Jurassic Park Made Lex the Hero


  • Jurassic Park redefined its most important hero.
  • Jurassic Park’s Lex and Tim had very different personalities in the book.
  • Changing Lex in Jurassic Park greatly impacted future lessons about how women were portrayed in film.

The world of Jurassic Park, especially from the movies, is one of the characters that may not seem important at the start but have invaluable talents that, more often than not, save many in the end. Examples of this have been Jurassic Park III’s Eric Kirby, whose survival tactics helped keep Dr. Grant alive on Isla Sorna. But perhaps the best example of this came from Lex Murphy in the original Jurassic Park.

In Michael Crichton’s novel Jurassic Park, many characters introduced were changed drastically from the movie. For example, John Hammond wasn’t an ambitious Walt Disney type but more a selfish character who only wanted the success of his park at almost any cost. In the case of the movie’s children, Lex became the youngest child at eight years old, and Tim was the eldest at 11 years old. Furthermore, Tim was interested in dinosaurs and computers, making Lex nothing more than an annoyed younger sibling only interested in sports. However, changing their ages and interests allowed Lex to shine as the main hero.

RELATED: Jurassic Park Was Never Really About Dinosaurs

Jurassic Park’s Conclusion Capitalized on Lex and Tim’s Characterizations

Lex and Tim booting up the park in Jurassic Park

Most of the tension in Jurassic Park came from the immediate threat of carnivorous dinosaurs hunting the human survivors. From the T. rex to the Velociraptors, there was never a dull moment in the movie’s runtime. However, the true tension comes from the concern that, without power being rebooted, the survivors risked being stranded on the island. When Dennis Nedry shut down the park’s power and locked it behind a password, it led to sheer chaos in the park that no adult could solve. But where everyone failed, Lex came to the rescue and rebooted the system, thanks to her knowledge of computers and hacking.

“It’s a UNIX system, I know this.” has become one of the most beloved lines of Jurassic Park, and as Lex worked her way through the complex system, it allowed audiences to see her shine. It also justified both children’s altered characterizations. Now, these changes were made prevalent as Tim was the clever and inquisitive younger brother, and Lex was the more mature and tech-savvy older sister. But these small changes only scratched the surface of a larger, more beneficial change.

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Changing Tim’s Role Benefited Lex’s Character

Lex and Tim in Jurassic Park

In the Jurassic Park novel, Tim took the role of hero when it counted as his knowledge of dinosaurs allowed him to better combat the threats they faced in the wild while his computer knowledge rebooted the system. In every sense, Tim was the brave hero who seemed more like a mix of Indiana Jones and The Matrix’s Neo during his hacker phase. On the flip side, the novel’s version of Lex painted her more as a whiny younger sister who had zero interest in dinosaurs and computers. As a result, her behavior led to more dangers than good fortune, and, in the end, she didn’t evolve from her traumatic experience.

This shift from novel to movie represented something massive in the overall narrative as this large ensemble needed characters that would play an essential role in the larger machine that was Jurassic Park. This led to the shift in ages and roles, with Lex being an older sister. While she was still the most removed from the world of dinosaurs, she acted more like a bored teenager who, even if she was faced with a living dinosaur, would reserve her awe so no one saw. She also expressed logical fear as someone who saw the likes of a Brachiosaurus as a threat when all she’d faced was a T. rex. But all the while, she was never seen as a problem and grew by the end of the narrative because she approached each dilemma with logic rather than annoyance.

These changes offered a huge shift in balance and made for a more equal space between Jurassic Park’s only children. This allowed for Tim not to hog every moment as the child hero, and Lex had a chance to show a new side and perspective that hadn’t been seen much at the time. Rather than being an annoyed teenager, Lex was simply a kid going through the motions and had no extreme interest in anything beyond her computer. But instead of putting lives at risk because of her disinterest, she had a chance to be more proactive and helpful because she wasn’t pulled in by the majesty of living dinosaurs.

RELATED: Peacock Announces Animated LEGO Jurassic Park Special

Lex’s Big Change Was Ahead of Its Time

Lex Tim and Ellie Sattler looking at a computer in Jurassic Park

Recent movies have finally given a voice to women and showed that women could be just as capable as men in high-stress situations. Whether it’s a topical examination of the topic in Barbie or a more action-focused narrative like Black Widow, the idea that women could make a difference is one that is finally being celebrated on a larger scale and should’ve been noticed a lot sooner. Thankfully, Jurassic Park also showed this, as Lex and Dr. Ellie Sattler showed that the only thing that was important in a survival situation was how competent a person was. For this reason, characters like Donald Gennaro had a tragic fate due to their fear, while Lex singlehandedly rebooted the entire park. There was also the fact that she was a child, which made things even more surprising as, save for Short Round from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, most children weren’t nearly as helpful.

Changing Lex to be a prominent role in Jurassic Park’s most important moment was ahead of its time and showed just how powerful children and women could be in movies. Aside from the special effects of creatures like the T. rex, it’s likely that these changes have also contributed to why the film has endured for decades and created more impressive characters like Claire Dearing, Maisie Lockwood and The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s Sara Harding. Many books have to adjust to translate better to movies, but there’s no denying the incredible foresight in changing Lex’s character. Ultimately, it led to some impressive moments, and a character audiences remember fondly.

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