• The Evolution of Alan Grant: Narratives of Reproductive Futurism in Jurassic Park

      Barnett, Katie; University of Chester (2018-06-08)
      As a quintessential product of 1990s Hollywood, Jurassic Park is reflective not only of shifts in form, production, and marketing, but of the underlying cultural preoccupations of the decade. In an era when Hollywood’s action heroes were increasingly making the transition to domesticated fatherhood, Jurassic Park offers a version of this narrative through the character of Alan Grant (Sam Neill). Alan Grant begins the film averse to the idea of parenthood and children in general; he dismisses them as “noisy, messy, expensive [and] smelly”, and is reluctant to engage with Lex and Tim on their tour of the park. This paper will examine the evolution of Grant’s character from this taciturn, aloof version of himself to a man who comes to embrace a paternal role by the end of the film. Shunted into the role of protector after the dinosaurs breach their compounds, he turns his focus to the survival of himself and the children. The narrative of Jurassic Park is preoccupied with reversing extinction. On a literal level, this concerns the dinosaurs resurrected by John Hammond. Beyond this, it is also applicable to Grant’s rehabilitation as a paternal figure. By the 1990s, Hollywood’s action heroes were diminishing, a reflection of the industry’s own preoccupation with the presumption of masculine crisis. Fatherhood was persistently constructed, throughout the decade, as an answer to this crisis, a way of ‘saving’ men and reaffirm their worth. As such, Jurassic Park may be read as a narrative of reproductive futurism, offering a tangible future as a father to Grant, channelling his energy towards his own survival as the helicopter flies past a flock of birds, the ancestors of the dinosaurs they have left on the island below.