From Brains to Brawn: Changing Masculinity in the Jurassic Park Franchise


  • Gillian Kelly Independent Scholar



Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Chris Pratt


Widely celebrated for its ground-breaking CGI and computer-generated dinosaurs, Jurassic Park’s (Spielberg, 1993) human actors have long been relegated to secondary roles. Directly following the popular action films of the 1980s, the “musculinity” of these stars (McDonald, 2019) is far removed from the type of masculinity embodied by actors Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum as Jurassic Park’s scientists Drs. Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm, respectively. This noteworthy paradox provides comment on changes within the film industry and American society, and yet, despite the film’s continued critical attention, a lack of serious consideration of its stars remains.

This paper examines and reassesses the actors’ “normalised” star personas and screen performances, juxtaposing their performance styles, physicality and character development with both the hyper-masculine actors preceding them and Chris Pratt as a Velociraptor wrangler in the new chapter of the franchise, Jurassic World (2015-2022). As Owen Grady, Pratt exemplifies a new generation of twenty-first-century masculine stars: a safer, more “everyday” version of the extreme masculinity of the 1980s action hero and more relatable to audiences. Grady is presented in terms of brawn rather than brains, explicitly positioned as erotic object and the “alpha” male to “beta” Blue, the female leader of the Velociraptor pack he trains; but, as explored, scientists Grant and Malcolm do not fit this type and thrust into the role of dominant male as a necessity for survival.


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How to Cite

Kelly, G. (2023). From Brains to Brawn: Changing Masculinity in the Jurassic Park Franchise. Cinergie – Il Cinema E Le Altre Arti, 12(24), 25–36.