Was Jurassic Park doomed to fail from the start?

The world has just changed so radically, and we’re all running to catch up. I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but look, dinosaurs and man, two species separated by 65 million years of evolution have just been suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can we possibly have the slightest idea what to expect?” – Dr. Alan Grant, Jurassic Park

Was Jurassic Park doomed to fail from the start? No.

Grant is spouting Hollywood nonsense, written for the express purpose of building audience tension (and for the movie trailer). Real scientists don’t talk like that.

Jurassic Park was poorly designed. Putting trees so close to the barriers made it nearly impossible for dinosaurs to be seen. Not creating better redundant power failsafes was a major oversight. And the vehicles were clearly not designed to withstand an assault from the T-Rex (or the Triceratops, or any of the other large dinos who may be rampaging), nor were they capable of fast escape on those electric rails should an emergency occur. There was not nearly enough security built into the park for the potential threat the carnivorous dinosaurs posed. They were being treated as no more threatening animals as elephants or lions. Further, the velociraptors, clearly having been bred at Site B, should never have been brought to Isla Nublar at all (although to be fair, Site B was a retcon and was not a part of the original Jurassic Park story).

Recall the T-rex paddock.

Now, you’ve got two Explorers slaved to a track driving up to an electrified fence (that isn’t even complete—see how the fence just stops on the left?). This area is supposedly designed for the people in the Explorers to see a Tyrannosaur with their own eyes. Bear in mind a Tyrannosaurus is a seven ton apex predator.

What happens when the power goes out? The fence becomes comically vulnerable, and those Explorers are dead on their wheels when they should be able to go speeding the hell out of there, but no, they’re electric (so they don’t pollute, or something). Furthermore, the Explorers’ doors can be opened from the inside. What happens even on a good day, with the fence fully energized, and some 10-year-old decides to take this opportunity to jump out of the car to run to that little commode? Or maybe go up and touch the nice friendly T-rex with his bare hand?

This setup is like putting people into glass-bottomed canoes and literally dragging them over shark-infested waters. With a splash of blood to dump in the water to lure the sharks closer.

Finally, the main control center was populated with Macintosh Quadra computers and SGI and Sun workstations, and from Nedry’s dialogue it was designed to minimize support staff. Why? This is an absurd thing to prioritize over visitor safety. Efficiency, environmental-friendliness… these concerns are completely trivial next to visitor safety in a place like this. The first and only question Hammond had to answer when creating Jurassic Park is, will the park visitors be absolutely safe? He clearly had other, lesser goals in mind. Of course, if he hadn’t, the movie would have been considerably more boring.

My view is that a Jurassic Park, properly conceived and constructed, would have been very safe and very successful.