Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant
Dr. Alan Grant is the protagonist in the first novel, as well as the first and third films. His movie persona, played by Sam Neill, has elements similar to adventure hero Indiana Jones, such as the fact that he is commonly shown wearing a fedora-style hat.
Throughout a great portion of the book, Dr. Grant and the two kids explore the park trying to find their way back to the rest of the group. In the film, much of this time is omitted, with only a few key events occurring on screen.
The film portrays a much different personality than that of the novel. In the films (particularly the first film), Dr. Grant has an introverted personality and does not like children. Throughout the course of the first film, however, he warms to the two children accompanying him, Tim and Lex.
This was done because Spielberg wanted to "provide a source of dramatic tension that did not exist in the novel". He is the central character of Jurassic Park III. In the Jurassic Park universe, Grant is credited with having written at least two popular books on dinosaurs.
Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler
Ellie Sattler is, in the novel, a graduate student studying under Dr. Alan Grant who specializes in paleobotany and is from Montana. She accompanies Dr. Grant on the tour of InGen's dinosaur preserve.
Ellie has a more dominant role in the first film than in the novel. Steven Spielberg wrote out Ed Regis completely and caused Gennaro to be killed off near the beginning of the film, making Ellie do many of the things done by Donald Gennaro in the novel.
Additionally, in the film, Ellie is both a doctor of paleobotany and in a relationship with Dr. Grant. Spielberg did this not only to add tension to the film, but also because he felt that she didn't get enough attention in the book. While her time assisting Dr. Harding was in the film, the animal they were treating was changed to a Triceratops.
She appears briefly in Jurassic Park III. According to the film, her relationship with Dr. Grant ended after the first film, but they remain close friends. She is married to Mark Degler, an attorney for the U.S. State Department who specializes in treaty law.
Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm
Dr. Ian Malcolm is another key figure in the Jurassic Park universe. The character of Ian Malcolm functions as the "ironic commentator inside the story who talks about the action as it takes place".
He is a mathematician at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in chaos theory. His character is based on both Ivar Ekeland and James Gleick.
Malcolm's all-black clothing style reflects that of Heinz-Otto Peitgen, a mathematician who wrote a richly illustrated book on fractals: Heinz-Otto Peitgen & P.H. Richter, 1986. The beauty of fractals: images of complex dynamic systems (Springer-Verlag).
Throughout Jurassic Park, he makes several predictions based on chaos theory about the consequences and ultimate failure of attempting to control nature. These predictions often turn out to be correct.
Though he is declared dead at the end of the novel, in the sequel, he explains that the declaration was premature. Due to timely intervention by Costa Rican surgeons, he survives the ordeal, but ends up with a permanent leg injury, requiring a cane to walk.
Malcolm is the protagonist of The Lost World. As in the first novel, however, Malcolm is again injured in a dinosaur attack but survives. In the film adaptation of the second novel, John Hammond (who didn't die in the first film like he did in the book) hires Malcolm and others to visit the island in order to document the dinosaurs in their natural habitat.
Malcolm agrees, but only to rescue his girlfriend, Dr. Sarah Harding, who had already set out for the island. Once there, the team must contend with a rival expedition intent on harvesting dinosaurs for a Jurassic Park-like attraction on the mainland.
Richard Attenborough as John Hammond
John Hammond is one of the primary antagonists of the novel. He is the owner of Jurassic Park and founder of InGen. According to the novel, his full name is John Alfred Hammond. Though he is not modeled after anyone in particular, in an interview, Crichton explained that Hammond is like the "dark side of Walt Disney".
In the novel, Hammond takes little responsibility for the park or its failures and instead blames others for anything that goes wrong. He concludes that the people he selected as the park's senior staff have character flaws that prevent his vision for the park from being realized.
In a stark contrast to the cold, uncaring persona depicted in the novel, Hammond's film counterpart is a jovial and kind man who, in the end, takes responsibility for his actions.
The film's Hammond has a deeper, more emotional understanding of creating attractions for children and families, and desires to make this attraction a scientific reality as opposed to an illusion. However, he is misguided in his steadfast belief that his creations are under control, as he underestimates the power of genetics.
He also has little regard for scientific research doctrine, being more interested in the applications of genetic engineering than in the moral implications of such creations. By the film's conclusion, as he and the other survivors leave the island, he acknowledges the dangers that he has created.
In the second film, he is older and appears to be in failing health. His position as CEO has been taken away by his nephew, so he devotes what resources he has left keeping the dinosaurs of Site B isolated from the rest of the world.
Ariana Richards as Lex Murphy
Alexis "Lex" Murphy is Tim Murphy's sister and John Hammond's granddaughter. In the novel, she is described as a seven or eight year old girl, relatively outgoing, blonde and "a sporty young girl who loves baseball". She wears a baseball glove slung over her shoulder and a baseball cap just about everywhere.
Lex is shown having the traits of a stereotypical child that whines and complains. Her selfish and childish behavior often annoys the people around her and puts her and the group in danger.
