Jurassic Park has always been one of my favorite movies. It’s hard to talk about what makes it work without looking at the film’s hero, Doctor Alan Grant. Sure he’s great - but is he the Greatest Hero of All Time? I decided to do an in-depth analysis.
ALAN GRANT: PROBLEM-SOLVING SCIENTIST
Grant’s brilliance and innovation are illustrated soon after we meet him, as the helicopter lands at Jurassic Park. While it might seem strange that our intelligent scientist hero is confused by something so basic as a seatbelt, the truth is this: for reasons wisely left to the audience’s imagination, Dr. Grant has never before in his life encountered a seatbelt. Prior to the landing of this helicopter, the very concept of a seatbelt simply did not exist in Dr. Grant’s world. Which means, in the moment he ties those ends together - HE IS INVENTING THE SEATBELT. Amazing!
You might think he would use this MacGyver-style creativity to resolve a situation later in the story, but that would be a waste of narrative time when Grant has so many other great qualities to show us. It’s enough just to know he COULD be doing that kind of thing.
ALAN GRANT: DINOSAUR EXPERT
Part of being a great hero is being well-matched to the conflicts of the story. On an island of dinosaurs, Dr. Grant’s expertise makes him perfectly suited to the challenges that the characters have to face.
Heading back to the hotel already? Probably to read a book on dinosaurs, right? This guy sure loves dinosaurs! Good thing he’s around when an angry T. rex shows up!
He’s even able to share his expertise with others, empowering them to protect themselves!
ALAN GRANT: KING OF THE ASSIST
Alan Grant is no showboat. In fact, one of the main ways he helps people is by letting them help themselves. Sometimes that means leaving them to their own devices.
That even goes for his loved ones.
He’s also not afraid to share the glory at critical moments. A lot of heroes would choose the climax of a film to take the reins of the action - but watch how Dr. Grant graciously shares the spotlight with a geeky teen, a pathetic old man and T. rex Han Solo:
ALAN GRANT: RAPTOR AMNESIAC
While an expert on most dinosaurs, Dr. Grant’s tragic flaw is selective memory when it comes to his specialty - the Velociraptor.
Twenty-four hours after being horrified that raptors were bred at all, he is blissfully unconcerned that they’re breeding unsupervised in the wild. But at least he’ll tell the other adults in the park, right?
Grant, you loveable maniac!
So, I ask you - ALAN GRANT: GREATEST HERO OF ALL TIME?
I think the answer’s pretty clear.