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The 7 best dinosaur attacks in the 'Jurassic Park' franchise
Man destroys God, man creates dinosaurs, dinosaurs attack everyone.
Dr. Alan Grant was rightfully concerned when dinosaurs and humans were suddenly thrown back into the mix together. How can anyone have the slightest idea of what to expect? Grant (Sam Neill) was being optimistic, because deep down the man with a raptor claw in his pocket knows exactly what to expect: There will be blood.
Jurassic World Dominion, which hits cinemas on June 10, will see the return of Dr. Grant, and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) will be with him. They will close out this six-movie dinosaur franchise with an installment that will almost certainly feature dinosaurs attacking and killing people.
The dino-cycle is full of such scenes, but which stick out the most when we look back over the previous five entries? Here are our picks for the 7 best dinosaur attacks (and kills) from the franchise that was spawned but the first, untouchable, Jurassic Park movie.
7. Compy Swarm (The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
A little girl is attacked by a swarm of little Compsognathus at the beginning of this sequel, but the camera cuts away. The girl is fine (or so John Hammond says), but another character gets the “compy” treatment later on. He is definitely not fine.
Dieter Stark (Peter Stormare) is a classic moron. He kills a compy when he first arrives on Isla Sorna just because he can, and we’re sure that he’s really proud of himself. If compys had no reason to fear man before, he just gave them one. This doesn’t bode well for him when he falls down a hill and comes across a flock of them.
He tries to throw things at them, he tries to limp away, he tries calling for help, but it’s to no avail. The compys swarm all over his body and peck him to death. He dies from a million little bites, and it is horrifying. It’s entertaining too, because Dieter sucks and he had this coming.
In the original Jurassic Park novel by Michael Crichton, John Hammond meets his end in a scene very similar to this one. Hammond has a different fate in the movies, but we’re glad that life found a way to give someone else this ignoble death.
6. Main Street Chaos (Jurassic World)
The escape of the Indominus Rex leads to dinosaurs of all kinds breaking free in Jurassic World, but this time the park is open and full of guests. Pteranodons fly over the park’s main street and the guests run in horror. They didn’t spring for Fast Pass.
The chaos has two moments that stick out; one of them is funny, and the other one is needlessly over-the-top.
The first moment shows a man running away from the flying menace in the park’s “Margaritaville” restaurant. Someone in that much peril would usually just get up and go, but this guy takes the time to bring his full margaritas with him. What makes this small gag even funnier to us is the fact that the man is played by Jimmy Buffet himself, the actual singer/songwriter behind “Margaritaville.”
The second moment is a death that is so prolonged and vicious that you’d think they would have saved it for one of the film’s more loathsome humans. Zara Young (Katie McGrath) gets the death instead, because she’s not the best assistant in the world? Because she likes her phone? We don’t love Zara, but she doesn't really deserve what happens to her.
In what feels like a 45-minute sequence, Zara is carried off by a Pteranodon and they brutalize her in the air. It goes on, and on, and on, before both Zara and the Pteranodon carrying her are devoured by the giant Mosasaurus. Think you’ll see that on the tour? Again, we don’t know why Zara deserves this, but we can say for certain that the great Katie McGrath should have gotten better treatment.
5. Dilophosaurus Jeep (Jurassic Park)
Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) compromises the systems in the original Jurassic Park, and things devolve from there. Hammond got cheap on him, so he runs off with a special shaving cream can full of embryos to sell to Lewis Dodgson. We’ve got Dodgson here! Nobody cares. Nice hat.
Earlier in the movie, we hear some information about the Dilophosaurus while Hammond's guests are on their tour, but the creature is a no-show. When Nedry’s escape goes bad, though, that's when the Dilophosaurus shows up. He gives Nedry the full treatment, one that is distinct and different from the run-and-chomp stylings of his big brothers.
First, there are the giant shaking fans that the dinosaur spreads out from his head to inspire fear. It works. After that, he spits thick venom, which causes paralysis and blindness. After all of this, he feeds.
The fear tactic works wonders on Nedry, and it scares the hell out of us in the process. By the time Nedry gets hit with the disgusting venom, we know that he’s done. The Dilophosaurus eats him in a jeep just when Nedry thought it was over. That’s what he gets for trying to play fetch with it and threatening to run it over.
Newman thought that he could reduce the safety of this death park and get away with it? His fears of financial insecurity are nothing compared to the lesson in horror that the Dilophosaurus gives him.
4. Birdcage (Jurassic Park III)
Using lies and deceit, William H. Macy and Tea Leoni get Alan Grant back onto an island full of dinosaurs. It’s Isla Sorna this time, so Dr. Grant can’t even look for the claw that he tossed away in the first movie. There are plenty of attacks and narrow escapes, but the most frightening moment of the entire movie comes when Dr. Grant and company find themselves in a bird cage.
The cage is not full of birds, though if we go by what Dr. Grant believes, it is full of what became birds a long time ago. Once Grant realizes what kind of structure they’re in, a large form starts to walk out of the fog. It walks slowly. Gradually we see that it isn’t a raptor, or any of the other hunters we’re used to. It’s skeletal, and it has a freakishly huge pointed beak.