Throughout the novel, she shows characteristics of her grandfather, John Hammond, such as being unkind, careless, and unappreciative of the events occurring around her.
In Spielberg's 1993 film, Lex is the elder of the two siblings and has a completely different personality, similar to that of her brother's from the novel. In the film, Lex has advanced computer skills, being a "computer geek", according to Tim, that help the survivors escape a pack of Velociraptors.
While initially frightened by many of the dinosaurs, Lex eventually gains maturity and courage and is instrumental in rebooting the park's systems. Much like Dr. Ellie Sattler, Lex's personality is improved to add strong female roles to the film. She makes a cameo in the second film when Ian Malcolm comes to visit John Hammond.
The story begins on Isla Nublar, a small island 120 miles off the coast of Costa Rica. It's quiet for a second. A roar rises up from the jungle, deafening. The trees shake as something very, very large plows ahead through them, right at us. Every head gathered in this little clearing snaps, turning in the direction of the sound as it bursts through the trees.
It's a bulldozer. It drops its scoop and pushes forward into the back end of the crate, shoving it across the jungle floor towards an impressive fenced structure that towers over an enclosed section of thick jungle. There's a guard tower at one end of this holding open that makes it look like San Quentin.
The bulldozer pushes forward into the back end, the crate thuds to the floor. The movement has agitated whatever is inside the crate, and the whole thing shivers as growls and snaps come from inside. A large group of construction workers and animal handlers moves back. A door slides open in the pen, making a space as big as the end of the crate.
Nobody moves for a second. The men go back to the crate and begin to push it into the slot. The crate thuds up against the opening. A green light on the side of the pen lights up, showing contact has been made. From inside the crate, we get glimpses of what's on the other side of those slates - - jungle foliage, men with rifles, searching searchlights.
The view is herky-jerky as the crate is put into position. A worker climbs to the top of the crate. The search lights are trained on the door. The Riflemen throw the bolts on their rifles and crack their stun guns, sending arcs of current cracking through the air.
The worker begins lifting the gate when all at once - - a roar from the inside the crate, the crate jerks away from the mouth of the holding pen flash, knocking him off the crate. Now everything happens at once. The worker thuds to the jungle floor, an alarm buzzer sounds - - and a claw slashes out from inside the crate.
It sinks into the ankle of the worker, dragging him toward the dark mouth between the crate and the pen. The worker screams and paws the ground as he is rapidly dragged toward the crate. Robert Muldoon, the man in charge of the operation, orders to shoot.
Muldoon: Shoot her! Shoot her!
They fire their guns - Muldoon runs in and grabs the worker, trying to pull him free. The wild arcs of currents from the stun gun flash and crack all around, the worker is pulled from Muldoon's grip.
Mano De Dios Amber Mine, Dominican Republic: Donald Gennaro, forty, corporate lawyer, inappropriately dressed for this environment with an expensive suit and a hundred dollar haircut. He approaches on a raft being pulled across a river by two men. At the river bank, Juan Rostagno, thirty-ish, Costa Rican, a smart-looking guy in workers clothes, is waiting for him.
Gennaro finally lands, and Rostagno helps him off the raft. Rostagno leads Gennaro towards the mine. The miners extracting amber are involved with a genetic-engineering company called InGen. Dozens of workers claw and scrape. The work is all done by hand, pick and shovel instead of dynamite and bulldozer.
Gennaro almost falls, Rostagno helps him. We learn that the death of the worker seen earlier has raised serious concerns about the safety of the island.
Gennaro: I had to promise to conduct a very thorough on-site inspection.
Rostagno: Hammond hates inspections. They slow everything down.
Gennaro: Juanito, they'll pull the funding. That'll slow him down even more.
A worker hurries up to them and busts into the conversation, breathless, they uncovered a find. The worker and Rostagno scramble back deeper into the mine. Rostagno and Gennaro move into the dark cave, where at least a dozen other workers are gathered.
Gennaro explains that the owner of the island is now seeking top scientific experts in the field to help endorse the park. They already have Ian Malcolm, but they also want Alan Grant to sign off on the island and the insurance guys will back off. But Rostagno insists he will never get Grant.
Rostagno: Grant's like me. He's a digger.
One of the workers hands Rostagno something and he examines it carefully.
It's a chuck of amber, a shiny yellow rock. Rostagno turns and holds the amber up to the light.
With the light pouring through it, the amber is translucent, and we can see something inside this strange stone.
A huge mosquito, long dead, entombed there.
Cut to the Dig: An artist's camel hair brush carefully sweeps away sand and rock to slowly reveal the dark curve of a fossil - it's a claw. A dentist's pick gently lifts it from the place its has laid for millions of years. Pull up to reveal a group of diggers working on a large skeleton. All we see are the tops of their hats.
Dr. Alan Grant, mid-thirties, a ragged-looking guy with intense concentration you wouldn't want to get in the way of. Dr. Ellie Sattler, working with him, in her late twenties, athletic-looking. There's an impatience about Ellie, as if nothing in life happens quite fast enough for her. From the bottom of the hill a voice shouts calling them over.