Dennis Nedry Was an Everyman Hero in the Jurassic Park Novel


Dennis Nedry, pictured above being fantastically portrayed by Wayne Knight is easily one of the most unlikeable characters in the entire Jurassic Park movie, which is a shame because if they’d followed the plot laid out by the book, Nedry would have been the character you’d have been rooting for the entire time. 

Firstly, for everyone who doesn’t know, Nedry is basically responsible for the entire plot of Jurassic Park when he releases every dinosaur in the park in order to mask his theft of a bunch of stolen dinosaur embryos that he plans to sell for millions of dollars. Because there is absolutely nothing suspicious about every single person on an island full of dinosaurs except a fat sweaty guy dying and someone opening up an identical dinosaur island two years later.

“Wait, what?”

In the movie version of Jurassic Park, Nedry programs pretty much every security system in the park pretty much single handed, a fact he takes advantage of when he systematically shuts everything in the park down, releasing most of the dinosaurs into the grounds allowing him to escape unnoticed. A plan that works out well for Nedry right up until he’s ripped to pieces by an angry dilophosaurus .

In the extended version this is a 40 minute fist fight.
In the extended version this is a 40 minute fist fight.

Though he’s largely a comic relief character within the context of the movie and his ironic death at the hands (claws?) of a dinosaur is something we’re supposed to relish in, in the books, Nedry is frickin’ awesome. For a start, like in the movie, he programs the entire park by himself, however, unlike in the movie, he does so because he’s forced to by John Hammond.

I beat my staff on weekends.
“I beat my staff on weekends.”

In the novel, Hammond hires Nedry, then refuses to tell him anything about the project he’s been hired to do. Which you can kind of forgive because, shit, Hammond is opening up a dinosaur themed amusement park, it’s understandable that he wants to keep that under wraps. However, Hammond continues to be a colossal dick-bag by continually giving Nedry work he didn’t sign on to do and when he tries to complain that the work wasn’t in the contract he signed, Hammond starts writing shit-stirring letters to his other clients purely in an attempt to ruin his reputation as a programmer. In the end, Nedry ends up stealing a bunch of dinosaur embryos, partly as a screw-you to Hammond for dicking him over for 9 months straight.

In other words, Nedry is just an ordinary guy working under a shitty boss who’s being forced to do a job that he’s not being paid to the best of his abilities and he doesn’t even get thanked for it. It’s no wonder he ends up stealing a bunch of stuff from his place of work, we’d be annoyed if he didn’t do that. It’s just a shame that instead of 90 pens he steals a T-rex egg and ends up being eaten for his troubles. Of course it doesn’t change the fact that he’s inadvertently responsible for the deaths of dozens of people, but come on, we’ve all done crazy things because we hate our boss, right?

Sadly in the movie version the entire undertone of Hammond screwing Nedry over is totally glossed over and instead of being an Everyman hero who’s forced into a corner by an awful boss. He’s just a fat guy who wanted to steal dinosaurs, which to be fair, still kind of makes him relatable and also still our hero.