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SYFY WIRE Jurassic World Dominion

10 Iconic Dino-Moments to Celebrate 30 Years of Jurassic Park

In honor of Jurassic Park's 30th a, let's take a look back at all the Dino moments that made us squeal with delight and terror.

By Josh Weiss
Julianne Moore and Vince Vaughn scream at a T-Rex in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

This month marks 30 years of Jurassic Park, but we're not just celebrating three decades of the original film's impact. It's a big impact, to be sure, but that impact also includes a now-massive franchise featuring six blockbuster movies, all of which pack their fair share of unforgettable dinosaur action. 

So, to celebrate Jurassic Park's 30th birthday, we're taking a look back at the best dinosaur moments from the entire franchise so far, starting from the very beginning and continuing all the way up through the mayhem of Jurassic World Dominion

1. "Welcome to Jurassic Park" from Jurassic Park (1993)

Hollywood’s been trying to chase the blockbuster high of this moment for almost three decades now. Like a sea turtle crawling its way toward the ocean, Steven Spielberg has an innate instinct for inspiring awe in his audience. Everything — from Sam Neill and Laura Dern’s acting, to the groundbreaking CGI, to the swell of John Williams’ iconic score — is akin to an alchemist turning copper into gold. It’s movie magic.

2. The T.rex breaks free in Jurassic Park (1993)

Where the Brachiosaur is meant to instill awe, the arrival of the T. rex strives to make the viewer wet their pants in fear. In the immortal words of Ian Malcolm, “When you gotta go, you gotta go.” Up until this point, the entire tour of the park has been a bust. We’ve been waiting and waiting for more dino-goodness, but we're immediately forced to eat our words (and just a little bit of goat) when this meat-eating behemoth escapes its paddock. The innovative and seamless blend of practical effects and CGI wizardry still hold up to this day.

3. Nedry goes extinct in Jurassic Park (1993)

Sure, Dennis Nedry is the reason the park goes offline and the dinosaurs escape. With that said, it’s still hard not to feel a little bad for the guy. Not only does he lose his shaving cream canister full of dinosaur embryos, he’s also eaten alive by a venom-spitting Dilophosaurus. Does anyone really deserve a fate like that? Well, maybe Newman does. Thank goodness Spielberg leaves most of the carnage up to our imaginations because Nedry’s death in the book is infinitely more gruesome.

4. That final shot from the Visitor Center Fight in Jurassic Park (1993)

T. rex machina aside (seriously, how did no one hear it stomp into the visitor center?), the final set piece of the original film is a visual delight. A prehistoric cherry on top of the primordial sundae, one might even call it. Spielberg has a penchant for little ironies in the frame and this one is no exception. As the tyrannosaurus roars its dominance, the banner “WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH” flutters to the ground. Perfection.

5. RV trouble in The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

“Hold on to something!” We’ll never not be on the edge of our seat (or feel like we're on the edge of a cliff) when the baby T. rex's parents attempt to nudge Ian Malcolm's high-tech RV off the cliff with Ian, Sarah, and Nick still inside it. Just goes to show that the dinosaurs can kill you without having to eat you. With that said, Eddie's attempt to rescue his pals, and subsequent reward by way of being torn apart by two cloned meat-a-sauruses, still haunts our nightmares. Our own parents should not have let us watch this movie as children.

6. The T. rex wrecks San Diego in The Lost World (1997)

Spielberg’s nod to the original King Kong, the final act of The Lost World is a masterclass in cinematic juxtaposition. What would happen if a massive killing machine from 65 million years ago stomped into modern human civilization? There’s just so much fun to be had and here’s a little fun fact for ya: The guy who gets eaten while trying to escape into the Blockbuster is none other than the film’s screenwriter, David Koepp.

7. Spinosaurus vs. T. rex in Jurassic Park III (2001)

Up until this point, the T. rex was the biggest bully on the playground. This tooth and claw battle to the death was the perfect way to set up the sail-backed Spinosauras as the new Big Bad. If the main “antagonist” of the first two movies can be taken down by this new threat, then our characters are royally screwed.

8. Indominus Rex's final battle in Jurassic World (2015)

A beautiful fusion of old and new, the team-up between Jurassic Park's T. rex and some velociraptors against the Indominus Rex is Colin Trevorrow saying, “You just can’t beat the oldies.” The enemies of the original film join forces to take down a new, evil foe that threatens their relevance and superiority. And since the Indominus is so much smarter than your average dinosaur (shoutout Yogi Bear), its unexpected defeat at the jaws of the Mosasaurus is that much more satisfying. 

9. RIP Brachiosaurus in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)

We’re not crying, there’s just some volcanic ash in our eyes.

Director J.A. Bayona really had to rip our guts out by killing off the original Brachiosaurus from the 1993 film that captivated our imaginations for almost 30 years. Seeing the herbivore rear up on its hind legs one last time as its consumed by a cloud of ash perfectly encapsulates the nostalgic devastation of witnessing Isla Nublar (the place where it all started) get wiped off the map for good.

10. Carnivores go urban in Jurassic World Dominion (2022)

One of the most exciting elements of Colin Trevorrow's Jurassic World Dominion was its ability to explore what the world would be like once dinosaurs truly infiltrated and co-existed with human society. We got several key examples, of course, but the most thrilling probably took place in Malta, when Owen and Claire tried to infiltrate a black market dinosaur dealer and instead got stuck fleeing from raptors through the city streets. It's a really fun sequence, enough to almost make you wish the whole movie was just stuff like this.