It’s a Pteranodon, one of many. The cage is full of them, and the team has to find a way out. It’s a good sequence, but it’s the buildup that we just described that stands out. The first Pteranodon that we see doesn’t just fly in and attack. It struts out slowly, and it is so much more frightening because of that.
We do see flying reptiles at the very end of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but this is the first time we see them on the offensive. They’re creepy, plain and simple. Pteranodons are never as creepy or as scary in the following movies as they are in this scene.
3. Trailers off the Cliff (The Lost World: Jurassic Park)
Mommy’s very angry. Probably the most memorable set piece in the first Jurassic sequel is taken directly from Michael Crichton’s book, The Lost World — the assault on the connected trailers. Because Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore) has taken a baby T. rex inside to care for it, Mommy T. rex comes to trash the place. The trailers get pounded until one of them goes over a cliff, and it dangles there because it's still connected to the other trailer.
Eddie Carr (Richard Schiff) does everything he can to drag the trailer back over the cliff’s edge. He gets eaten for his trouble, but at least he manages to save everyone else.
Although Eddie (RIP) succeeds in tethering them, Malcolm, Harding, and Nick Van Owen (Vince Vaughn) are still in serious danger, especially when Harding lands Harding face down on some slowly breaking glass. It’s very uncomfortable, and lest we forget, the T. rex is never far away. We’re almost relieved when both trailers (and Eddie Carr’s car) all go over the cliff and explode. Our heroes are saved thanks to Eddie’s rope and their ability to slip through huge pieces of falling automotive.
Our favorite part of the entire sequence comes right at the end, as Sarah climbs the rope and is offered a helping hand. It turns out to be Roland (Pete Postlethwaite), helping them all up despite the fact that they trashed his camp. They’re in this together now, whether they like it or not. We wanted to find a way to bring Pete Postlethwaite’s movie-stealing performance into this article, and now we have done it. “SADDLE UP, let’s get this moveable feast underway.”
2. Clever Girl (Jurassic Park)
One of Alan Grant’s first scenes features him scaring the crap out of a kid. He does this by slowly setting up how the Velociraptor, a pack hunter, takes down its prey. The attack doesn’t come from the one that you’re staring at, it comes from the sides… from the other two raptors you didn’t even know were there.
The un-heralded hero of the movie, Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck) unfortunately experiences the same thing, but not in story time fashion. Muldoon definitely respects the lethal abilities of the raptors, he’s there when a worker is killed by one of them in the very first scene. He later says that they should all be destroyed. He is one of the only people working at that park who has a sense of the danger in store, breathlessly asking during the first shutdown if the raptor fences are out.
Even Nedry knew better than to mess with the raptor fences. Muldoon's respect is tinged with fear, and he freezes in place when he realizes that he and Ellie indeed being hunted by a raptor. His mistake comes when he says the line, “I’ve got her.” Oh you beauty of a man, you don’t have her. She has you, or rather, the raptor to the side has you. It’s the exact trap that Alan Grant set up earlier.
For a moment, we think that Muldoon might get the shot on this raptor. He extends the stock of his rifle, he sets his hat on a log, and he’s almost ready. When the tension is at its highest level, the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side. From the other raptor that he didn’t even know was there.
In one of the movie’s most iconic moments, Muldoon realizes he’s been caught right before the kill. “Clever girl,” he says, respecting these engines of death to the very end. The carnage of him being eaten is obscured as the camera cuts away to the other raptor, still just watching.
There are many raptor attacks in the franchise, and the first movie especially is full of them. The kitchen sequence alone is a work of art. We’re partial to this scene though, and not just because we love Bob Peck. We love the aforementioned respect that Muldoon has for the dinosaurs, a respect that is lacking from everyone else on Hammond’s payroll. Alan Grant would never have to tell him to “show a little respect.”
1. We Have a T. rex (Jurassic Park)
How could any other attack in these movies compare with the first entrance of the Tyrannosaurus Rex? They can’t. The tour has stopped right in front of the T. rex paddock, and though she didn’t show up earlier in the tour, she's decided to show up now. At night. In the rain.
Before she enters, there’s the missing goat. She heralds her arrival with a bloody goat leg. There’s the claw grabbing the electrified fence, which is completely powered down. Strands of the fence get pulled away one by one. Mama finally steps out onto the road, and this park is no longer “ooohh and aaaah.” There’s running. And screaming.
The combined effects work that brought the T. rex to life was magical in 1993, and it still is today. That’s a miracle unto itself, but the way that Steven Spielberg crafts the sequence as a whole is also miraculous. Alan Grant’s flare, Malcolm’s run, and the lawyer dying on the toilet all lead to the T. rex attacking the SUV with the kids inside. By the time the jaws come down on the moonroof and the kids are trying to keep them away, we’re scared out of our minds.
You’ve seen it, everyone has seen it. At the moment, we can’t really think of a better sequence. From the rumbling ripples in a cup of water all the way through to the T. rex roaring at the SUV as it goes over the edge of the road, it is pure perfection. It is at the "Indy running from the boulder" level of iconic.
Will any dinosaur attack in Jurassic World Dominion rival it? Anything is possible. Life may find a way.
Jurassic World Dominion will attack your cinema on June 10.