- "There is a problem with that island. It is an accident waiting to happen."
- —Ian Malcolm(src)
Story of his life
Malcolm was invited to the park by Donald Gennaro as an insurance consultant as Donald apparently felt that Ian, as a fiduciary, would be able to notice any dangerous shortcomings the park had. On the helicopter ride to Isla Nublar, he met John's consults, Paleobotanist Ellie Sattler and Paleontologist Alan Grant, and traveled with them, along with John and Donald, into the park where he was stunned by the astonishing sight of a living Brachiosaurus. He then traveled to the visitor's center and learned how the dinosaurs of the park were created, and watched an infant Velociraptor hatch. While his colleagues remained in awe of the event, Ian expressed skepticism of the Park's ability to control the animals they were breeding, and explained to his colleagues that "life finds a way".
Ian later went on the tour through the Park only to express disapproval when none of the dinosaurs showed themselves. Bored, he took to flirting with Ellie, much to Alan's chagrin, while attempting to explain chaos theory. After watching the sick Triceratops, he returns to the tour with Alan Grant, only to have it break down in front of the Tyrannosaurus rex paddock. The T. rex escapes, and attacks Donald's car, which Donald had earlier abandoned with the children inside. In an attempt to lure the rex away, Ian and Alan grab and ignite flares to cause a distraction, but the rex isn't fooled by Ian and chases him to the bathroom, where he is tossed several feet and injures his leg.
Alan escapes with the kids and Ellie and Robert Muldoon arrive to help Ian, only to be set upon by the Tyrannosaurus. Having put Ian in the jeep, they escape after a short but intense chase.
Ian is brought to the control room where he helps formulate a plan to restart the power. Ian is brought to a bunker where he and John talk Ellie through the process of turning the power back on. After the systems come back online, Ian and John drive back to the visitor's center to pick up Alan, Ellie, and the kids, all of whom then drive to the helicopter, leaving the island.
He started out as being cocky, sarcastic and a bit of an annoying know-it-all. But he had a sense of humor. By the time of the second movie he was more pessimistic, and controlling. He also was shown in the films to be unreliable, and not realizing that people didn't trust him because of that.