The 15 Greatest Dinosaur Moments from the Jurassic Park Series
Beware: This article contains spoilers for the various Jurassic Park films.
Many years ago, a film was released to the world that would captivate the minds of children and adults alike, and deservedly go down in cinematic history. The CGI was outstanding, the story was brilliant; that film was Jurassic Park. Based upon Michael Crichton’s book of the same name, Jurassic Park became an instant classic; A classic that inspired Crichton himself to work on the sequel to the book (The Lost World), which itself became a movie. Jurassic Park III soon followed, though was met with much loathing. Many thought that this was the end of the once proud series; however, fourteen years later, after many years of rewrites and ‘development Hell’, Jurassic Park IV was released, retitled Jurassic World. Many agreed, ourselves included, that Jurassic World was a return to form, a great fan-service to the original, which reminded us exactly why we fell in love with these movies in the first place.
So please join us as we count down our top 15 favourite dinosaur related moments in the Jurassic Park movies; starting with:
15] The Birth of a Monster – Jurassic Park:
Our main characters have been granted a tour of the Jurassic Park facilities, and they find themselves in Jurassic Park’s hatchery. By sheer luck, they arrive just as an egg is about to crack. What a coincidence this turned out to be; Henry Wu informs the group that this is a baby Velociraptor, a dinosaur Alan Grant is somewhat of an expert on. Dr. Grant’s look of dread as he learns the species of the hatchling gives us all the information we need about how dangerous this creature will become when she has fully matured. This adorable, helpless creature will soon become a ruthless, intelligent threat. It’s a great little scene that gives us our first proper view of a Raptor (as the opening scene’s Raptor was not named and was massively obscured).
14] Brachiosaurus Lullaby – Jurassic Park:
After a devastating attack by the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Dr. Alan Grant is left wandering the jungle in the middle of the night with John Hamond’s grandchildren – Lex and Tim; injured, scared, exhausted, they desperately need to find shelter from the terrors of the park. The trio find a good, thick tree to rest in and settle down for the night; soon discovering that they are not alone. As they look out across the valley, they see a herd of Brachiosaurs feasting upon the canopy of the jungle. It’s an incredibly peaceful moment that serves as a much needed reminder to us that not every creature in Jurassic Park is out to harm you. The kids obviously feel secure as Tim begins to rattle off a list of dinosaur related jokes for Dr. Grant to enjoy. They sit back, safe, and ready to sleep as soundly as one can after a close encounter with death.
13] The March of the Stegosaurs – The Lost World:
We love this scene for three reasons: Firstly, we get to see a baby dinosaur (it’s adorable).
Secondly, we get our very first glimpse of a Stegosaurus in the franchise, a magnificent sight to behold. A host of the creatures slowly march by a trio of our main characters. You can imagine the mixed senses of wonder and fear that must be going through their minds at this moment; the gigantic, lumbering beings, the two rows of plates running from head to tail along their backs, and most certainly not forgetting those four large tail-spikes.
Thirdly, we are shown, for the first time in these movie, that a herbivore can be as equally deadly as a carnivorous dinosaur. Sarah Harding foolishly, yet understandably, photographs the baby Stegosaurus causing it to panic. The wails of the young giant spurs the adults to attack. Swiping their large spikes towards Sarah, she must run for her life, hide, anything she can do to escape the herd’s fury.
The Stegosaurus became one of our favourite toys from the franchise as a child. They don’t appear for long, but boy do you remember their appearance here.
12] Breakout! – The Lost World:
Once again, The Lost World shows us just how dangerous herbivores can be. The villainous InGen have captured countless frightened and confused beasts, planning on transporting them to the mainland. Luckily for the captives, our heroes are here and prepared. Equipped with bolt-cutters, and a range of other equipment, they set to work sabotaging InGen’s apparatus and supplies. The result is some very angry dinosaurs, a collective made up of Triceratops, Pachycephalosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Stegosaurus, Gallimimus, and not forgetting the carnivorous Comsognathus. It is truly a sight to behold; these magnificent creatures completely trashing the campsite, with a Triceratops even launching a jeep into the air.
