Why is The Lost World Movie So Different From the Book?

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Jurassic World: Dominion (2022) will soon come stomping into theaters worldwide. The trailers have promised a thrilling conclusion to the Jurassic Park film series, but just how much have the films been inspired by the novels?

After all, they both came first - Jurassic Park the novel in 1990, three years before the Spielberg classic, and The Lost World the novel in 1995, two years before the movie sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997).

The Lost World Jurassic Park
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The Lost World Jurassic Park

It's difficult to tell whether The Lost World and its movie counterpart are more different than the original book is to the 1993 film. Nevertheless, there are some huge differences, but it's mostly in relation to the characters.

While The Lost World: Jurassic Park is of course based on the novel, taking the core premise of a second InGen island where dinosaurs have been allowed to roam free in the absence of humans, there are some huge differences.

However, it's also worth noting that, in many ways, The Lost World book is actually a remake of sorts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (1912), at least from a conceptual standpoint (and title, of course).

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While Crichton's novel generally isn't considered a remake as such, it still revolves around a team of scientists discovering an island where, as the movie's tagline puts it, "Something has survived".

And that something is, of course, prehistoric animals. The Lost World novel is, of course, a sequel to the Jurassic Park novel, but a great deal of dialogue revolves around the possibility of dinosaurs having survived for tens of millions of years.

While this may seem a little redundant considering that the reader already knows why dinosaurs are alive in the present day, having been genetically engineered by InGen, it's still a fascinating read nonetheless.

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When it comes to premise and plot, it's fair to say that there are probably more similarities between The Lost World and the 1997 sequel than there are between Jurassic Park and the 1993 classic.

The Lost World revolves around a team of scientists who visit Site B, known also as Isla Sorna, where InGen has long since abandoned dinosaurs and left them to their own devices. However, don't let the premise fool you.

While Dr. Ian Malcolm, Dr. Sarah Harding, and Eddie Carr are among the main set of characters, there are still some huge differences. In the book, there are two children and not one - Kelly and Arby, neither of whom belong to Malcolm.

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They still sneak onto one of the trailers and follow the adult characters to Site B, though. As for Eddie Carr, he's younger in the book, and there's also a man called Jack Thorne, who is essentially replaced by Carr on screen.

Dr. Ian Malcolm and Dr. Sarah Harding are mostly consistent with their on-screen counterparts, but just like with the first book, we get plenty of backstory and several scenes based around them before we even get to the island.

Where characters are concerned, the biggest difference here are the villains. In the book, you'll be surprised to find that there is no InGen, no game hunters, and no InGen CEO Peter Ludlow, who is played by Arliss Howard in the film.

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In the book, the main villain is Lewis Dodgson, a character you'll recognize from Jurassic Park (1993), in which he is played by Cameron Thor. He'll be returning for Jurassic World: Dominion, with Campbell Scott stepping into the role.

The book finds Dodgson still working for Biosyn, and trying to finish what he hired Nedry to do six years ago. He heads to Site B in the company of two fellow employees, George Baselton and Howard King.

Their plan is similar to InGen's in the film, although they have no intention of capturing dinosaurs and taking them to a mainland theme park - they plan to steal tyrannosaur eggs and reverse engineer them for their own purposes.

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As for plot specifics, things play out in a similar fashion to how they do in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The main team sets up camp with two observation trailers, which are ultimately attacked by a pair of enraged adult t-rexes.

There's even a long grass scene, although there are no hunters this time - it's one of Dodgson's men who ends up on the receiving end of a raptor's jaws. And there's also a "high hide" scene involving the character Arby.

A notable difference is that, in the book, the scientists spend months on Site B before Dodgson and his men arrive. And there's also a subplot involving Dr Sarah Harding, as Dodgson attempts to murder her en route to Site B.

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The Lost World Jurassic Park

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The subplot with the two rexes is present in the book, and it concludes in ways that are familiar with how things wrap up on screen. In the film, Peter Ludlow is killed by an infant rex, and in the book, Dodgson meets the same fate.

Tonally, perhaps it's fair to say that The Lost World mirrors the 1997 film a lot more than the Jurassic Park novel and the 1993 film do. The Lost World ultimately feels less horror and more fantasy, which was likely the intention.

Two other huge differences that really help distance book and film are the absence of John Hammond - who dies in the first book - and the fact that the widely-hated San Diego sequence is nowhere to be found in the pages.

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Michael Crichton produced other similar works, such as The Andromeda Strain (1969), Congo (1980), Prey (2002), Dragon Teeth (2017), and, of course, the Jurassic Park successor, The Lost World (1995).

The Lost World novel is highly recommended, especially if you're a fan of the film. While there are some big differences, it's still thrilling to learn about the second island Site B, and a lot more history than you get on screen.

However, Site B hasn't been mentioned in the film series since Jurassic Park III (2001). So here's to hoping that Jurassic World: Dominion addresses what state the surviving island is in after all these years.

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Related: How Will Jurassic World Dominion End?

Jurassic World: Dominion releases in theaters on June 10.