Released in 1993, Steven Spielberg's ground breaking summer blockbuster 'Jurassic Park' contains many themes, such as parenthood, money and greed, and the ethics of science. In this essay I will explore these themes and show how the director illustrated them in this film.
In the film, Jurassic Park's owner John Hammond is being sued millions of dollars after a man is eaten by one of the raptors at his park. The lawyers say that in order to keep it running he needs endorsement from experts. Hammond seeks out the help of Palaeontologist Dr Alan Grant and his girlfriend Palaeobotanist Ellie Satler. The two of them, along with physicist Dr Iain Malcolm, are flown to Jurassic Park and are initially stunned by the huge, genetically engineered dinosaurs. However, when the dinosaurs escape and leave them fighting for their lives they decide not to endorse the park after all.
The theme of money and greed is developed throughout the film. One of the fist times we see this theme is when John Hammond says: "we spared no expense". He says this phrase again and again many times during the film, which shows us that Hammond has more money than sense, and believes that money will solve everything.
To highlight greed even more, Spielberg created the character Dennis Nedrey - the epitome of greed. The very fist time we see Nedrey he is gorging on food at a restaurant, and when the bill comes through he says to his companion: "don't get cheap on me." The next time we see him when he is working on Jurassic Park's computers, his desk is littered with food packets and he goes to the vending machines repeatedly. We see him and Hammond arguing about financial problems at the park - he demands more money boasting about how good he is and how they could never find a good enough replacement We later find out about how Nedrey is in debt and he plans to sell the dinosaur embryo to pay it off. He turns off all the park's security systems - endangering everyone in the park - in order to get away, showing that some people will do anything for money.
Halfway through the film we see Hammond sitting, surrounded by lovely food, in front of a gift shop full of Jurassic Park merchandise. This is ironic because although we look at the people in the film and think how greedy they are, this merchandise really was for sale after the film's release. It is almost as if Spielberg is mocking today's society and our need for material things. Money and greed are bad in the film and in the end; the greedy people - the lawyer and Dennis Nedrey - are eaten.
In 'Jurassic Park," another theme explored is the ethics of science. From the beginning we see how enthusiastic John Hammond is about his park - he thinks what they are doing is absolutely incredible. Iain Malcolm accused him of standing "on the shoulders of geniuses." He took things that other scientists had discovered, then left alone, and used them to genetically engineer dinosaurs. He did all this because he could, but he didn't stop to think about if he actually should.
Iain Malcolm on the other hand is totally against the park from the beginning. When in the lab he asks how they make sure that the animals don't breed. The scientist tells him that they make all the dinosaurs female, but Malcolm is not convinced. He says: "life will find a way," and it does. The scientists used frog DNA to fill in the missing parts in the dinosaur DNA. Some species of frog can spontaneously change sex in a singe sexed environment, so the dinosaurs do just that and start to breed. This shows that in science and nature you can't assume things, and that nature is more powerful than man.
Another theme that is developed throughout 'Jurassic Park' is the theme of parenthood. At the very beginning of the film, when a boy asks Dr Alan .Grant about Raptors Alan terrifies him - telling the boy of how Raptors attack using a claw to scare him. He speaks to the boy like he is an adult, not changing his tone or language. He has no intention of getting to know the boy either - he just wants to teach him a lesson. Ellie on the other hand makes it very clear that she wants children, but Alan makes ridiculous arguments for not having children. He says they are expensive, smelly and noisy.
Once on the island Alan meets John Hammond's grandchildren Timmy and Lex. Alan is Timmy's hero. Timmy loves dinosaurs and has read Alan's book. He follows Alan wherever he goes consistently pestering him with questions, while Alan desperately tries to get away. He clearly dislikes children a lot at this point.
The turning point in the film comes after Dennis Nedrey turns off the security systems and the T Rex is let loose in the park. The lawyer runs away leaving Timmy and Lex alone in a car, and the T Rex attacks it tipping it off the high road onto a tree down below. Here, Alan takes on the role of their protector. He leads the dinosaur away with a torch, and then rescues Timmy from the tree. From here onwards the children trust him and he protects them.
As the three of them head back to the main building at the park the journey they take is almost a metaphorical journey of how Alan Grant feels about children. Alan, Timmy and Lex sleep in a huge tree that night and in the morning Alan throws away the raptor claw that he scared the boy with in the beginning. This is symbolic of him not wanting to scare children but wanting to look after them. In the helicopter on their way back to America Alan cuddles Lex and Timmy and shares a knowing smile with Ellie, as if to say "Yes, I like children now." This is the end of the Journey.