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John Hammond

Jurassic Park
by yo go re

The 4" Jurassic Park Legacy Collection line may be all wrapped up at retail, but Mattel gave one last blaze of glory at SDCC.

John Hammond is a creator, innovator, and loving grandfather who has high hopes for his theme park off the coast of Costa Rica. However, on Isla Nublar, the attractions sometimes eat the visitors. Welcome to Jurassic Park.

A first! This text does come from the toy's packaging, unlike every other JP character we've reviewed so far. It's definitely describing John Hammond from the movies and not from the book, because Book John is pretty much the villain of the story: he's constantly cutting corners, ignores sound advice from his scientists, is basically blackmailing Nedry into working for him, and only invited his grandkids because he thought they'd be good props to convince the lawyer to keep the financing flowing in. In the movie, he's a jolly avuncular Santa Claus who loves being a showman; in the book, he's obnoxious, bullheaded, and is just in it for the money - the only reason he opted to make a dinosaur themepark was because there were no existing regulations or oversight for such a thing.

It's entirely possible John Hammond's all-white outfit was chosen purely for practical reasons: the movie was set in Costa Rica and filmed in Hawaii, and light, airy clothing is a great way of dealing with tropical heat. However, this is a movie, and movie costumes are typically more concerned with visual storytelling than actor comfort. So part of it is, as we've said before, that he's playing the part of God in an Edenic allegory, but there's also a callback to Charles Laughton's appearance as Dr. Moreau in Island of Lost Souls, a story which itself has some connections to that of Jurassic Park. John's baggy white shirt is a separate piece, possibly because it's required to hangdown below his waist, but tabs glue it permanently to the toy's torso. He's not the only character to wear long pants, or to have short sleeves and a watch, but none of the molds are reused.

Hammond was played by Richard Attenborough, who was an Oscar-winning director himself (and is brother to Sir David Attenbororough, the nature documentarian). The toy's likeness is as good as the others in this line, though of course a lot of the heavy lifting is done by the fact that he has a beard, glasses, and a hat. His glasses aren't removable, like Ian Malcolm's were.

But that's not to say he doesn't come with any useable accessories. They went with the most obvious necessary inclusion, his amber-tipped cane. It's been molded from translucent orangey-yellow plastic, then the shaft has been painted a bone gray, leaving the top exposed to capture the look of the film prop. They even tampographed a tiny tiny mosquito on the surface! Wow, what attention to detail! Since the Legacy Collection figures don't have wrist articulation, you can't turn his hand to rest on top of the cane - you'll have to settle for him holding it like a staff or baton. It's made from a slightly soft PVC, so the fact that it's held in the tray by passing through a slot and back out again means it will be bent by the time you get it.

The other figures also came with Compsognathuses, but John does not. Rather, he's got the little tray where he and his guests watch a baby raptor hatch - one of the things that contributes to the "it's all a scam" theory: he specifically says he's been present for all the hatchings, but then in the sequel we find out that was just another tourist attraction; the real thing didn't even happen on the same island, let alone the same room! Gathering everyone to watch Dr. Wu pull a tiny wet lizard out of an ostrich egg was a song and dance routine, one that you can now re-create. The green dino baby here is different than the orange one seen in the film, but the idea is clear.

If there's one thing Mattel is very, very good at, it's creating fun packaging for their convention exclusives. This doesn't match the packaging of the other figures, though it does retain the "park gates" appearance. That blister card is inside another box also shaped like the gates, though this time silhouetted by the sunset and with the logo's T rex skeleton in the distance. The gates on this outer box are perforated, so you can open them to admire the figure even before you officially open the package. It's definitely a nice presentation.

John Hammond completes the main cast in 3¾" form. There are other characters we would have liked to see (give us Samuel L. Jackson, Mattel!), but none that we needed. If there was only room for one final figure to cap the line, this was the right choice.

-- 08/29/19

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