Dr. John Hammond is one of the main antagonists in the novel, Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton. While he is a villain in the book, his portrayal in the film was changed into a primarily heroic character.
John Hammond's early life is never given. He attended university, possibly, but he developed a hatred of universities. John Hammond scoffed at academia and said that action was happening in laboratories not universities. He recruited several famous intellectuals, including Robert Muldoon and other scientists, through this university/laboratory lecture.
In the book
John Alfred Hammond started his career by showing a genetically altered miniature elephant to potential investors, raising almost $900 million in the process with the help of Donald Gennaro—the elephant behaved like a feral rodent, and the creator, John Atherton, could not make another, two facts Hammond did not mention. Eventually, after using this money to create InGen, Hammond used his capital to buy $17 million worth of amber and various security systems for his most ambitious project: a theme park featuring living dinosaurs. With the help of a fresh-out-of-college geneticist Henry Wu, dinosaurs were brought back to life by extracting blood from insects trapped in amber. He also leased a small island, Isla Nublar, from the Costa Rican government, hiring several locals to work at the park. To save money, Hammond decided to invest all of his security and maintenance in computers, hiring Dennis Nedry to create the system. However, he never told Nedry the full extent of the project and refused to pay him fairly for the massive undertaking, even blackmailing him and threatening him with lawsuits to keep him in line, prompting an embittered Nedry to do a sloppy job out of spite and accept a bribe from a rival company, Biosyn, to commit corporate espionage against InGen. In August 1989, mere months before the scheduled opening, a series of problems, such as workers being killed by the dinosaurs and some of the animals escaping to the mainland and wreaking havoc, forced Hammond to allow an inspection of the island to ensure its safety. He invited Alan Grant and Ellie Satler, a paleontologist and paleobotanist (respectively), to partake in the inspection; Gennaro came along, taking Ian Malcolm, a chaos theoretician who was extremely pessimistic about the park, as well, much to Hammond's annoyance.
Hammond attempts to present the park in the best possible light, but while some of the inspectors are impressed, Malcolm remains adamant in his belief that Hammond's cost-cutting and the arrogance of the staff will cause the park's eventual downfall. To counter this, Hammond invites his grandchildren to the park, and the tour begins. Things initially seem to be going well, until Grant discovers an egg shell while the group is analyzing a sick stegosaurus, which suggests that the dinosaurs are breeding—which goes against Dr. Wu's arrogant claim that all the dinosaurs in the park are sterilized, lysine-deprived females. Hammond is also skeptical, but at Malcolm's insistence, the exact number of animals in the park is checked, and turns out to be much larger than initially believed. Hammond tries to brush this off, but more trouble ensues as Nedry attempts corporate espionage for Biosyn, turning off all the power in the park and leaving the tour group at the mercy of the dinosaurs. Nedry is killed before his plans can succeed, leaving no one to turn the power back on. Hammond is initially angered by this, but quickly calms down and smugly believes that he is in complete control of the park, even as it falls to pieces around him. Malcolm is injured by a T. Rex and is brought to Hammond's bungalow, where the mathematician once again tries to emphasize the park's doom, but Hammond still doesn't listen.
Eventually, after several mishaps and the deaths of several of the senior staff, the park is largely placed back under control. Deciding to take a walk, Hammond goes on a lengthy internal monologue, blaming everyone but himself for the disaster and planning to make another park with just as much cost-cutting and "better" employees. However, he hears a Tyrannosaur roar (actually his grandchildren fooling around in the control room) and falls down a hill, breaking his ankle. When his cries for help fail to reach anyone, Hammond attempts to climb back up the hill, but is swarmed and eaten by a pack of Procompsagnathus. His remains were later found by Robert Muldoon, the parks game warden. Soon after, the island is destroyed, and Hammond's plans died with it.
