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Michael Crichton's Best Films

November 6th, 2008 3:49pm EST
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Michael CrichtonWith the untimely death of Michael Crichton, now is the time to reflect on a career that, unfortunately, was wrought with too much of something that is usually a positive: intelligence. Indeed, Michael was too smart for the movie industry and its core audience.

Crichton obviously had a non-stop mind: he graduated Harvard with high honors, and while attending medical school he began writing. When he turned 27 he was he had an M.D., and he had also finished one of his more well-known books, Andromeda Strain.

Generally, his works incorporate his intellect of biology and medical sciences. However, movies that read like an anatomy generally don’t bank the dollars. Thus, the beautiful description and authenticity of Crichton’s books were dropped in favor of shorter run times and more entertaining scenes. The movies in which Michael was allowed to direct or work on the screen play are of a higher quality - and those that were simply adapted show their missteps when it comes to his love for detail.

Still, here are the ten best films that managed to capture a least a piece of Crichton’s thrilling storytelling.

Disclosure: Here Crichton delves into something outside fantasy, creating a thoughtful piece on corporate greed and gender discrimination. What would happen if a head of a corporation was sexually harassed by a woman and the woman accused him of the transgression first?




Looker: This film was dreadfully mistimed. Was it too early for such an implausible script that nowadays would be considered cliché: TVs controlling our minds? Please. Of course, the clinical mind of Crichton could not stop there, adding in a plot of a plastic surgeon and his dying clients. Unfortunately for Michael, this flick opened against Halloween II.




The 13th Warrior: This Antonio Banderas film began as a period piece and slowly devolved over re-writes into a grand action flick with not a care for historical accuracy. While a fine film in the realm of gory medieval stories, one can’t help but think what could have been if Hollywood and Crichton didn’t keep massaging the script into something it wasn’t. (Note: I hadn't seen the trailer before, and it's probably one of the worst I've ever seen.)




Sphere: Here continues a disturbing trend. Handcuffed by funds and time, a real tribute to Crichton’s sci-fi thriller was not meant to be. Instead, Sphere breaks off into several tangents not seen in the book – including a thrown-together ending to tie things up, instead of the original ambiguous ending.




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