The 3 Times Dr. Hammond of Jurassic Park DID spare some expense: by Kai
With the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park upon us, I was rewatching the film and meditating on all the delightful little details, scenes and phrases that hold up.
John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!
Dr. Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don't eat the tourists.
A classic, real world detail brought into the folds of this reality of Dinosaurs. Also, I still repeat Samuel L. Jackson as park technician Ray whenever I switch something on for the first time.
Ray Arnold: Hold on to your butts.
And then there are the smaller lines which suggest things about character. One of my favorites being Richard Attenborough’s Santa/Doctor Moreau.
Dr. Hammond: We spared no expense!
This feeds directly in to why Dr. Hammond brought all these people to the island. It is a dog and pony show, or flea circus, to impress the lawyer (the investors) and scientists also using his grandkids as a prop. I don’t think for a moment Dr. Hammond thought his grandkids would be in any kind of trouble because most of the conflict is brought on by the disgruntled computer tech, Nedry. With the power off, it seems like the Raptors and probably T-rex would have gotten out anyway but the island was mostly evacuated already. I want to know what Nedry’s plan is if he had actually reached the last evacuation ship. There was probably a satellite phone call placed by Samuel L. to the ship’s captain to find Nedry and if not while under way, to catch him when they disembark. They may not know he took the embryos, but Nedry’s caricature face taunting them from the lockout screen.
Cars on the Electric Track
Even if you give Hammond credit that creating a theme park is complicated and filled with setbacks? You put locks on the car doors.
Muldoon the game warden points out they should have had locking mechanisms on the car doors, but sure that is an aside. There is an electrified fence that can stop your heart just yards from the car and hard to see animals inside, I would want to clamber up that cement barrier to get a better look. Also, were they not supposed to be able to get out? There is a bathroom right in front of the T-rex enclosure. Maybe getting out of the vehicle is on purpose, but they also have Dinosaurs that spit acid. Another liability if the car doors open. This seems poorly thought out, and they embrace the natural enclosure Zoo dilemma. If you put an animal in its natural habitat it wont hang out right near the fence. I was going to list this first item as the locks themselves, but those cars probably have locks its just that they decided not to write it into the program or what have you. So I am going to chalk the first SPARED NO EXPENSE to this meme:
Credit to whoever did that first.
The first scene in the movie, this always bugs me a little. Muldoon is directing a team of 40 animal handlers to load a Velociraptor into the Raptor bunker.
Refresh yourself, here it is on the Tubes:
Muldoon was relatively in control of that situation up until the end so lets review the steps.
Forklift places Raptor cage on track.
Push team slides cage down toward the gate.
Push team gently touches cage against gate and steps away, NOT LOCKING IT IN PLACE
Gate team lifts gate.
Raptor pushes cage away from gate.
If you go to most any Lion house or Feline predator exhibit at a Zoo, they have some simple technology when loading the animals in and out of main enclosures. An antechamber.
One of the main reasons you do this is to prevent anything already inside the enclosure from trying to get back out or into the cage you were transporting it in.
Let's take a look with the Raptors.
Push the cage entirely into the antechamber, THEN lift the gate. Just have the ceiling of the enclosure be flush with the cage. This is all relatively cheap, for the kinds of massive irrigation and fence works they have in the park, this is just an oversight. It's just rebar and concrete and some metal doors. Or, why wasn’t the cage latched to the gate? Or even, why didn’t the forklift just hold it against the gate?
Either way, a man is dead. Some expense was spared.
3. Financial Trouble
Dennis Nedry, the main computer programmer. There are a couple of lines between Nedry and Hammond setting up the tension.
Dennis Nedry: [laughs] I am totally unappreciated in my time. You can run this whole park from this room with minimal staff for up to 3 days. You think that kind of automation is easy? Or cheap? You know anybody who can network 8 connection machines and debug 2 million lines of code for what I bid for this job? Because if he can I'd like to see him try.
John Hammond: I'm sorry about your financial problems, Dennis, I really am, but they are your problems.
Dennis Nedry: Oh, you're right, John, you're absolutely right. You know, everything's my problem. John Hammond: I will not get drawn into another financial debate with you, Dennis. I really will not! Dennis Nedry: There'd be hardly any debate at all.
John Hammond: I don't blame people for their mistakes. But I do ask that they pay for them.
Dennis Nedry: Thanks, Dad.
It wasn’t just that Nedry was greedy (it helped) but Jurassic Park the book had a more in depth view of how that animosity came to be.
Reddit user /u/Sigseg broke it down pretty well:
This is glossed over in the film but explained fully in the book. Nedry was head programmer for a team of programmers working remotely, and he was not given enough information for every park module he and his team developed. He was told to develop a module for tracking (but not what to track), or a module for record keeping (but not what records the DB was holding), or a module for this that and the other thing in extremely ambiguous terms. The existing bugs and deficiencies in the system weren't a result of hubris and laziness, but politics and privacy. Imagine you are told to write a module for motion tracking and include anti-collision functionality. You compile and hand over the executable and are then told it's going to be used in a self-driving car. The car crashes on the first few test drives and you're told your code is to blame and you need to fix your bugs. You wrote critical code in the dark and then got blamed when the larger system fucks up because it was not developed as a cohesive project. The system gets up and running and Hammond blames Nedry for "his bugs", which wouldn't have existed had he not been kept in the dark. And then they expect him to fix that bowl of spaghetti without extra compensation because the original development contract was not satisfied. The film mentions none of why Nedry is pissed off, disgruntled, and committing corporate espionage. It only focuses on a greedy, slovenly, lone hacker using IRIX on a PowerPC (what?).
Understanding all that, when InGen did a post mortem of the “1993 Isla Nublar Incident” there is literally no way to ignore that you had a disgruntled contractor who was exposed financially. They were also well aware that competitors were out to catch up to them. Spare me the lecture on holding to your contract, because if at that post mortem meeting you said “Well there was no way to have prevented this! He didn’t hold to his contract!” I would hope you would be fired.
I don’t know if its just paying gobs of money to a computer contractor, but it is confusing how anyone could act like they were “blindsided.” Not knowing who is vulnerable for bribery in key positions of power within your organization is a flagrant oversight. It was Hammond’s hubris of trusting technology and whimsy instead of boots on the ground, so maybe they couldn’t afford to “spare no expense” but in several key places it took lives and nearly destroyed InGen.
This article was originally published on Sept 4th 2018 on kushandkai.com