to share or at least leave some of it in the freezer in case the power does come back.
8. Gender is Fluid; sex can be changed.
For some reason humans beings still have trouble wrapping their head around the fluid nature of gender and transsexuality. Maybe if they’d paid more attention to Jurassic Park they would have realized that the female dinosaur’s ability to change sex, and likely gender identification, due to amphibian DNA is entirely natural. And if anyone thinks humans are better than Jurassic Park dinosaurs, let me assure you we’re not. As Dr. Malcolm says, life finds a way, and why shouldn’t it?
9. If you find yourself climbing an electric fence and someone tells you not to hurry, do in fact hurry.
While I hope you never find yourself climbing a depowered electric fence, if you do, remember to be quick about it. The same goes for any risky and dangerous position you find yourself in where things could suddenly shift from fine to terrible. There’s no use in dawdling, move your ass because you never know when someone is going to throw the switch and bring the power. Timmy may have survived, but he likely suffered internal burns and damage to his nervous system.
10. If you use computers in your movie, know how computers work because you’ll look really silly later if you don’t.
For all the aspiring filmmakers out there, make sure you understand the technology you’re depicting on screen, or at least get someone who does to help you. Allow me to draw your attention to the scene where Lex restores full power to the park by opening files through what appears to be a 3D map of the park. Coupled with the fact that a computer technician at the beginning of the film claims that the X-Ray image of the fossil may make digging them up unnecessary eventually, and it’s clear Spielberg and his screenwriters had a poor grasp on how computer technology at the time worked. Clearly the movie is still great regardless, but since none of you are Spielberg, I’d be mindful of technology.
11. People who say they don’t like kids are just people who haven’t been caught in a perilous situation with one.
Dr. Grant’s major hang-up in this film, and likely what’s stalling any further development in his relationship with Ellie, is his dislike of children. But by the end he’s laughing at their jokes, saving their lives, and even tossing away his sole means of threat: his raptor claw. The thing to take away from this is that even if you don’t like children at the moment, all it takes is a massive disaster and possibility of death to shift your opinion in the other direction. I’d bet one of the first things Grant did when he recuperated is set up a dino-camp for kids and take his evening meals at Chuck E. Cheese.
12. Just because you spend a lot of money on something, doesn’t mean it’s going to work.
This is the film’s ultimate and most important lesson, a giant f-you to Hammond’s oft stated declaration of “we spared no expense.” Clearly Jurassic Park cost billions, but all that money couldn’t control nature. We’re a culture that subscribes to the notion that the more expensive something is the better, and the more worthwhile it is. Of course this isn’t true at all. In the end Hammond is left with melted ice cream, dead co-workers, a ruined theme park, and unspoken animosity from his grandchildren. Don’t be Hammond and equate money with a higher power. Jurassic Park may end on a happy note, but I have a feeling that the conversation inside that helicopter at the end of the film was a less than amicable one.
All images property of Universal Studios.