11] The Terror Soars – Jurassic World:
Jurassic Park III gave us our first scene to feature a Pteranodon attack, but Jurassic World shows us what happens when the winged monsters target a unsuspecting tourists in a fully functional park. The film shows us a few species of escaped soaring predators descending upon the panicking people below; bursting through windows, heaving their victims off the ground. Humour and terror are all aspects of this scene, with the humour being provided by the human aspect, particularly Jimmy Buffett’s cameo as the ‘Margarita Man’; a character that wisely chooses to save two Margaritas from the attacking horrors (can you imagine how expensive those drinks must be in a place like Jurassic World?).
Following the release of Jurassic World, this scene became slightly infamous online for the depiction of a brutal death involving an undeserving side-character – Zara, the babysitter for the two main child characters Zach and Gray. It’s almost torturous for the poor woman. A Pteranodon picks her off the ground, drops her, grabs her once more, and, worryingly, drops her into the Mosasaurus pool. Multiple Pteranodons dive into the water attempting to retrieve her. Yet again, poor Zara is lifted, dropped, lifted, and dropped again. This is so agonizing to watch. The music builds up, and you know exactly what is about to happen – and then it does. The Mosasaurus explodes out of the water, capturing both Zara and the Pteranodon, both of which are never to be seen again. It’s no wonder why this moment is remembered as being one of the most cruel demises in the franchise’s history.
10] Spitting is a Bad Habit! – Jurassic Park:
A scene that features one of the most deserving deaths within the Jurassic Park movies. After stealing a number of Dinosaur DNA samples, Dennis Nedry attempts to make his escape from the island. Making his way across the park in a torrential downpour, he becomes lost and inadvertently ends up in a dinosaur enclosure. Nedry, to his peril, naively assumes that a little dinosaur would be as interested in a game of fetch as a dog would. While trying to free his car from being firmly stuck in the soaked mud, Nedry becomes unnerved by this critter that just won’t leave. Seemingly docile, it soon shows that is, in fact, a dangerous animal.
Dennis Nedry, the man responsible for the power-failure in the park, and therefore the cause of every single death that occurs throughout the film (barring the death in the opening scene), finally gets what is coming to him – A face full of blinding goo, and ending up in the belly of a hungry dinosaur.
9] “Mommy’s Very Angry” – The Lost World:
The only thing that could possibly be better than a large T-Rex is two large T-Rexes! Here we have two very angry, protective parents on the hunt for their injured baby. As you might expect, these animals do not really have the ability to sense when someone is trying to help their child. Our heroes are attempting to fix the baby T-Rex’s broken leg (caused when one member of the hunters accidentally stood on it), but the parents don’t care, all they want is their baby back. Like many of the scenes on this list, your attention is kept firmly on the screen. This moment warrants a place on this list as it features multiple T-Rexes, a horrifying, semi-sacrificial death as Eddie Carr is ripped from his vehicle and torn in two, and an action packed survival attempt as the Tyrannosaurs angrily shove the survivors’ trucks off of a nearby cliff.
8] The Long Grass – The Lost World:
When the sequel to Jurassic Park was announced, we had three things we wanted to see. New dinosaurs, a T-Rex, and without a doubt, the Raptors. The Lost World keeps us waiting for a large portion of the film before we finally get to see the lethal pack hunters. By this point in the film, the surviving members of the two human factions – The Research Team; comprising of Ian Malcolm, his girlfriend Sarah Harding, and Nick van Owen, sent by John Hammond to research the dinosaurs in their natural state, and The Hunters, sent by InGen to retrieve dinosaurs and bring them to San Diego for a new attraction, have now merged into one large group in the hopes of escaping the island, and on their mission to find help, they trek towards an abandoned InGen facility. Unfortunately for them, they must venture into Raptor territory, the danger of which they are all too aware. The middle of the night, miles of long grass, unseen threats all around; we as viewers know exactly what to expect, and it doesn’t take long for the silent stalkers to start taking down prey. Bodies fall, long tails rise as each Velociraptor feasts on the unfortunate. For now, we don’t get a clear view of the dinosaurs we’ve been waiting to see, but what we do get is enough to get us excited. Panic soon spreads throughout the people, causing them to split up and run for their lives. Who isn’t thrilled by any scene involving Velociraptors? They are, without a doubt, a defining staple of this franchise.
7] Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dino – Jurassic Park:
The end of the movie is fast approaching, the stakes must be raised. We’ve had a Tyrannosaurus, Raptors, the Dilophosaurus, what could possibly create enough tension to serve as a finale?
The Velociraptors are roaming the park, unfortunately for the feasting children inside the Visitor Centre, they are now outside. Tim and Lex rapidly drop their jelly and ice-cream and run into the kitchen. As the children hide, a Raptor manages to enter the kitchen herself. It is here that we first hear the iconic Raptor call. She is soon joined by a hunting partner, as they both begin to explore the new area. Even if you dislike the two characters, you will be sure to enjoy the game of hide and seek going on between the children and the Raptors. Tim and Lex prove just how smart and courageous they are as they attempt to escape with their lives. They manage to get out of the kitchen in one piece, and find solace as Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler return to the Visitor Centre. Yet, despite their feeling of elation, it is fleeting, as there is still a number of Raptors on the prowl.
6] On the Hunt – The Lost World:
Following on from our first sighting of a Stegosaurus on Isla Sorna, we are treated to a range of new dinosaurs, albeit in terrible circumstances. This reviewer was but a child when The Lost World: Jurassic Park was first released; exhilarated by the fast paced action, the flood of stampeding dinosaurs, it was captivating, eyes were firmly fixed upon the screen throughout this entire sequence. But of course, heartbreak was bound to be a part of this experience, it was after all, a hunt. The feeling of dread, disgust, anger! These hunters! The way they forcibly pull down that terrified Parasaurolophus was so upsetting to see; the howling roar of fear the poor beast let out. Many roars were heard throughout the valley during this scene. This scene offers a range of emotional reactions, as well as new sights, an introduction to human characters, and a handful of humourous moments, which is why we believe it deserves a place on our list.
5] A New Queen? – Jurassic Park III:
Let’s set the scene – You’re a child watching Jurassic Park III for the very first time; there’s a monstrous roar coming from within the jungle. A character suggests that the creature making said roar sounds bigger than a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Already your mind starts to run wild at the possibilities. What could it be? What could ever be bigger than a T-Rex?
As the human characters, panic-stricken, rush back onto their plane, ready to take off, they notice someone on the runway. They’ve left Cooper! Battered and bruised, this man cries as he begs them to stop the plane, but it just isn’t happening. The Plane takes off, but as it does, a Spinosaurus bursts through the edge of the jungle, crushing Cooper in it’s humongous jaws. The plane glances the Spinosaurus and crashes into the Jungle.
The new threat, most definitely larger than the T-Rex, soon appears at the crash-site and, in an instant, establishes itself as an intelligent danger. It’s essentially agreed upon that Jurassic Park III is the weakest film of the four, but watching for the first time, seeing this moment so early in the movie, you really believe that it could become a great inclusion into the canon (despite that reviled dream sequence on the plane).
4] Clash of the Titans – Jurassic World:
We were teased with a brief glimpse of her feeding on a goat in her enclosure earlier in the film, but now she’s free, she’s angry, and she’s ready to take back control of her kingdom; the Tyrannosaurs’ time has come again. The Indominus Rex has essentially reined unchallenged since her escape, but now the rightful ruler has been unleashed from her cage. The Tyrannosaurus must face off against a much younger, stronger predator; easy pickings, surely. Unfortunately for the old girl, that is not the case. Despite getting in a few good bites, and dealing a strong dose of damage, the Indominus Rex gets the upper-hand. The outlook is bleak, that is, until a sound echos through the main-street of the park – A raptor! Blue has lost her pack to the Indominus Rex’s fury and she wants revenge. This distraction gives the T-Rex time to get back to her feet; The Indominus Rex is in for it. This is everything the fight against the Spinosaurus could have been. In the final moments, a battered, pierced, and exhausted Indominus Rex stumbles to her feet a little too close to the water’s edge, which gives a hungry Mosasaur the opportunity to burst from the depths and drag her victim to into the abyss. What an amazing fight this turned out to be, we remember watching this scene with such astonishment.