In the filmsIn the 1993 movie based on the original novel, Hammond's personality was changed from a cold-hearted and eccentric CEO to a more caring and sympathetic grandfather, and unlike in the novel, Hammond survives the downfall of his park and redeems himself by helping the survivors (including his grand-children) escape Isla Nublar. His intention why he build Jurassic Park is similar however, though during his conversation with Ellie, he revealed that though he initially built the park to be rich, he also wanted anyone to see the dinosaurs in the world instead only seen in the movies or books, revealed that he also cares with his dinosaurs as much as with his family, visitors, and workers at the park. When the park suddenly fell into chaos, his conversation shows that he wanted to fix everything up, only for Ellie Sattler to bluntly tell him that he "never had control" and that the only thing that matters now is the survival of the people they love. Hammond is visibly struck by Ellie's words and spends the remainder of the film doing whatever he can to make sure that they all survive Jurassic Park. His determination to redeem himself with the disaster that roots from his dreams was apparent when he agrees with Dr. Grant that the park was a failure and should not be endorsed, though he is understandably depressed of the park's failure.
During his life in working on the park, he was also criticized by Ian that he cannot/never meant to control the genetically-engineered dinosaur's life as "life always finds a way", a critique that he humbly accepted in the sequel after he found out that despite the heavy damage in facility that used for nursing dinosaurs due to the storm in Isla Sorna, nature has taken over the job and dinosaur ended up surviving without any need of mankind's help anymore.
He also makes a major appearance in the 1997 film The Lost World: Jurassic Park, based on the novel's sequel, where he has lost control of his company InGen to his ruthless nephew Peter Ludlow, who intends to reinvigorate his uncle's past dream by opening a theme park filled with dinosaurs in San Diego. Fearing of any danger of Ludlow's plans as he already experienced the said danger himself in Isla Nublar, Hammond contacts Dr. Ian Malcolm to lead an expedition to Isla Sorna, where much of Hammond's work originated, in order to document the dinosaurs and their habitats to make the island a natural preserve. In one of his more ruthless, nearly villainous turns, he manipulates Malcolm into doing this by revealing that he has already sent Ian's fellow scientist and girlfriend Doctor Sarah Harding to Isla Sorna. Malcolm, knowing that Harding does not understand the danger she is in, makes his opinion of this scheme plain to Hammond, including the now-iconic rebuttal to Hammond's assertion that they won't be making the same old mistakes this time.
The mission succeeds, though Ludlow and much of his men fell victim to the carnivorous dinosaurs during the mission because he is unaware that some of Ian's friend's attempt to free dinosaurs from antagonistic humans has disastrous consequences. Ludlow also dies from his own hubris, but they were deeply estranged by this point, and it is implied that Hammond briefly takes back control of InGen to undo Ludlow's work.
John Hammond died shortly after the events of the second film. He was briefly mentioned in Jurassic Park III by Dr. Grant who stated how he still disagrees with his creations. His legacy still lives on in Jurassic World. Simon Masrani, CEO of Masrani Global Corporation & son of Hammond's personal friend Sanjay Masrani, acquired InGen in 1995. He later opened a now fully functioning park in 2005 on Isla Nublar: Jurassic World. Two decades after the events of the first film, Hammond's dream had finally come true in a now fully functional dinosaur park. The island's cloning facility has been named in honor of him, as well as a statue erected in the lab's entrance in a form of remembrance. But unfortunately, the history repeated itself once it was revealed that Vic Hoskins and Dr. Wu masterminded Indominus rex's creation to be use in wars, where both Hoskins and the hybrid monster caused damages that surpassed that of what Nedry done and it also caused Hoskins' own death where the situation worsens more than he could used as his advantages though Wu was able to escape with documents and samples of dinosaurs' DNA includes I-Rex's.
- According to author Michael Crichton, John Hammond is portrayed as a darker version of Walt Disney.
- Since his film incarnation did not die, John Hammond's death was given to that of another character who appeared in the film.
- The deep reason why John Hammond is not the main antagonist in the live action films is due to that Steven Spielberg wanted to focus more on the dinosaurs than the human characters. This change was what led Hammond to redeem himself before turning evil.
- In the video game adaptation of the first film, John Hammond is more similar to that of his novel depiction though he isn't seen.
- John Hammond was originally intended to return in the fourth film but failed to do so because his actor Richard Attenborough passed away.