Spielberg’s Jurassic Park Fix Created A Larger Movie Problem

In his 1993 film adaptation of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg introduced a fix to efficiently explain the novel’s pages upon pages of exposition, which unintentionally created a more significant problem for the movie. However, this did not stop Jurassic Park from reaching enormous levels of financial and critical success that rival the size of the dinosaurs the film depicts. Jurassic Park ultimately grossed over $1 billion, briefly holding the title of the highest-grossing film ever made until the release of James Cameron’s Titanic in 1997, and launched a six-movie-long franchise, which supposedly ended with 2022’s critically reviled Jurassic World Dominion.

While many of Jurassic Park‘s sequels are considered unnecessary, especially the Jurassic World trilogy, the original film still largely stands as a legendary science fiction film in its own right, even eclipsing the success of the novel it was adapted from. Spielberg made many changes to Crichton’s source material in his adaptation of Jurassic Park. He streamlined the number of characters involved and even allowed some to survive the film when they actually died in the novel. Spielberg’s change to Ian Malcolm’s fate in the movie proved so successful that Crichton resurrected the character in the book’s sequel. However, not all of Spielberg’s alterations were for the better.

Related: Jurassic Park’s Best Death Was A Big Dinosaur Lie

How Spielberg Changed The Jurassic Park Exposition

Mr DNA Jurassic Park

In order to deliver the scientific explanations of how Jurassic Park‘s scientists resurrected the dinosaurs more efficiently than in Crichton’s novel, Spielberg introduced the character of Mr. DNA, animated by Frank Suarez and voiced by Greg Burson. In-universe, Mr. DNA acts as an introduction to the science of the park designed for tourists. He appears in a pre-tour movie, alongside Jurassic Park‘s creator John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), that plays in a theater in the park’s Visitor Center. This provides a clever excuse to hide and streamline the film’s exposition, as Mr. DNA’s scientific explanations are justified by his role as an instructor for the park’s younger guests.

The Mr. DNA sequence is a fun scene that highlights one of Steven Spielberg’s skills as a storyteller. Through the use of the animated character, he is able to convey a lot of important information in a quick, fun, and entertaining way that could have otherwise bored an audience to tears if approached differently, by a lesser filmmaker. Steven Spielberg is one of the best directors working, and there is no shortage of sequences in Jurassic Park that display why, the exposition-filled Mr. DNA scene included. However, Spielberg’s Mr. DNA exposition fix unintentionally created another problem in Jurassic Park, one of a lack of representation.

Why Mr. DNA Represents A Hollywood Problem


By creating Mr. DNA to streamline the delivery of exposition, Spielberg sidelines one of the few non-white characters in Jurassic Park, chief geneticist Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong). Asian American actors, like BD Wong, have a long and troubled history within Hollywood, one paved with negative stereotypes, ethnocentric caricatures, and frequent marginalization. By creating the character of Mr. DNA, thus reducing the role of Doctor Henry Wu within the story, Spielberg, intentionally or otherwise, played into the latter of these tropes.

To illustrate the sheer levels of marginalization that Asian-American actors faced in Hollywood at the time, The Joy Luck Club, starring The Mandalorian‘s Ming-Na Wen, which was released the same year as Jurassic Park, was the first Hollywood studio film to feature a mostly Asian and Asian-American cast since 1961’s Flower Drum Song. It would also be another 25 years until it would happen again, despite The Joy Luck Club‘s financial and critical success, with the release of Crazy Rich Asians in 2015. However, Spielberg’s litany of changes to Crichton’s source material allowed for Henry Wu’s survival in the film.

Related: Jurassic Park 3 Has Three Unwanted Franchise Records

How Spielberg (Accidentally) Allowed For A Solution

Jurassic World Dominion Dr Henry Wu Redemption

In Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel, Henry Wu is torn apart by Velociraptors during the latter half of the story. However, in Steven Spielberg’s film, Wu leaves the island, along with the majority of workers and scientists during the storm evacuation. This change thus led the way to Henry Wu’s appearance in the Jurassic World trilogy. Wu is reintroduced as a major antagonist in Jurassic World, having secretly worked alongside Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio) to create weaponized hybrid dinosaurs. Having been stripped of his doctorate as a result, Wu continues in his role as a villain in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, working in the hidden lab under the Lockwood Estate.

However, in the years following the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Wu has a change of heart and works with Jurassic World Dominion‘s movie protagonists to stop Lewis Dodgson and Biosyn from unleashing their genetically modified giant locusts on an unsuspecting world. Wu ultimately redeems himself, creating a solution to the threat of the locusts. He is ultimately celebrated for his works as a geneticist, a far cry from his fate in Crichton’s source material. Spielberg’s creation of Mr. DNA created a problem of representation, but Wu’s newfound survival in the Jurassic Park movie allowed for a solution to this issue.

Next: Every Jurassic Park & Jurassic World Movie Ranked By Kill Count

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