1993’s Jurassic Park is the best dinosaur movie period. Directed by Steven Spielberg and based off a book by Michael Crichton, it not only showed audiences what dinosaurs might have actually looked like (for the most part), but showed them in ways that were compelling, beautiful, frightening, and transcendent. The film has spawned multiple sequels (including 2015’s Jurassic World), but with Netflix currently hosting the original three films (Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III) up on their streaming service I wanted to take a look back and share my favorite dinosaur moments from these films in conjunction with Jurassic June (a celebration of these movies and dinosaurs in general).
As a Jurassic fanatic like you, narrowing down to just five moments in the original trilogy is nearly impossible, but I chose five sequences that encapsulate best our imagined idea of what it means to dinosaur in every sense of the word. Rawr!
5. Spinosaurus v Airplane (Jurassic Park III)
Fourteen years before the Indominus Rex tore it up in Jurassic World, the personification of dinosaur-turned monster due to mankind’s meddling was embodied in Jurassic Park III’s Spinosaurus. Crocodilian snout and spiny sail, Spinosaurus rivaled all other carnivores in size. Practical and visceral, with a little black comedy thrown in for good measure, Grant and the other hapless characters crash land on Isla Sorna and things go from bad to a full on hellish nightmare as the monster hack and slashes its way through steel and glass. The scene sets the tone for the rest of film; the plane fuselage rolling over and over again. Time is a flat circle.
4. Compsognathus Swarm (The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
Dinosaurs come in all shapes and sizes. The ‘Compys,’ short for Compsognathus, are a big threat in a teeny tiny package. Inspired by moments from Michael Crichton’s original Jurassic Park novel, the compys in The Lost World: Jurassic Park flock together in a unit swarming over salty mercenary Dieter Stark during a spooky sequence in the middle of the film. Despite Stark deserving the little chicken lizards’ ire from an earlier encounter with him in the film, Spielberg toes the line between unnerving and comical right up until the river runs red with blood.
3. Velociraptors: Open Doors (Jurassic Park)
Jurassic Park’s final act kicks off with the notion that dinosaurs are not just animals or monsters, but fierce intelligent beings capable of evolving too. The kitchen scene featuring two Velociraptors on the prowl for little Lex and Tim is now iconic, being parodied and homaged to this day (even by Spielberg himself). Even though the vision of what Velociraptor’s looked like may have changed (feathers all the way, baby!), this representation of ‘raptors’ has come to define these dinosaurs in the larger pop culture consciousness. They learned how to open doors, indeed.
2. Tyrannosaurusgate (Jurassic Park)
The Tyrannosaurus Rex is the star of Jurassic Park, and this scene proves it. From curious animal to fearsome beast, the attack on our heroes outside her paddock is chock full of memorable moments like her pupil-dilating as she studies Lex and Tim, her spine-tingling roar at Grant, and when she gets to chomp on that chump of a lawyer Gennaro. Even the ripple in the glass filled with water signifying her presence fills hearts with love and terror. The Queen Rex demands your respect, or else.
1. Welcome To Brachiosaurus Park (Jurassic Park)
While most of the Jurassic Park franchise involves ‘running and screaming,’ the legacy of the original film endures due to the Brachiosaurus reveal. At fifteen minutes in, our heroes (and the audience) are presented with the full glory of these creatures that have captured our imagination long before Jurassic Park came along. The sauropod sings as it stands tall, our characters (and us) stricken by the sublime. The moment, backed by John Williams rousing and romantic score and bolstered by the expert craft of ILM’s CGI, has endured the test of time twenty years going on forever. This scene is why people are obsessed with dinosaurs more than ever.
What are your favorite dinosaur moments in the original Jurassic Park trilogy? Have you caught up with them on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below!