3] Somebody’s In Here! – Jurassic Park:
The power is out, the park is in total darkness. Our park-visitors are sat comfortably inside their automated cars in the pouring rain. In car #1 we have the two children: Lex and Tim, and John Hammond’s lawyer: Donald Gennaro; and in car #2 sits Dr. Grant, and Dr. Malcolm. Outside we see a cute little goat tied to a post, completely unaware of the approaching danger. Thump, thump, thump; here we are at that iconic scene featuring the cup of water on the dashboard. The goat has gone! The people in the first car look around to see where it could have gone, when suddenly – THUD! The goat’s leg lands on the glass roof of the car. Slowly, up comes the T-Rex’s head above the trees, out of the darkness. The Tyrannosaurus soon realises that the fences are not active and rips off the thick wires from the frames. Here it is, our first sight of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park. This is a profoundly iconic scene, not just one particular moment of it, but the entirety, from the first view of the T-Rex, to the escaping down the tree. Lex does a number of incredibly stupid and baffling things here, from shining the flashlight, to screaming when outside the car, essentially next to the behemoth. Thankfully, Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm are here to help.
We remember first seeing the Tyrannosaurus Rex escaping her enclosure with our jaws agape, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing; this is intensely hair-raising.
We couldn’t talk about this scene without noting the lawyer’s demise. A minor moment, sure, but it’s an incredibly memorable scene. If you discuss Jurassic Park with anybody, I guarantee that someone will, at some point, mention poor Gennaro getting eaten by the Tyrannosaurus while he’s in the middle of doing his business. Let’s be honest here, if you were in total darkness, a T-Rex eating a goat right in front of you, you’d need to go as well. Despite the outcome, it was a smart decision to leave the car – you don’t want to be in a vehicle with someone who thinks it’s a good idea to shine a high-power flashlight into a gigantic carnivore’s eyes.
2] All Hail the Queen! – Jurassic Park:
What kind of list would this be without the inclusion of the final appearance of the Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic Park? The young queen of Isla Nublar became the unlikely saviour to our surviving human characters as she burst into the Visitor Centre building to sink her teeth into a Raptor ready to pounce. Everything about this scene will keep your attention, and for good reason. For the first time we see the two most famous predators in the franchise’s history on screen together. The Velociraptors get in a good few attacks giving the T-Rex a number of battle wounds that can still be seen as scars well into her old age. After dispatching the remaining Raptors, and tossing the last attacker into the skeletal display of her species, the T-Rex lets loose an astounding, thundering roar, which will be the last time we see her for twenty-five years.
While on the subject, we should mention The Queen of Isla Nublar’s final scene in Jurassic World as well. With a large number of new scars from her fight with the Indominus Rex, the Tyrannosaurus looks out upon the remains of the new park, surveying the land, and it is here where she treats us to one last bellow. If this is the last we see of this particular T-Rex in the franchise, it will be remembered as a beautiful final moment for her.
1] “Welcome to Jurassic Park” – Jurassic Park:
Our top spot, of course, goes to the moment that first exposes us to the true beauty of Jurassic Park. The music, the close up of a Brachiosaurus’ leg, zooming out to unveil the animal in its entirety. It’s truly spectacular. This reviewer is getting goosebumps just thinking about it. The final roar of the T-Rex in Jurassic Park was awe inspiring as a child, but imagine being four or five years old and seeing this reveal. This humongous monster, it was stunning. Hammond adds icing to the cake by casually mentioning a T-Rex (A T-REX!), but then the whole thing is topped off by the sight seen above. A pair of Brachiosaurs in the distance strolling out of the lake next to a herd of Parasaurolophus. Words fail to describe how wonderful this kind of sight is. Raptors, Tyrannosaurs, they’re tremendously exhilarating to children, but the very first sight of dinosaurs, not cartoon dinosaurs, mind you, ‘real life’ dinosaurs… just wow. We here at TheNerdRecites still get goosebumps to this day.
Now over to you guys. What do you think? Do you agree with our choices for this list? Disagree, maybe? Was the Pteranodon scene in Jurassic Park III better than the one in Jurassic World? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and which your favourite dinosaur moments were. And remember, “Life finds a way”.
Image Credits: Universal Studios.